In ten to thirty years, the survivors will speak out

The New York Times reported this week that the American Boy Scouts are ending a nationwide ban on gay leaders. According to the Times, the organization was seeking to resolve an issue that threatened to tear apart the organization and expose it to crippling lawsuits. Discrimination based on sexual orientation will also be barred in all Boy Scout offices and for all paid jobs. The step, the paper says, is aimed at heading off lawsuits in New York, Colorado and other states that prohibit such discrimination in employment.
It’s a pity, however, that the Times missed a shocking story which emerged at the same time as jubilation over the new policy. If they had the stomach for it, it might make readers think twice about the wisdom of allowing the Boy Scouts to have gay leaders.

It is the story of Moira Greyland, a woman who has made a career for herself as a harpist of Celtic music and the founder of two opera companies in the United States. She is the daughter of two American writers. Her mother, Marion Zimmer Bradley, who died in 1999, was a revered author of science fiction and fantasy novels. Her best-known book is the Mists of Avalon, a feminist reimagining of the Arthurian legend. Her second husband, and Moira’s father, Walter Breen, wrote books on numismatics. But her parents had other interests, too.

The story emerged last year when a blogger published two searing autobiographical poems written by Greyland. It was already a matter of public record that Breen was a convicted child abuser who died in jail in 1993. But no one had known how Moira’s own mother treated her. “She was cruel and violent, as well as completely out of her mind sexually,” she wrote in an accompanying email. The news was so convincing that other science fiction writers were horrified and speechless. Some of her fans burned her books.

This week, Greyland gave more details about her childhood on another blog.

“Suffice to say that both parents wanted me to be gay and were horrified at my being female. My mother molested me from ages 3-12. The first time I remember my father doing anything especially violent to me I was five. Yes he raped me. I don’t like to think about it.”

Bradley and Breen were part of the gay and bi-sexual subculture of West Coast America. That they were paedophiles was just an added extra, as their daughter testifies.

Greyland writes of her father’s profound disgust with her gender, despite his many relationships with women and female victims. “He told me unequivocally that no man would ever want me, because all men are secretly gay and have simply not come to terms with their natural homosexuality.” In all this Greyland is exposing, as she sees it, the deep corruption of human nature which is at the heart of modern gender ideology. This virulent strain of gender ideology is determined to use the gay movement — seen in some quarters as little more than a harmless manifestation of love and affection between people of the same sex — to advance the total liberation of human beings from any restraint on sexual desire and behaviour.

Greyland is uncompromising in her analysis of what is really going on in this subculture, now fast becoming anything but a “sub” culture:

“Now for all well-meaning people who believe I am extrapolating from my experience to the wider gay community, I would like to explain why I believe this is so. From my experience in the gay community, the values in that community are very different: the assumption is that EVERYONE is gay and closeted, and early sexual experience will prevent gay children from being closeted, and that will make everyone happy.

“If you doubt me, research ‘age of consent’, ‘Twinks’, ‘ageism’ and the writings of the NUMEROUS authors on the Left who believe that early sexuality is somehow ‘beneficial’ for children.”

She also says that what sets gay culture apart from straight culture is the belief that early sex is good and beneficial. They really believe that the only way to produce another homosexual is to provide a boy with sexual experiences before he can be ‘ruined’ by attraction to a girl.

“If you’re OK with that, and you might not be, it is worth your consideration. If you think I am wrong, that is your privilege, but watch out for the VAST number of stories of sexual abuse AND transgenderism that will come about from these gay ‘marriages’. Already the statistics for sexual abuse of children of gays are astronomically high compared to that suffered by the children of straights.
Greyland’s father preyed on young boys. Eventually the word got around and a man who had given him a place to stay in Los Angeles realized his son was of the age to be a target. This resulted in Breen’s conviction on 13 counts of varying kinds of forcible sexual offenses. He died in prison in 1993. She ruefully tells us that “although my mother was perfectly well aware of my father’s crimes, and so was my ‘stepmother’ [her mother’s lesbian lover], I was disbelieved almost up to the moment of his conviction, and discounted as ‘hysterical’.“

