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Saturday, December 14


For those who are interested, my appearance on "The Journey Home" show on EWTN - shown live on Monday - is being shown again at 11:00 this evening.

According to the show's website. We actually don't watch television, so I have no personal knowledge of these things.

2:19 PM


This week's weekly bulletin from the Population Research Institute reports on the attempt of the United Nations Population Fund to claim that "reproductive health services" - mostly abortion, but they're not going to say that out loud - are the best way to improve the economies of poor countries, and therefore that the $10.9 billion spent in 2000 on these "services" was $6.1 billion short. The report examines this claim at length, and finds, as you'd expect, that increasing the number of abortions in poor countries hurts rather than helps their economies.

I would commend the briefing for that analysis, but I wanted to add to our list of euphemisms employed by the abortionists, for those who, like me, are fascinated by the abuse of language and who give some thought and effort to stopping the abusers.

The UNFPA received its first shock even before the conference began. The Bush Administration, acting on the principle that we should call things by their proper names, declared the phrase "reproductive health services" to be nothing more than code language for abortion. Which it is, of course. Back in 1994, when the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) deadlocked over the issue of abortion, "reproductive health services" was adopted with a wink and a nod by the global abortion movement, which understood this as a cover for abortion.

There is no doubt that the Cairo document, as it is called, includes abortion as an integral part of reproductive health services. This linguistic sleight-of-hand has been repeated ad nauseum in UN publications and at UN conferences these past eight years.

The UNFPA is also appalled that the US delegation wants the phrase "unsafe abortion" - double speak for legalizing abortion - simplified to merely "abortion." This much-needed change would expose, among other things, the UN Population Fund's (UNFPA) promotion of manual suction abortions.

Under the guise of eliminating "unsafe abortion," the UNFPA ships manual vacuum aspirators around the world to treat "complications of abortion," to perform "uterine evacuations" and "menstrual regulation." If, under pressure from the Bush Administration, the goal becomes "eliminating abortions," then all this double talk becomes untenable.

Readers may find two articles from the November 2000 issue of interest:

John Dunsford's analysis of the Supreme Court's quite poor logic in Stenberg v. Carhart, in which they protected even partial birth abortion from being prohibited by state legislatures, Like a Startle . . . Like a Flinch"; and

my examination of the abortionists' abuse of language, Defending the Indefensible .

Readers interested in the subject may also be interested to know that the January/February issue, now about to go off to the printer, or perhaps at the printer already, will include an editorial, five Views, and two feature articles on pro-life matters.

2:12 PM

Friday, December 13


This is from last month, but I just came across it cleaning out my In Box. In the Tampa Tribune November 24, 2002, is a review of RAISING ABEL, by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear (Warner Books 572 pages. $25.95) by Judy Dawson:

When religious fervor leads to murder, prospective victims live in fear, waiting for the other shoe to drop. But "Raising Abel" is not just another psychological thriller written in the wake of Sept. 11. Scientists, about to prove once and for all that evolution is not a theory, become the targets of murderous, fanatic creationists.

─Anthropologists and researchers on three continents are being systematically and brutally murdered, their bodies symbolically nailed to the floor and set on fire, their homes, labs and research destroyed. The chief suspect is Billy Barnes Brown, charismatic leader of the Apostolic Evangelical Church of the Salvation, who has wealth, power, political connections and control over his flock, the "starry-eyed faithful." "I do not believe in "evil'ution," he had decreed. "It is misguided at best, Satanic at worst."

"Murderous creationists"? Gads. But I am glad that Judy Dawson, the reviewer, (and perhaps the book) describes evolution as a theory that still needs to be proven "once and for all." (I am still waiting.) In the meantime, don't buy the book. It sounds misguided at best, dumb at worst.

3:27 PM


In my "Flying the Flag" (December 4th), I chided, rather gently, Canon Mark Pearson of the Charismatic Episcopal Church - whom I know from our days in the "resistance movement" in the Episcopal Church - for hearing a man's confession in a Catholic church in Boston as if he were a Catholic priest. A couple of days ago he protested that

[I] did not need to tell the man in the confessional that I was not a Catholic priest, because, in fact, having been ordained by a bishop in apostolic succession with subsequent hands laid on via that church in Brazil, I am a Catholic priest, although not in the same body as Mr. Mills.

