Stuff I Care About

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Funny For This Holy Sunday

As I was researching this morning, I came across many references to "winning the battle against abortion and euthanasia" in Quebec this week. To be funny, I read the Christian version of these events. The journalism left me confused. I thought to myself "It cannot be so simple and antatgonistic, there has to be a reasonable explanation." So, I went to the CBC to decipher these events. Here is their article:

Quebec abortion clinics excused from new rules

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | 3:26 PM ET Comments7Recommend7

Quebec Health Minister Yves Bolduc said he would remove abortions from Bill 34 that sets strict standards for private surgical clinics.Quebec Health Minister Yves Bolduc said he would remove abortions from Bill 34 that sets strict standards for private surgical clinics. (CBC)

Quebec Health Minister Yves Bolduc said Tuesday he will remove abortion clinics from a controversial bill that sets strict standards for private surgical clinics.

Bill 34 would have required private abortion clinics to have ventilated operating rooms and surgical clothing for all staff.

On Tuesday, the Quebec College of Physicians said the measures weren't necessary for abortion clinics. Several private clinics had threatened to stop providing the procedure when the province adopted the guidelines this spring.

Bolduc raised a controversy by initially suggesting it was the College of Physicians that wanted abortion clinics included in the bill. But Bolduc said he doesn't think the issue has damaged the relationship between the college and the ministry.

"I think we should always have a good communication and often when things like that happens, we just try to see what can be improved. One of the things [is] we can communicate earlier when we have problems like that," said Bolduc.

He said he never intended to reduce access to abortions, adding that the decision to include abortion clinics in the bill predated him as minister.

Hmmmmm. So the government has introduced a bill that indicates that all private surgical clinics in the province need to upgrade their services. Well, they really do not need to upgrade their services as it is not required for this type of procedure.
Now, it is no secret that journalism influenced with a religous perspective lacks objective integrity. But, this is a great example. So, here is the article that I initially read from on the same topic:

Big News from Quebec on Abortion and Euthanasia

These issues, which deal with the value of human life from conception to natural death, were given prominence in the Quebec newspapers recently.
by Don Hutchinson

Two issues of life were given prominence on the pages of Quebec newspapers last week.

First, Quebec’s law governing the operation of abortion clinics will change effective September 30.

It’s about time. I do not endorse abortion, but applaud the Government of Quebec’s decision to require abortion clinics to meet the same medical standards as any other surgical facility. It is a testament to the motivation of these clinics that three have advised they will close their doors rather than comply with the new law.

All three clinics, including Henry Morgentaler’s first clinic which opened in Montreal in 1969, promoted themselves as being open for business “for the sake of women’s health.” The Government of Quebec has given them the opportunity to meet a medical standard “for the sake of women’s health.” And, without effort or expenditure of a portion of the millions of dollars they have made over the decades of ending countless lives of the unborn, the clinic owners will walk away from their “principles.” The reason? They are unprepared to offer their services if forced to comply with general surgical standards – that is the performance of surgery in a sterile environment with basic sterile surgical equipment – and the financial cost associated with those standards.

The Government of Quebec has given [abortion clinics] the opportunity to meet a medical standard “for the sake of women’s health.”

Dr. Francine L├ęger of the Morgentaler Clinic is reported to have said this requirement is “a double standard.” Reports in Montreal’s Le Devoir newspaper indicate that neither the Quebec College of Physicians nor the U.S. based National Abortion Federation requires this “new” standard.

I’m fairly ignorant about the way the surgical procedure is performed but I do care about basic health requirements for human beings. Women undergoing a surgical procedure should be entitled to the same standard of care as men or women undergoing a different surgical procedure. Clearly, the government is not eliminating the performance of abortions in hospitals or properly equipped private clinics. It seems to me that the action of the Quebec government is not the establishment of a double standard but the elimination of one that has existed for far too long.

Of course, I would take pleasure in announcing the clinics have actually closed, no doubt with a resulting decrease in abortions and the damage, whether emotional or physical in its consequences, that so often accompanies the loss of that little developing life. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is grandstanding by the now wealthy owners of these clinics in an effort to test the reaction of the public, the resolve of the government or to seek government funding to upgrade their facilities.