Greyland identifies a process at work in this culture. She says it should be noted that boy-lovers do not think of what they are doing as “molestation”. To them it is consensual sex. She then describes the evolution which has taken place in her own thinking about the gay movement in the light of what she has been forced to live through. It began to dawn on her that:

“” … maybe the gayness WAS an issue. Naturally, I had been brought up to be completely tolerant. Years ago I read (Jeffrey) Satinover, who believed that gays were largely ‘pansexual’ that is, preferring sex with EVERYONE of EVERY age and EVERY gender rather than wanting to be limited to one person, and he regarded it, credibly, as a moral and ethical problem, rather than a sexual ‘orientation’…”

Her interpretation of her parents actual beliefs is this:

“Since everyone is naturally gay, it is the straight establishment that makes everyone hung up and therefore limited. Sex early will make people willing to have sex with everyone, which will bring about the utopia while eliminating homophobia and helping people become ‘who they really are’. It will also destroy the hated nuclear family with its paternalism, sexism, ageism (yes, for pedophiles, that is a thing) and all other ‘isms’. If enough children are sexualized young enough, gayness will suddenly be ‘normal’ and accepted by everyone, and the old fashioned notions about fidelity will vanish. As sex is integrated as a natural part of every single relationship, the barriers between people will vanish, and the utopia will appear, as ‘straight culture’ goes the way of the dinosaur. As my mother used to say: ‘Children are brainwashed into believing they don’t want sex’.

“I know, I know. The stupidity of that particular thesis is boundless, and the actual consequence is forty-year-olds in therapy for sexual abuse, many, many suicides, and ruined lives for just about EVERYONE. But someone needed to say it. Will anyone hear it? There were six Johnny Does at my father’s trial, who would not testify, and two victims, who did. One of the victims I am in touch with. He was silenced so fiercely by fans of my mother years ago that he is not able to talk about it to this day. I don’t know the fate of all the Johnny Does, but I do know one of them is dead in his forties from an eating disorder, never having been able to talk about what happened, and I know at least one of the people on the list of 22 names I gave the cops as a potential abuse victim died from suicide last year. I also know a number of victims of my father who would not testify because they love him. As a personal note, I can understand why: of my parents, he was by far the kinder one.”

Moira Greyland met Katy Faust – on whose blog she has published this searing account of her experiences – online. (Faust is one of the six children of gays who filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court opposing gay marriage prior to the Obergefell judgment.) Her views have hardened on the issue: it IS homosexuality that is the problem. It IS the belief that all sex all the time will somehow cure problems instead of creating them that is the problem. Greyland continues:

“So I have begun to speak out against gay marriage, and in doing so, I have alienated most of even my strongest supporters. After all, they need to see my parents as wacky sex criminals, not as homosexuals following their deeply held ethical positions and trying to create a utopia according to a rather silly fantasy. They do not have the willingness to accept the possibility that homosexuality might actually have the result of destroying children and even destroying the adults who insist on remaining in its thrall.

“Naturally my perspective is very uncomfortable to the liberal people I was raised with: I am ‘allowed’ to be a victim of molestation by both parents, and ‘allowed’ to be a victim of rather hideous violence. I am, incredibly, NOT ALLOWED to blame their homosexuality for their absolute willingness to accept all sex at all times between all people.
“But that is not going to slow me down one bit. I am going to keep right on speaking out. I have been silent for entirely too long. Gay ‘marriage’ is nothing but a way to make children over in the image of their ‘parents’ and in ten to thirty years, the survivors will speak out.

“In the meantime, I will.”

This post was published tthis morning on MercatorNet.

See more and comment at: http://www.mercatornet.com/conjugality/view/in-ten-to-thirty-years-the-survivors-will-speak-out/16592#.dpuf

Spiritual Reading for Kids

Originally posted on Catholic Springtime:

Originally at: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/Vicki-Burbach/spiritual-reading-for-kids/#ixzz3cE0yWVJA

by VICKI BURBACH

Schools Out — or at least winding down —  and families everywhere are bracing themselves for the frenetic pace of summer activities.  But while you’re filling out the family calendar, make sure to offer your children opportunities to spend quiet time with God.  One great way to do that is to develop a spiritual reading program.  That’s right! Spiritual reading is not just for adults.  There are plenty of resources out there for kids — so why not keep them properly grounded amidst all the comings and goings of summer?