I think this a rather odd response. A priest's own view of his own status is irrelevant to the need of a minister to be transparent and open. It is irrelevant to the particular case. The man whose confession Mark heard was looking to confess to a priest in communion with the Pope, who could celebrate the mass at the altar of the church in which they met. Mark knew that, and knew he was not that, and still pretended to be that. This is simply misleading.

I suspect Mark would be rather displeased were a Baptist minister to wander into his (Mark's) church one day, put on the vestments, and lead a Eucharistic service for Mark's people, because according to his theology he was just as truly ordained as Mark. The Baptist would be as justified in doing so as Mark was in hearing confession in a Catholic Church, but I don't think Mark would see it that way. I also wonder if Mark really wants to teach his own people that it is all right to flout someone else's rules if they feel they know better. One really doesn't want to encourage fallen human beings to be so disrespectful and discourteous, much less to be so lawless.

It is a more serious matter than some of our Protestant readers may realize. As one of our contributing editors, Fr. Addison Hart, commented, Mark may have done something quite harmful to the man in acting as something he was not - or as something he knew the man would not consider him to be. If Mark had said "I am not a Roman Catholic priest," the man would have left him and found one. As Addison wrote:

The cut-and-dried Roman Catholic view is that his orders are not valid (which is not to deny them all efficacy in their own ecclesial context). He simply has no God-given authority to absolve the sins of the Roman Catholic faithful. That's the brutal fact of the situation, pleasant or not to hear it, and I truly hate saying it.

But think of the poor fellow who later discovers that he has confessed to a Protestant minister, and just maybe agonizes that he has gone on to receive communion without trustworthy absolution of serious sin. (I won't say whether or not such a perception is true, only that it is not to be treated lightly.) He has been quite nicely set up, I should think, for a crisis of conscience. Catholic priests take a very, very dim view of the violation of conscience.

If this seems legalistic, reverse the case. Suppose an Evangelical Christian meets a Catholic priest in street clothes and for some reason thinks that the priest is an Evangelical minister. Suppose he then, with genuine concern for the answer, asks for an explanation of what Jesus meant when he said to Peter, "You are the rock." The priest must tell the questioner that he is a Catholic priest and therefore understands the passage in a Catholic way. The question is asked with the expectation that the authority asked speaks from a certain tradition and with its authority.

The priest must not let the trusting Evangelical think he is speaking as an Evangelical and give him the Catholic answer as if it were the Evangelical answer. He must not do this even though he believes that answer to be the truly biblical - the truly Evangelical, if you will - answer. To give the Catholic answer while in effect pretending to be an Evangelical minister is not in fact to answer the question the Evangelical is asking, because it ignores the expectation with which he asked it. It is to answer the question under false pretenses. This would be wrong, and might well drive the poor Evangelical into crises of conscience and conflict with his own tradition. It could be spiritually destructive.

As I said in my first blog, Mark should not have done what he did. It may well be bad for the man who confessed, but it is certainly bad for the relations of divided Christians enterprise, especially since Mark shared the story with a writer whose column is read in newspapers around the country and widely circulated by e-mail. It can only make most Catholics who read the original story less trustful of Protestants, and not unreasonably.

Mark's action and then his protest raise important questions about the ecumenical enterprise, especially as Touchstone undertakes it, which is to say, without trying to minimize the differences between traditions or deny the teachings of the bodies of which we are members. As the editors of this ecumenical enterprise have learned, working together across what are quite sharp lines and substantial barriers, takes a great degree of tact and forbearance, but also a great care to be as clear and as honest as possible. As my colleague, and Protestant brother, Steven Hutchens commented:

One of the salubrious effects of keeping the company we do is that we cannot avoid being responsible to Christians of other communions. We cannot get away with the sort of thing isolates can because we will be called to account for our opinions by people who could elsewhere be safely ignored. We Protestants may believe we are just as catholic as any Roman Catholic we know, but the huge, looming reality of this Church that strenuously, and, given its beliefs, entirely reasonably, denies it, cannot be ignored without making a liar of whoever pretends it doesn't exist.

He has noted from time to time the habit of some Catholic apologists of criticizing Protestantism as a theology using the example of its weakest - and often weirdest - proponents. I am afraid some do this, and that some Protestant apologists do the same thing in reverse. As Steve continued:

No Touchstone editor could get away with this. While our disagreements are ever before us, we have the advantage of knowing that they are not dreamed up, but the real ones. There is considerable value in clarity like that.