We will soon know if 40 years after the opening of Canada’s first publicly advertised private (and at the time illegal) abortion clinic that same facility will close its doors, as a new age dawns on concern for women’s health. Hopefully this new age will be an age that includes fully informing women of the now verified high likelihood of emotional and physical consequences of having an abortion and the alternatives available. At a minimum, a woman will know if she chooses to proceed with an abortion that the procedure will take place in a proper surgical environment.

Lest we forget, all human life is unique and to be highly valued – from conception to natural death, including standards for surgery.

Don Hutchinson is Vice-President, General Legal Counsel with The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and Director of the Centre for Faith and Public Life.


First, check out the man's credentials. He is "LEGAL COUNSEL".

Second, he completely neglected to indicate that the forced upgrades are not necessary to the procedure. And, you do not need to create a surgical environment for a procedure that is non-invasive. No skin is cut, no scalpels are used.

Third, all equipment used in procedures is sterile. I think that he is trying to frighten women back to the "hacksaw" era. We have come a long way baby, and that fearmongering will not work with those of us who are able to see when we are being manipulated.


I may have to write this gentlemen a letter.


Less Canadian Youth Accepting Christianity

This article comes from Maclean's magazine. This indicates that the number of teenagers who identify as being atheist has doubled. Here is the article.

Youth Survey: Teens lose faith in droves

Islam and atheism are on the rise while Christianity fades

Teens lose faith in drovesEvery day, Mohamed Hadi wakes up before sunrise for morning prayer. The 19-year-old then boards a bus for the 90-minute ride from his home in Richmond, B.C., to the campus of Simon Fraser University, where he’s studying to become a physiotherapist. He’s involved in the Muslim Students’ Association, and with Rich in Faith, a Muslim youth group he founded that offers tutoring and mentoring services. Hadi’s a busy guy, yet he always finds time for his religion, including prayer five times a day. “It helps me stay composed,” he says, “and to maintain balance in my life.”

Such devotion is rare among teens these days—or at least, among those from Protestant and Catholic households. Just as the younger generation is abandoning the Christian faith, though, non-Western religions, such as Islam and Buddhism, are growing in Canada at a surprising speed. According to new data from Project Teen Canada, more teens now identify as Muslim than Anglican, United Church of Canada and Baptist combined. As a group, the percentage who adhere to so-called “other faiths”—including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism—has grown fivefold since Project Teen began its surveys in 1984, while the percentage of teens who identify as Roman Catholic has declined by one third, and the percentage who identify as Protestant is down by almost two-thirds.

Youth SurveyA side effect of this trend is a hollowing-out of the religious middle ground in Canada. Reginald Bibby, the University of Lethbridge sociologist who heads up Project Teen, says the grey zone of those who believe in God, but don’t regularly practise an established religion, is rapidly emptying out, leaving behind two distinct camps: teens who are very religious and actively practise their religion, and those who don’t believe in God at all. “For years I have been saying that, for all the problems of organized religion in Canada, God has continued to do well in the polls,” Bibby writes in The Emerging Millennials, a new book based on Project Teen’s latest findings. “That’s no longer the case.”

THE YOUTH SURVEY AT MACLEANS.CA: 1. Generation Tame 2. City vs. Country Kids 3. Teens lose faith in droves 4. The surprising optimism of Aboriginal teens 5. When it comes to sex, teen girls are acting more like boys 6. Immigrant teens find that tolerance goes both ways in Canada

The growth in popularity of faiths such as Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism can largely be attributed to immigration, Bibby says. Indeed, there are more new Canadians than ever—immigrants made up 20 per cent of the population in 2006, according to Statistics Canada, up from 16 per cent in 1981. And the majority of new Canadians now hail from the Middle East and Asia, whereas most came from Europe a decade before.

Youth surveyForeign-born teens are more likely to be religious when they arrive, but whether that faith will persist over the coming generations remains to be seen. “Because these faith groups are so small, they often can’t hang on to their kids,” Bibby explains. “They have this maddening tendency to socialize with Protestant, Catholic, and ‘no religion’ friends, and marry out of their parents’ groups.” But immigration will continue to supply fresh believers, so it’s likely that their community support will grow too. That’s been Hadi’s experience. Amongst his friends, many of whom are Muslim, “we all know when it’s time to pray. If we forget, we’ll remind each other,” he says. “Community is an integral part of the equation.”