You may be thinking — sure, my eight-year old might be open to the idea, but my sixteen-year-old is another story altogether!  No matter the age, all children (particularly teens) can benefit from a great spiritual book or story.  It may take a little finesse, but with all the distractions kids have in their lives, we’ve…

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Perhaps we should be cheering?

A Civilization in the balance – Quito’s future?

The New York Times reports that Ecuador, with just 16 million people, has little presence on the global stage, but  that China’s rapidly expanding footprint there speaks volumes about the changing world order, as Beijing surges forward and Washington gradually loses ground.

Without ignoring the harsh realities of the Chinese political system and the questions which keep being asked about its human rights abuses, it might be worth considering that backing China is like taking a train going in the direction of freedom whereas backing the Western liberal model is like putting your money on one going in the opposite direction.

Growing Chinese influence – there and elsewhere, as in Africa – might be much more positive than a growth of American influence where the dominant and ascendant culture is far more hostile to real human values than the increasingly Christian culture in China might be.

Across the Ecuadorian countryside, the Times reports, in villages and towns, Chinese money is going to build roads, highways, bridges, hospitals, even a network of surveillance cameras stretching to the Galápagos Islands. State-owned Chinese banks have already put nearly $11 billion into the country, and the Ecuadorean government is asking for more.

While China has been important to the world economy for decades, the country is now wielding its financial heft with the confidence and purpose of a global superpower. Dare we give two cheers for that?

In China itself, according to the China Religion Survey 2015, details of which have been released by the National Survey Research Centre at Renmin University, Islam and Catholicism are the two religions that have seen rapid growth among the Chinese who are under 30 years old.

In that age bracket, 22.4 percent of Chinese are now Muslims while Catholics follow very closely at 22 percent. But while the Muslim growth comes mainly from population growth – with that clearly indicating resistance to the one-child policy – the Catholic and wider Christian growth is through conversion. Conversion to Islam is relatively rare.

This China Religion Survey, 2015, held interviews from more than 4,000 religious sites between 2013 and 2015. The research found that even though Buddhism and Taoism are more popular with the older generations, Protestantism has posted the greatest number in terms of places of worship.

Furthermore, 60 percent of people who work in places of worship see state regulations as “fair.”

This is contrary to the latest report from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which said there is an “alarming increase in systematic, egregious, and ongoing abuses” on religious freedom in China last year.

In 2014, the Chinese government took steps to consolidate further its authoritarian monopoly of power over  all aspects of its citizens’ lives. For religious freedom, this has meant unprecedented violations against Uighur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, Catholics, Protestants, and Falun Gong practitioners. People of faith continue to face arrests, fines, denials of justice, lengthy prison sentences, and in some cases, the closing or bulldozing of places of worship. Based on the alarming increase in systematic, egregious, and ongoing abuses, USCIRF again recommends China be designated a “country of particular concern,” or CPC, under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). The State Department has designated China as a CPC since 1999, most recently in July 2014.

Nevertheless, Eleanor Albert of the Council for Foreign Relations, independent but also US based, reports a more positive picture:

Religious observance in China is on the rise. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is officially atheist, but it has grown more tolerant of religious activity over the past forty years. Amid China’s economic boom and rapid modernization, experts point to the emergence of a spiritual vacuum as a trigger for the growing number of religious believers, particularly adherents of Christianity and traditional Chinese religious groups. Though China’s constitution explicitly allows “freedom of religious belief,” adherents across all religious organizations, from state-sanctioned to underground and banned groups, still face persecution and repression.

While no one could argue that the level of difficulty – and even persecution – being experienced by people holding religious beliefs in the West is at the level experienced by Christians  in India or China, it does seem that  in China at least the trend is in the opposite direction. Take, for example, the complaints of Christians in the United States who now find that the moral codes of their religion are in conflict with the new politically correct codes being affirmed in the public square and which are assigning them, at best, to the margins of society.