When Christians are divided, yet bound to try to answer as far as we are able our Lord's prayer that we all will be one, we must be extraordinarily careful to speak and live honestly. Whatever we think of ourselves, we must remember that our brothers in the Lord do not think of us in the same way. This is just as painful for the Catholic as for the Protestant. We will think the others wrong, and pray for their conversion, but our hope of finding real unity and communion depends upon our doing nothing to avoid the differences till they are truly, honestly, eliminated.

11:33 AM


Someone should start collecting stories about what Planned Parenthood is doing. Here's a contribution. In response to my blog of Dec. 12 ("PP's Infernal Revenues"):

Planned Parenthood makes big bucks off of abortion, and what better way to ensure a steady stream of customers than by handing out free condoms at university campuses across the nation? Oh-yes, the condoms are flavored, and some are even adorably fastened to lollipop sticks. But the most telling thing about these freebies is that the 1-800 PP hotline is plastered over the condom wrapper-very convenient since upwards of 17 percent of these condoms will fail. Condom didn't work? Not a problem! Give us a call! We're you're back up birth control agency!

Planned Parenthood's campus campaign is frightening-and successful. They even have a so-called student organization called VOX. PP is successful, too, because no battle is too small-they will stop at nothing to squash opposition. I did something I thought was clever-I started calling the student pro-life organization of which I'm the faculty sponsor, VOX VITAE (voice of life) and guess what? WHAM! Lawsuit! From the national organization! And this is at a little university in the Deep South. That's how you spell success-and become the largest abortion provider in America. It's scary.

-from Barbara Wyman, Instructor in the Dept. of Languages, McNeese State University, Lake Charles, Louisiana.

If you would like to read what Planned Parenthood has to say about Mrs. Wyman's and others' efforts on behalf of innocent human life at this school, check out PP's upbeat piece at their VOX website here. A "voice" that opposes the voice of life can only be the voice of death.

9:03 AM

Thursday, December 12


Jim's "Planned Infanticide" (posted yesterday) reminded me of meeting a very conservative Episcopal priest in New England (though he was not, I hasten to note, a native) while borrowing a friend's cabin one summer. He had a beautiful church and rectory right on the harbor of a beautiful seaside town. This priest was a member of the very conservative lobby group ESA (the Episcopal Synod of America) and later joined one of the small "continuing Anglican" churches because he thought the Episcopal Church too liberal.

He was showing my wife and me around the rectory and I commented, as a good guest should, on the picture of a young woman mostly likely his daughter. As it proved. He began telling us with obvious pride what she had done and was now doing. She had been for the last couple of years the p.r. director for, you guessed it, Planned Parenthood. He said this with pride, as I said.

It was one of those moments in life when one's circuits blow. Had I been able to speak, I would have blurted out, "Haven't you disowned her yet?"

7:22 PM


A reader responds to my blog on Planned Parenthood ("Planned Infanticide" Dec. 11):

I am quite sure Mr. Kushiner is right about Planned Parenthood. Several years ago I had a conversation with an acquaintance who had worked for PP for many years but finally quit. As I recall her explanation, she had been trying for some time to push for programs that would have resulted in fewer abortions being performed, but kept running into management resistance that at first baffled her. Finally someone spelled it out for her: abortions generate revenue for the organization, counseling on alternatives does not. There would be no support for any program that cut into this vital source of revenue. That was the end of the road for her--she had wanted to be "pro-choice but not pro-abortion" but it was clear that PP was not the place to do that.

I am sure PP would deny this if asked officially but I have no doubt it's true.

As they say, follow the money. An article from FEMFACTS: Women's Issues From A Feminine Perspective, A weekly publication of the Beverly LaHaye Institute, reveals the latest link between PP and money:

When American companies and corporations try to drum up business, they feed millions of dollars into advertising-blanketing their savvy messages in newspapers, magazines, billboards, the internet-anything to convince the consumer to spend their hard-earned dollars. But if you are a family planning clinic, how do you attract clientele? If you are Planned Parenthood of North Central Ohio, you pay teenagers to recruit their friends. And you use Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or TANF, funds to do it.

(The article tells the rest of the story.) The PP holiday greeting card, with which I began yesterday's blog, has on the inside: "Warmest Wishes for a Peaceful Holiday Season." And if you are interested in a holiday gift, PP's website urges you: "Get ready for the holidays by ordering these delicious, milk chocolate Planned Parenthood birth control pill packs." Only $90.00 for a case of 120. Such a deal.