For Canada’s Christian teens, meanwhile, the community is shrinking like never before. Since 1984, the percentage of teens who call themselves Christian has almost been cut in half while the number who call themselves atheist has grown to 16 per cent, up from just six per cent in the mid-1980s. Just as the boomers shifted toward agnosticism, teens are now going a step further and rejecting religion entirely. “Belief is learned, pretty much like the multiplication table,” Bibby writes. “So is non-belief.”

It’s a huge shift, and Bibby says it may be a worrying one. While it’s true that today’s teens seem to be more responsible and mature than previous generations, the surveys still find that teens who belong to an organized religion—including Christianity, Islam and other faiths—tend to put a higher value on trust, honesty and concern for others. Religion has long been a “source of stability,” he says, not to mention a moral compass of sorts. For instance, 95 per cent of young people who “definitely” believe in God or a higher power also think this entity “expects us to be good to each other,” while just three per cent of atheists agree. As the percentage of religious teens falls, Bibby wonders just how that will affect our ethics and behaviour. “We may well find Canadian society doesn’t need belief in God to hold onto our values. But right now, it appears to be a source,” he says. “The question is, do we have any functional alternatives in place?”

I am really glad that the data is displaying this trend. However, this also concerns me a little. The church will sense that they are losing control over the next generation and work harder to keep them. I could see this amounting to a large recruitment type of backlash. Jesus Camp, here we come...

Thoughts, comments, anyone?

Friday, August 21, 2009

One Great Article

Here is a great article called "Scarlet A for a Day" by a guy called Pastor Aaron, who is a Christian Blogger. Check it out:

"Several weeks ago it came to my attention that the Secular Student Alliance (SSA), a group of people who would be considered atheist and agnostic, were planning a trip to the Creation Museum as a preface to a conference that would occur in the same area. What started out as a mild curiosity became fascination and eventually action. What would it be like to be a Christian and a fly on the wall as a group of atheists peered at exhibits that attempted to prove them wrong? How would the creationist lecturer react to challenges and would he gloat when he wins a point?

I did not decide until the week before to take the day off to go. So it was that I rode with my wife to the Creation Museum for what may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can honestly say that I was not prepared for what we experienced. My wife had been there before, and as we pulled into the parking lot her first reaction was to how many extra security were visible. She said that she did not remember more than one or two officers on her last trip, but even before we left the car there were at least 6 clearly visible in front of the facility.

To ensure that we would be able to be included with some of the SSA members in the tour (and because we got $12 off on each of our admission prices) we signed up with the group. What we did not know was that we would also get name tags with the SSA logo printed prominently on them. We also had to sign an agreement which said that we would be respectful and appropriate during our time on the grounds. Emails had gone out over the course of the days leading up to the event to ask the very same and to forbid those who would come for the sole reason of causing a scene from coming at all. “We want to show what even as godless atheists we have morals.”
The Social Experiment Not only were we wearing name tags which clearly said that we were there with SSA, but many were also wearing atheist shirts. Most were subtle, in the sense that if you did not know what you were looking at you may not have even noticed. I overheard some people (obviously not with the group) talking about the shirts and what they meant. "

(Here is the shirt that he is discussing. I would like to buy one of these. That would be great)

"If you are familiar with the book The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne you will understand the reference. The story takes place in a Puritan community where a woman is accused of adultery and as a consequence is forced to wear a scarlet letter ‘A’ for the rest of her life to identify her sin. With the label she was also subject to ridicule and utter rejection by the rest of the community of Puritans (Christians). While I did not have a T-shirt (a symbol anyway) it was obvious that there was a distinctive way that we were being treated because of the shared identification. There were hateful glances, exaggerated perceptions, waxing surveillance by security, and anxious but strong ‘amens’ accompanying a lecture on “The Ultimate Proof of Creation” by Dr. Jason Lisle.

Is this how Christians treat people? Is this how we follow Jesus’ commandment to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us? I cannot help but think that many Christians are fearful of atheists. It is a sort of xenophobia that runs along lines of faith and belief. What we tend to forget is that atheists, agnostics, and evolutionists are people too. If our attempt to preserve our belief means that we are treating these people like animals, are we really holding up principles that are based on a creation worldview? There have rarely been times in my life that I have been ashamed of people that I call “brothers and sisters in Christ.” This was one of them. To be judged by people that share my beliefs because of the name tag I wore was appalling.