A few examples:

  • The implications of the multiple court battles going on over Obamacare enforcement of contraceptive culture on Christian institutions.
  • The forcing of service providers to act contrary to their consciences by obliging them to endorse what they consider immoral behavior.
  • The Supreme Court determining to exclude anyone who prays in Jesus’ name from a rotation of officials who open city business meetings.
  • The removal of US military Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, over the issue of praying in Jesus Name.
  • UCLA’s prohibiting a graduating student from thanking her “Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” in her graduation speech.
  • Colleges making special accommodations for foot baths and Muslim only prayer rooms, while a Muslim group membership may be suspended or revoked for 57 reasons including but not limited to: unbecoming behavior, insubordination, or inactivity; but denying Christian groups campus recognition “because it requires its officers and voting members to agree with its Christian beliefs”.

Matthew Staver, Dean and Professor of Law at the Evangelical Christian Liberty University School of Law, puts it this way:

In a world of political correctness devoid of the rule of law, tolerance has come to mean total rejection of Christianity and moral standards. Modern tolerance redefines words like ‘marriage,’ ‘discrimination,’ ‘equality,’ ‘morality,’ and even ‘absolutes.’ The word ‘tolerance’ as it is used today never includes opposing arguments or competing worldviews. Tolerance has become Orwellian and decidedly intolerant.

So where does that leave Ecuador? It is not in a very good place just now and, with its Chavez-like regime  headed by President Rafael Correa, in the longer-term it may be playing with fire in exposing itself to an economic colonization by China. Seeking to distance itself from the US it has turned to China as Cuba did to Russia back in the 1950s and ’60s. That did not end well.

But if all did turn out well, the question which poses itself about all this is whether there is a better future in store for a country which allies itself with a power which may be evolving towards a tolerant and Christian society than being dependent on one whose Christian civilization is in decay. Furthermore, American investment seems increasingly to come with politically correct cultural strings attached which bear within them the seeds of its ultimate self-destruction.

I watched a chilling interview with David Foster Wallace just a few days ago. It was chilling because of how this tortured soul ended his life. It was chilling because it was hard not to connect his sad death from the grim prospect which he foresaw for America, captivated as it was by a culture of greed, self-indulgence and consumption.

Reliving the nightmare of Mary Shelly

For many this will be just one more reason to throw Christians – and particularly Catholics – to the lions again.

Planned Parenthood, the world’s leading abortion provider and promoter, has been put on the back foot again. Its political wing, the US Democratic Party, is hoping against hope that the storm created by David Daleiden will somehow be defused before it gains too much traction in the run-in to next year’s big election. Whether it does or doesn’t we can still anticipate that it will harden their resolve to continue moving conscientious Christians to the margins of the public square.

Daleiden is the man behind  the abortion provider’s exposure as a purveyor of body parts of aborted babies. His undercover videos have appeared online showing a Planned Parenthood official in California discussing, over what looked like a very nice lunch, the price of providing bits of babies’ bodies to a man and woman posing as buyers from a firm that procures tissue for medical researchers.
The New York Times and other fellow travelers, like the Democrats and the abortion lobby, cannot ignore the story. Today the Times carried a useful interview with Daleiden – the third item on its online headlines newsletter this morning. It could be described as even handed but between the lines I think you get a sense that they were looking for the story which might derail Daleiden and his activist group’s campaign. They didn’t get it.
In the videos the man off-camera is Daleiden. And, he said in an interview with the Times, more episodes are coming. Planned Parenthood’s estimates that he must have “thousands of hours of videotape” from infiltrating its clinics for two and a half years. Daleiden himself reckons he has enough recordings for perhaps a dozen videos that he can release at the rate of one a week for the next few months.
The time frame all but ensures political tumult ahead, according to the paper. “The videos will coincide with the Republican-controlled Congress’s final weeks of work on spending bills needed to finance the government after the Oct. 1 start of the next fiscal year. The first videos have already given impetus to conservatives’ push to hold those bills hostage unless they are amended to eliminate money for Planned Parenthood and other family planning programs. The risk, as in past years, is a government shutdown.”
All that is before we even begin to think of the Presidential election – and what Hilary Clinton is going to say in trying to defend her and Obama’s favourite NGO. Republicans are already shouting about this and Democrats clearly think they can use their interest in the issue against their political rivals and against Daleiden.