9:00 AM

Wednesday, December 11


According to a story in WorldNet Daily, Film star to portray
'sex reformer' Kinsey
, Francis Ford Coppola is making a movie about Alfred Kinsey, to be released by MGM's United Artists division. The movie's director, Bill Condon, says that

"It does feel like it's time to remind people of Kinsey's ideas, which I think are liberating. I hope there's an exhilarating feeling you get when you come out of the theater."

He also says that there would be

"no Playboy or Dr. Ruth without [Kinsey's] liberating effects"

I think this wrong, and that these things would have arisen without him, because the sexual disintegration of modern western society grew from other causes. The most obvious is the simple fact that sex sells things, not just dirty magazines and books by silly old women, but even things with no sexual aspect whatsoever. A less obvious reason is that sex provides a fake transcendence, which a secularizing society with strong religious instincts would require. As Malcolm Muggeridge said somewhere, "sex is the mysticism of materialism."

What Kinsey provided was an intellectual justification for hitherto forbidden activities, and people always like to have a reason for doing what they were going to do anyway. He gave the impression that acting as you wanted to was proven all right by "science," which to secularized middle Americans was the equivalent of "And God said." (I suspect the book was only rarely actually read, and almost never read closely and critically.)

His statistics, which we now know to have been to a great extent made up - Kinsey found what he wanted to find - seemed to prove that adultery and homosexuality were really "normal," because so many morally unmoored people think that one measures morality by numbers. I have heard "born again" Christians say "but everyone does it" as if this were a final, clinching argument. A secularized society with no interest in what God wants will still try to find a secure basis for its morality, and statistics is at least certain. (Unless they're provided by men like Alfred Kinsey.)

His idea that sexuality was a "continuum" seemed to prove that it did not matter what one did with whom. I am not sure why people thought this, except that morality depends upon distinctions and a continuum does not allow them because one thing blends into another. People all have these sexual energies and needs but vary in the ways in which they express them, but one man's desire for women was not really any different from another man's desire for other men or for children. They are just different points on the continuum.

I think Kinsey simply provided intellectual justification for what people were going to do anyway in part because his books received such a welcome, suggesting that he simply said something people were eagerly waiting to hear. I remember reading in an interesting article on Kinsey some years ago - it may have been the excerpt in The New Yorker from James Jones' biography - that when his studies appeared the intellectual magazines attacked them, while the popular magazines like Life praised them to the skies. "Middle America," even in the 40s and 50s a rapidly secularizing group, seems to have loved Kinsey.

The New Yorker article, by the way, revealed that Kinsey himself was a sadomasochistic pervert, who took pleasure from . . . sorry, I almost forgot this was a PG-13 blog. Let me just say that he seems to have enjoyed doing something that no male I know would think pleasurable, not in a million years. Let me just say: OUCH!

Anyway, he was a truly wicked man, who not only lied in his books to prove that actions of which he approved, and in which he secretly indulged, were just fine, but victimized many others, including his wife, to feed his lusts. Jones' biography revealed, to give just one example, that

Kinsey produced pornography in his attic - filming his wife, male staff and their wives as performers └ and sexually harassed his male students.

And then there is the evidence that he used the work of child molesters in his studies and thought sex with children just fine. (It's a continuum, after all.) He did not report them to the police, but the major media do not object to this, though they howl with rage when the archbishop of Boston does not report child molesters to the police. (As they should. I would just like to see a little more even-handed rage.)

The researcher Judith Reisman - who, by the way, was for years often abused by academics for saying about Kinsey what Jones later revealed in his biography -

points to pages 160-161 of Kinsey's 1948 book "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male," in which the children's "screams," their "convulsions," their "hysterical weeping," "fighting" and "striking the partner (adult)" are judged by Kinsey as reflecting "definite pleasure from the situation."

Oh. What about this man is "exhilarating"? There is a great deal of evidence against Kinsey in this matter, besides that one damning quote. In a documentary titled "Kinsey's Paedophiles" produced by Yorkshire Television (but never shown here), for example, another biographer of Kinsey, Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy, had seen Kinsey's files from 1956 and noted that

[Kinsey] was deeply influenced by five pedophile headmasters who were quite clear they had very warm relationships, loving relationships with young adolescent boys of 12 or 13.