“By Boehner and the Republicans leaping into the middle of this, I think they further demonstrate the political nature of the attack,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster. “And as someone who’s done a lot of polling about Planned Parenthood, I feel reasonably confident that Americans, particularly American women, will see this as about politics, not about health care.”

What, we might ask, are politicians for, what is politics about, if they are not going to concern themselves with issues like this. Once again it all comes down to the definition and scope of the term “health care”. For some their duty of care only covers a portion of the population, for others it covers all the human beings living on the planet, before as well as after birth. This simple disagreement is at the root of the clash between two civilizations, a clash which at least matches that between the pagan Roman Empire and embryonic Christian world.
Daleiden’s storm is now gathering force and doing what he always hoped it would do over the past two years as he prepared the ground and put his plan into place. “When you know that you have something powerful, that’s going to shock a lot of consciences,”Daleiden said, it is “natural not to want to keep that under wraps.”
The Times interview tried the ploy of pleading the value to medical research which he might now be jeopardizing. He rejected that, saying, “Most fetal tissue work is real Frankenstein stuff.”
Daleiden said he had been an anti-abortion activist for more than a decade. He formed an anti-abortion group at his high school in Sacramento, a period when he met another young activist named Lila Rose. Until now, Rose had been better known to Planned Parenthood and other abortion-rights advocates for video stings by her group, Live Action. “Lila and I have been friends for many, many years,” Daleiden said.
He attributes his anti-abortion militancy to seeing images of aborted fetuses as a teenager. He is also the child of a crisis pregnancy. His parents, who are now divorced, were juniors in college when his mother became pregnant. He grew up “culturally Catholic,” and does not see himself aws particularly religious. But he now calls Pope Francis “my inspiration,” moved to follow the Pope’s encouragement to reach out to the peripheries and his “emphasis on just being active, on going outside of yourself to accomplish things.” 

All this is indeed a chilling illustration of what Pope Francis reminds us of in his recent encyclical, Laudato Si‘, “our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience.”

There is a tendency to believe that every increase in power means “an increase of ‘progress’ itself”, an advance in “security, usefulness, welfare and vigour; …an assimilation of new values into the stream of culture”,[83] as if reality, goodness and truth automatically flow from technological and economic power as such. The fact is that “contemporary man has not been trained to use power well”,[84] because our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience. Each age tends to have only a meagre awareness of its own limitations. It is possible that we do not grasp the gravity of the challenges now before us. “The risk is growing day by day that man will not use his power as he should”; in effect, “power is never considered in terms of the responsibility of choice which is inherent in freedom” since its “only norms are taken from alleged necessity, from either utility or security”.[85] But human beings are not completely autonomous. Our freedom fades when it is handed over to the blind forces of the unconscious, of immediate needs, of self-interest, and of violence. In this sense, we stand naked and exposed in the face of our ever-increasing power, lacking the wherewithal to control it. We have certain superficial mechanisms, but we cannot claim to have a sound ethics, a culture and spirituality genuinely capable of setting limits and teaching clear-minded self-restraint.

Apart from the immediate horror aroused by the vision of this trade in baby body parts, the related question which it poses and prompts to our consciences is once again that of the problem of men of science who do not see themselves bound by any conscience. If conscience plays no part in the way a scientist goes about his work then all we can expect is to relive the nightmare of that prescient woman, Mary Shelly – and it will be no nightmare. It will be the real world.  

Epiphany on a station platform

image

It was a lovely start to a Monday morning on an overcast if soft day in Dublin.

I got off the train at Pearse Station a little more than thirty minutes ago and saw a young high-vis jacketed attendant running towards me – but loking over my shoulder.

“Morning Gerry” (not his real name), he greeted the man not far behind me who had also alighted from the train.

Like an old friend he said, “Can I give you a hand” and ran up to him, grabbed his elbow and led him to the ticket barrier, seeing him safely through. Gerry was, you see, severely sight impaired.

This little incident certainly put a spring in my step and gave a new colour to the day – especially after my perusual of the doom and gloom in the morning headlines.

Please do not kill this mockingbird

The most extraordinary thing about the literary phenomenon that is the publication of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman is the lack of generosity in so many of the reviews that have greeted it. It all began of course with the very undignified questioning as to whether Lee was compos mentis enough to authorise its publication. Lee is now 89 but by all accounts is a very lively octogenarian.

This is surely the most interesting literary event of this century so far. The novel presented to us is not To Kill a Mockingbird and should not be compared directly to that novel which is a polished diamond, a work of literary genius. Indeed, as we now know, Mockingbird is a novel in which painstaking collaborative work between Lee and her editor, Tay Hohoff, played a huge part. Go see Wikipedia’s account for more detail. The first injustice to Lee is to make a like-with-like comparison between the two.

But apart from its purely literary interest the book is fascinating despite its unedited rawness. The writer who gave us the later work (1960) can clearly be seen emerging in this. Some of its humour is a delight, as is much of its characterisation. Make allowances for the unedited condition of what you have before you and you will enjoy this book as much as any you have read in this or any other year.

It is however, not just a delight. It is a worrying book grappling with a complex issue. Some reviewers tell us that we will be shocked by the revelation that the heroic Atticus Finch, whom we so admired in To Kill a Mockingbird, is “a card-carrying racist”. This is wide of the mark. This kind of reading misses the nuance of the historical document which this book is. It also misses the tragedy which is the old South– a tragedy which only a few weeks ago visited us again in the person of the murderous Dylan Roof who went on the rampage in Charleston.

The conflict which is at the heart of this book is complex – both in its manifestation in and between its characters, above all in the heart of Scout – or Jean Louise as we now know her – and in that of her father Atticus.

In 1954  the US Supreme Court ruled in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case that state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students were unconstitutional. The decision overturned a decision of 1896, which allowed state-sponsored segregation, insofar as it applied to public education. The Court unanimously declared that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” As a result, de jure racial segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This was the first major victory of the civil rights movement. But for many – not just Southerners and segregationists – it was a step too far in court activism.

The ideas ascribed to Atticus Finch in Go Set a Watchman are those of “gradualism” and a commitment to states’ rights. These were commonplace in the South in the middle of the 20th century. In his novel built around a very similar scenario, William Faulkner’s   Intruder in the Dust (1948) explored a similar theme. Essentially there is nothing in To Kill a Mockingbird which tells us that Atticus Finch has actually changed his views by the time in which Watchman is set. In the 1960 novel he defended an innocent man because he was innocent – not because he was a Negro. Atticus’ passion is the rule of law, and justice in the law. His politics was something else and politics did not really enter To Kill a MockingbirdWatchman is all about politics and the question of how best to achieve justice through politics.

In Watchman Atticus identifies differences between African Americans and the dominant culture of European Americans. But although he expresses these differences in very stark ways and opposes the policy of forced integration, he is not a racist. All his personal behaviour towards the African Americans around him speaks of a deep appreciation of the common humanity of all Americans. If he may be accused of any “ism” it would be paternalism. His chosen political solution, his hopes for an end to the injustices perpetrated by segregation, may be faulted by us because we have hindsight. It is unfair to Lee’s conception of Atticus to portray him as a racist.

The Brown case is the backdrop to the conflict which rages between Scout and her father. She is, as she says, “colour blind”. She cannot understand his opposition to the campaign for integration. But she is a Southerner and still has the rebellious spirit of the old South. She is now a resident of New York where the free and somewhat cruel spirit of the place has enveloped her. “I can tell you,” she says at one point, “In New York you are your own person. You may reach out and embrace all of Manhattan in sweet aloneness, or you can go to hell if you want to.”

In To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus says to Scout at one point, ‘You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.’ That referred to the “outsiders” of that story, Boo Radley and Tom Robinson. This is the theme which also permeates this novel – first of all relating to the central characters themselves, Jean Louise and her father, but also more broadly to the protagonists right across the spectrum of the races at war with each other in the Southern States. To call Atticus a bigot in the context of this novel is a gross oversimplification.

In one of the better reviews, Natasha Trethewey in The Washington Post, tells us that “Watchman is compelling in its timeliness. During the historical moment in which the novel takes place, in states such as Georgia and South Carolina, legislators had begun to authorize the raising of the Confederate flag over the statehouse or the incorporation of it into the design of state flags as a reaction and opposition to the Supreme Court’s decision — thus inscribing the kind of white Southern anxiety dramatized in Lee’s novel. ….