My first reaction is astonishment that such a wicked man could have had such an effect on an entire society. But my second reaction, which I think is closer to the truth, is sadness that this society could have made of such a wicked man an intellectual hero.

* * * * * * * * * * *
For those interested in finding out more, LifeSiteNews offers two links for further information on Dr. Kinsey:

Kinsey: Crime of the Century

More Alfred Kinsey Horrors Exposed

5:49 PM


You may have seen Planned Parenthood's new holiday card that says "Choice on Earth" (check out the current Weekly Standard's Parody page). Never mind PP's cheap appropriation of the words of the angels to the shepherds. I don't believe PP is about choice at all. I really believe that Planned Parenthood wants to kill babies, once they are conceived. As many as possible. At least they don't want women to have real choices that would result in abortions being rare, which is pretty much what I said. What would PP say if offered the possibility of partnering with a crisis pregnancy organization so that each PP client (and candidate for abortion) would be first offered "crisis pregnancy" help--housing, medical care, counseling, adoption assistance, and so on--so as to help her carry her child to birth? Would PP want these mothers to have such a real choice? I would wager that PP would turn down flat any such offer from a crisis pregnancy center. Which would mean what? When they mean pro-choice, it simply means having access to abortion, not choices.

I remember as a youth the Planned Parenthood pitches. They struck me as strange, as if they came from another race of men, another universe. The two words together seemed bizarre, unless one believed the nonsense about our planet being on the verge of sinking out of its orbit due to excess human baggage. Babies came when babies came. You would no more plan parenthood than you would plan the final score of the neighborhood baseball games before you threw the first pitch or make a list of Christmas presents, pick them out at the store with your parents, wrap them and put them under the tree, and still wake up excited and be surprised on Christmas morning. Planned parenthood? Humbug.

4:19 PM

Tuesday, December 10


The 2000 Republican party platform says that

"As a country, we must keep our pledge to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence. That is why we say the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed."

This seems straightforward, but nevertheless, the Republican National Congressional Committee sent out a letter on behalf of the Republican candidate in Maine's second congressional district in direct contradiction to the platform. The Republican, Kevin Raye, was pro-choice while the Democrat, Mike Michaud, was pro-life. The letter included the lines:

"Who protects the right to choose? Not Mike Michaud. Anti-Choice. Anti-Women's Rights. Mike Michaud is a typical politician. He opposes the right to choose and seems to think politicians should legislate women's health."


"Kevin Raye . . . has fought side by side with Olympia Snowe to protect a woman's right to choose and make her own decisions on what's best for her body. Pro-Child, Pro-Woman, Pro-Choice."

The letter was reported by M. D. Harmon, an editorial writer and editor for the Portland Press Herald, in "If groups say they're pro-life, you might think they mean it". As it turns out, the Republicans see no problem with such things. Harmon called the RNCC's headquarters,

where spokesman Carl Forti told me the party's national platform didn't figure into the decision to produce the ad.

"So," I asked, "if candidates in adjacent districts had stands on opposite sides of this issue, you would provide different ads for each of them?"

"Certainly," Forti replied. "It's the candidate's choice."

As the psalmist said so wisely, put not your trust in princes. There is obviously a considerable and influential group within the Republican Party that is either pro-choice or willing to be pro-choice if the position will win them votes, and they will keep undermining the party's platform whenever they can. They must assume that they have pro-lifers' support no matter what.

The political realities are such that this is to some extent true, alas. What such Republicans - the unprincipled and the pro-choicers whose principles are bad ones - don't realize is that at some point many pro-lifers may simply abandon the Republican Party, and either quit politics altogether or vote for Right to Life candidates knowing they won't win. They may be wrong to do so, and give up the chance to do some good they could not do otherwise, but people don't like being spat upon, even if while the people spitting on them are doing something they want them to do.

Assuming that you've got someone right where you want them because they can't go anywhere else is unwise, but pride goeth before a fall. And pride is the sort of thing one naturally feels after an election like the last one.

My thanks to Amy Wellborn's In Between Naps for the link.

8:07 PM


Received this afternoon from the Episcopal News Service:

(Independent) Bishop Richard Holloway, retired bishop of Edinburgh and primate of the Scottish Episcopal Church, has publicly said that . . . Anglicans should endorse the ordination of gays and lesbians.