“Perhaps the best thing about this book is that it gives us a way to look at history from a great distance. It has been 61 years since the Brown decision, and now we have the hindsight to see the larger impact that Lee’s characters could not quite see: an outcome, as Warren suggested — that ‘desegregation is just one small episode in the long effort for justice.’”

There is another dimension to its timeliness as well – almost eerie in the juxtaposition of this book’s publication and the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision on same-sex mariage. It is seen in the key confrontation between Jean Louise and her father about the Brown judgement, about which both of them were unhappy. She put it this way: the Court, “in trying to satisfy one amendment, it looks like they rubbed out another one. The Tenth. It’s only a small amendment, only one sentence long, but it seemed to be the one that meant the most, somehow…It seemed that to meet the real needs of a small portion of the population, the Court set up something horrible that could – that could affect the vast majority of folks. Adversely that is. Atticus, I don’t know anything about it – all we have is the Constitution between us and anything some smart fellow wants to start, and there went the Court just breezily cancelling one amendment, it seemed to me.”

The Tenth Amendment states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

This was passed to help define the concept of federalism, the relationship between Federal and state governments. As Federal activity increased, so too did the problem of reconciling state and national interests as they apply to the Federal powers to tax, to police, and to regulations such as wage and hour laws, disclosure of personal information in recordkeeping systems, and more.

Then, a few lines further on we have this: “She looked at the faded picture of the Nine Old Men on the wall to the left of her. Is Roberts dead? She wondered. She could not remember.”

Reading all that you are inclined to scratch your head and ask if a bit of doctoring had not been done. No, of course not. Just a coincidence that the current Chief Justice who gave a scathing minority dissenting view on the Kennedy majority judgement in Obergefell should be called John Roberts.

Roberts sounded not a little like Atticus Finch when he said: Stripped of its shiny rhetorical gloss, the majority’s argument is that the Due Process Clause gives same-sex couples a fundamental right to marry because it will be good for them and for society. If I were a legislator, I would certainly consider that view as a matter of social policy. But as a judge, I find the majority’s position indefensible as a matter of constitutional law.

Go Set a Watchman is not, as some arrogant critics have said, a book which should never have been published. It is and will remain, even in the draft form in which we have been given it – thankfully no one tried to doctor it without Lee’s collaboration – one of the treasures of American literature. It is so partly in its own right but especially as a gloss to its beautiful progeny, To Kill a Mockingbird.

If we can complain about anything it might be that Tay Hohoff, after the success of Mockingbird, did not set to work with Lee and begin perfecting Watchman as they did the 1960 masterpiece.

(This is an expanded version of the post published on 18 July)

What the endgame is

After a video circulated that surreptitiously captured a Planned Parenthood official explaining how the group provides fetal parts to medical researchers, the organization defended the practice, saying it had “patients’ permission”.

Have our political representatives “evolved” so far that they are now happy with this as well? This is truly frightening. When you listen to the conversations on this video you will ask yourself if these people do not represent one of the greatest threats to humanity that the world has seen. It is hard not to think that the chasm between those people on this planet who value human life and those on the other side is greater than any mankind has ever seen. Does it not transport us into the laboratories of Nazi Germany?

When will this lying stop? “Fetal parts”? The Irish Pro Life Campaign calls it right when it reminds us that “If ever there was a story that highlighted the need for the pro-life movement, today’s sickening story about Planned Parenthood is it.”

A senior Director of Planned Parenthood in the US, the biggest abortion provider in the world, has been offering to harvest and sell the body parts of unborn babies. It’s very clear from the recording that the incident is not an isolated one.

“Today’s horrific story”, Ireland’s PLC says, “brings to light the true horror of what ishappening in the abortion industry and is a reminder of why we must do everything in our power to expose what is going on as we seek to engage the culture around us with a truly life-affirming message of respect for the dignity and value of each and every human life.”

Teachers’ Tales

Michael Kirke:

A piece which should give encouragement to any of those throsannds of heroes who might have forgotten the good they can do and the difference they can make in young people’s lives.

Originally posted on Morning Story and Dilbert:

Morning Story and Dilbert Vintage Dilbert
July 10, 2000

Teachers strive to care equally about each of the students they teach. For most of us however, some students just stand out and profoundly influenced our lives.