Holloway argued that the biblical argument against ordaining women has been removed. "If you go against the express word of Scripture in order to do justice to women, you have already broken down the walls that protect the unchanging authority of Church and Bible," he wrote in a Scottish newspaper.

"You have tacitly admitted that many of the church's traditional attitudes are obsolete," he added. "Having swallowed the camel of female emancipation, it should not be too difficult for the church to take the next gulp and swallow the gnat of justice for homosexuals as well."

Well, I hate to agree with the liberal Scottish bishop in public on much of anything, but indeed, with the ordination of women the walls protecting the Bible and church authority are, let us say, severely compromised.

2:24 PM


In a previous blog, "Planned Parenthood Jingles" (December 5th), I misunderstood the blog I was quoting and attributed to Mark Shea made up slogans for Planned Parenthood that were actually invented by Jeff Miller of the Atheist to a Theist blogsite.

1:41 PM


One of the members of the Planned Parenthood's Clergy Advisory Board has explained that Jesus would be pro-choice were he alive today. (The "were" is his word, not mine, I hasten to note.) The story appeared on NewsMax.Com.

The Rev. Mark Bigelow is pastor of the Congregational Church of Huntington in Centerport, N.Y., an affiliate of the United Church of Christ. . . .

In a Nov. 22 letter to Bill O'Reilly, host of "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News Network, Bigelow wrote the following:

"In your show you said that Jesus was not pro-choice and you were sure he would be insulted were he to see this card," referring to Planned Parenthood's "Choice on Earth" holiday greeting card.

"Even as a minister I am careful what I presume Jesus would do if he were alive today, but one thing I know from the Bible is that Jesus was not against women having a choice in continuing a pregnancy," he continued.

"Jesus was for peace on earth, justice on earth, compassion on earth, mercy on earth, and choice on earth," Bigelow added.

Since abortion is an act of violence and injustice lacking both compassion and mercy, it is rather hard to see how Jesus would favor - sorry, would have favored were he alive today - choice in the matter.

Mr. Bigelow knows with certainty "from the Bible" that Jesus would be pro-choice, which is not the natural reading of the texts. With such interpretive gifts, he may have gone into the wrong business. His reading of the tax law might prove very helpful to someone who didn't want to pay taxes. Until, of course, a higher authority made his judgment known.

My thanks to the Atheist to a Theist blogsite for the link. My apology for the repetition of the blog following, but when I posted it only part appeared and it will not let me delete it. Very annoying.

1:37 PM


One of the members of the Planned Parenthood's Clergy Advisory Board has explained that Jesus would be pro-choice were he alive today. (The "were" is his word, not mine, I hasten to note.) The story appeared on NewsMax.Com.

The Rev. Mark Bigelow is pastor of the Congregational Church of Huntington in Centerport, N.Y., an affiliate of the United Church of Christ. . . .

In a Nov. 22 letter to Bill O'Reilly, host of "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News Network, Bigelow wrote the following:

"In your show you said that Jesus was not pro-choice and you were sure he would be insulted were he to see this card," referring to Planned Parenthood's "Choice on Earth" holiday greeting card.

"Even as a minister I am careful what I presume Jesus would do if he were alive today, but one thing I know from the Bible is that Jesus was not against women having a choice in continuing a pregnancy," he continued.

"Jesus was for peace on earth, justice on earth, compassion on earth, mercy on earth, and choice on earth," Bigelow added.

Since abortion is an act of violence and injustice lacking both compassion and mercy, it is rather hard to see how Jesus would favor - sorry, would have favored were he alive today - choice in the matter.

Mr. Bigelow knows with certainty "from the Bible" that Jesus would be pro-choice, which is not the natural reading of the texts. With such interpretive gifts, he may have gone into the wrong business. His reading of the tax law might prove very helpful to someone who didn't want to pay taxes. Until, of course, a higher authority made his judgment known.

My thanks to the
1:35 PM


A press release from the Discovery Institute of Seattle reports on today's vote in Ohio on science standards in the public schools. The decision allows teachers to at least inform students that there are arguments being made against Darwinian evolution and what those arguments are:

After months of debate, the Ohio State Board of Education has adopted science standards that require Ohio students to know why "scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory." The Board unanimously approved the science standards this morning.