Years ago, I had a young Hispanic boy in my first year chemistry class who I will never forget. Our experiences together impressed upon me the tremendous influence that just a few minutes of attention and affirmation can have on a young life.

Juan came from a very poor, single parent home. Hardship had made Juan’s mother disinterested in his education and in his life in general. All of her time had to be  devoted to a roof over their heads and food on the table.

Throughout the year, I noticed that Juan had an unusual ability to solve equations and to correlate abstract relationships between concepts. Juan picked up new ideas as fast as any student I’ve…

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What are the Irish celebrating in 2016 with this going on?

Irish freedom for what?

There is something perverse afoot – and it is not anything new.

Google alerts for ‘pro-life’ / ‘abortion’ give a truly depressing picture of Irish media bias on the subject. The vast – and that means 90+ per cent – bulk of native (Irish) coverage on the subject is pro-abortion, relentlessly so. The only pro-life coverage – stories like the one below – come from life sites. Some come from the British press. They never, ever, appear in Irish media. Why?

This morning, as Dublin prepares for one of the biggest marches it will see all year, the only alert for news of this comes from LifeNews.com. All the Irish media alerts are advocating abortion.

With dishonest, unfair and shameless coverage like this being given to the Irish people what does the so-called freedom and independence they were supposed to have won in the early part of the last century really mean? They are planning to celebrate it next year. Is there really anything to celebrate?

From the LifeNews report:

The pro-life nation of Ireland is at a crossroads. The door has already been opened slightly to legalized abortion and dozens of unborn babies have been killed in abortions under a law that goes against peer-reviewed medical research showing abortion increases a woman’s suicide risk rather than alleviates it.

Now, abortion campaigners are pushing to open the door to abortion even further in Ireland by legalizing even more abortions — such as abortions in cases when the baby is severely disabled or has been diagnosed with a condition like Down syndrome.

Amnesty International have launched a global campaign demanding Ireland legalise abortion, a move pro-life activists say has motivated many to attend the Rally for Life on Saturday (today).

“People are appalled at Amnesty’s stance, especially those who previously supported the organisation”, said Niamh Ui Bhriain of the Rally for Life Committee. said. “They point out that Amnesty can no longer claim to be a human rights organisation since they trample on the rights of the most vulnerable members of the human family – unborn children.”

“At the Rally for Life we’ll be calling on people to ‘Abandon Amnesty’ because they support the death penalty for unborn children. That means withdrawing funding, and asking others to do the same. That means switching support to organisations who genuinely speak up for all human rights – including the right to life.”

She said that it was particularly disturbing to see Amnesty and the UN join other abortion campaigners in cynically targeting unborn babies with a profound disability and attempting to dehumanise babies with conditions such as anencephaly in order to justify abortion.

“The Rally for Life is always a major celebration of Life, and this year’s theme emphasises that legalising abortion for any kind of a disability leads to the horrific situation we’re seeing in many other countries, such as Britain, where 90% of children with Down Syndrome are aborted before birth,” said Ms Ui Bhriain.

Kevin Trainer, who has Down Syndrome, will travel from Louth to be at the Rally with his family. His mother Anne says that Kevin “goes to school every day with a massive smile on his face. He lights up every room he walks into. His father says Down Syndrome should be called Up Syndrome”.

“It breaks my heart to read that more than 90% of babies with Down Syndrome are aborted in Britain,” she said. “We don’t want Ireland to follow this example. And we don’t want our law to be changed to say that its ok to abort any baby with any disability. Saying that abortion should be legal for children with a disability is the greatest discrimination of all and we should say No to that.

“Most Irish people would be shocked to learn that legalising abortion for babies with a disability leads to these horrifying statistics of 90% of babies with Down Syndrome being aborted*, and most people of goodwill believe that we should provide better support to people with disabilities rather than simply eliminating them before birth. We’re seeing the number of women travelling for abortion to Britain fall, we’re seeing more and more young people join the pro-life movement, and we’re seeing that there is always a better answer than abortion,” she said. “The government needs to respect the most fundamental right of all for people with disabilities, the right to life.”