Calling this provision in Ohio's science standards "historic," Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, director of Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, noted that "Ohio has become the first state to require students to learn about scientific criticisms of Darwinian evolution as well as scientific evidence supporting the theory. This represents an important milestone in the effort to ensure that students learn the full range of relevant scientific evidence. This policy will help remedy the selective presentation of evidence made by most biology textbooks today."

Ohio's new evolution standard does not require teaching the theory of intelligent design. "In recent weeks some have mischaracterized the new language as an effort to mandate teaching the theory of intelligent design in the classroom, but that is not accurate and is not what we asked for," said Dr. Meyer. "The new standard requires students to learn about the evidence for and against Darwin's theory. It does not mandate that students be tested about the theory of intelligent design, though it does leave teachers free to discuss it."

Schools are also not required to teach creationism but simply inform students of the scientific critiques being raised by what is known as the Intelligent Design movement. Stephen Meyer and others involved in the Intelligent Design movement have published 14 essays in a book which I edited with William Dembski, Signs of Intelligence: Understanding Intelligent Design, available from Brazos Press or and other book sources. All but one of the essays and the introduction were published in Touchstone in July/August 1999, and, if I may say so, taken together are an excellent primer on the question of evolution and design, generally accessible to highschool upperclassmen and college students.

Similar proposals and changes in the curriculum standards of other state and local school districts will surely continue-and be debated fairly vigorously, if not heatedly.

11:49 AM

Sunday, December 8


One of our Canadian readers, Mr. Gordon Belyea, sends an interesting response to the lecture on Islam quoted below in "Islam is less religious than you thought":

I must comment that the observations of Islam and its relationship with the State made in Mr. Cameron's blog could equally be made of much of Christendom, past and present. Until recently, the vast majority of churches were established - tied to and identified with the State. Where one could see this starting with an unbaptized Emperor Constantine, convening and presiding over the Council of Nicea, it continued to where popes were giving marching orders to emperors, and vice-versa.

Reformed Protestant churches showed themselves little better in this aspect, unfortunately. The religious wars of the 1500s and 1600s reflect not only conflicting theologies, but States and their Churches slaughtering one another. Even that great via media between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, the Church of England, has her senior archbishop chosen by the prime minister, and her prayer book vetted by the Parliament; her bishops (until recently, I believe) have been members of the House of Lords. Thus it seems a little inconsistent to brand Islam with the same mark that has characterised most of Christendom.

Indeed, wherever the practice of infant baptism has predominated, where being a citizen of the country made one a member of its church, one perceives the same risk of conductual-averageism in professing Christians that Mr. Cameron finds in nominal Muslims. Perhaps it is not only Islam, but the identification of the Church with the State, both in governance and in baptism/citizenship, that needs to be examined.

"Conductual-averagism" is a useful phrase. I think he is right about this, and that however attractive the idea of a Christian society in which church and state are perfectly integrated and mutually supportive may be, the attempt to create one tends to work out badly. It does not matter, to borrow a friend's phrase, whether the nation has an established Church or a Church of the establishment, as long as people assume their faith is primarily a function of their place in the society.

Once people get the idea that they are Christians because they live in a "Christian" country, you get places like Sweden, which are incomprehensibly secular. I am told that in Greece, in which the Church is even more intertwined with the state, church attendance is approaching Scandinavian levels.

6:08 PM


According to the Zenit news service, the Vatican's Pontifical Council on the Family will be publishing next year a 1000-page "Lexicon of the Family" exposing the ideological misuse of the words describing the family. It sounds a very useful project, indeed, but there is no word on when the English edition will be published. It seems to have been written in part because of the Vatican's experience and observation of the way official documents are written, starting with the U.N., a notorious source of words used badly and misleadingly.

"When the family is discussed in the U.N. or in national parliaments, ambiguous terms and concepts impede a real understanding of the speaker's intentions," Cardinal L?pez Trujillo told the Italian newspaper Avvenire.

". . . The "greater part of references to the family, to children, to woman, are vitiated by an almost Orwellian language. Phrases are articulated that never define clearly the
concept that is really being expressed."

The story gave "voluntary interruption of pregnancy" as a way of saying "abortion" and "reproductive health" as a way of saying "contraception" (and also, let me note, "abortion") as two examples of terms whose usual usage introduces "grave moral confusion." It also noted that "Even expressions that seem unequivocal, such as 'matrimonial indissolubility' and 'conjugal love,' can open the doors to a new manipulation of language."

10:38 AM

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