We forget that Jesus not only commanded that we love our enemies and pray for them, but he also sought out people who were rejected by the religious order, embraced them, spent time with them, and partied with them. It was not a covert operation to get them to say the sinner’s prayer (which was not invented until the 20th century) and get them to change their ways. Jesus knew that spending time with them was like good medicine: those who are well do not need a doctor.
What Then? … No Excuses

Do not miss this: belief must not be a reason not to engage in relationship. This is not about being right or wrong. This is not about having the answers. This is not about their tactics and how they have been rude or dismissive. This is not about a fundamental difference in the way we approach the world.
What this is about is relationship. It is about listening to other inhabitants of the planet, regardless of what we believe about how we got here. It is about having dialogue and getting to know one another. It is about sharing a cup of coffee, a glass of beer, or a soda and enjoying one another’s company. It is about realizing that we have more in common than we have in opposition. It is about being like Christ, which in fact is the largest issue that keeps us apart."

Genius. However, I cannot help but think that this revelation for him came a little late. Most non-believers have cited this treatment as their main reason for not engaging with him. It is true, a little empathy goes a long way.

Comments? Any input is much appreciated.

The Response

Today, we got a good one. This comes from the "Land of the Free". And, the topic of gay marriage continues.

I found this article from the Atlantic Online this morning. Apparently, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, by the name of Steve Chapman, asked "conservatives" who oppose gay marriage on so-called "practical grounds" to
make simple, concrete predictions about measurable social indicators," now that various states are letting gays wed. According to Chapman, they refused.

But now I see that Maggie Gallagher, President of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, has circled back around to Chapman's question over at the National Review. She writes this as her response:

1. In gay-marriage states, a large minority people committed to traditional notions of marriage will feel afraid to speak up for their views, lest they be punished in some way.

2. Public schools will teach about gay marriage.

3. Parents in public schools who object to gay marriage being taught to their children will be told with increasing public firmness that they don't belong in public schools and their views will not be accommodated in any way.

4. Religious institutions will face new legal threats (especially soft litigation threats) that will cause some to close, or modify their missions, to avoid clashing with the government's official views of marriage (which will include the view that opponents are akin to racists for failing to see same-sex couples as married).

5. Support for the idea "the ideal for a child is a married mother and father" will decline.

I love the good, solid, credible evidence based rationale for this one.... By the way, I cut and paste this directly from the article. I corrected her spelling mistakes.

Comments. Anyone?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Yet Another Reason Why Church and State Should Be Completely Severed

So, yesterday, a Muslim Model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno became the first woman in Malaysia to be sentenced to a caning after being caught drinking beer in a beach resort. Here is the article from the Telegraph UK:

"The 32-year-old will receive six lashes at a woman's prison next week in what is being viewed as an example of the growing influence of Islamic hardliners on the country.
The mother-of-two who lives in Singapore with her husband, paid a fine of £860, but declined to lodge an appeal so she could get the punishment over with and put the episode behind her.

The harsh sentence has provoked anger among women's rights groups who fear it is another sign of the creeping influence of conservative Islam on Malaysian society.

In the northern backwater state of Kalentan ruled by the hardline Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, authorities have decreed that supermarkets must have separate checkout queues for men and women and beaches be segregated.

Young couples caught sitting too close together on park benches in the state capital, Kota Baru, are hunted down by the city's moral enforcers and fined up to £285 in Sharia courts.

The Islamic alcohol prohibition laws in Malaysia's eastern Pahang state date back more than two decades. But Malaysian-born Kartika, who now has Singaporean citizenship, is the first woman to fall foul of them.

She was arrested in July last year in a hotel nightclub in the beach resort of Cherating during a raid by the state's religious department and admitted drinking beer.

An Islamic court fined her and ordered her to be caned at Kajang women's prison next week, but spared her a jail term of up to three years.

She received word of the sentence from her father and said she would be returning to Malaysia from Singapore.
"I accept the punishment," she said. "I am not afraid because I was ready to be punished from day one. [The authorities] hope to use my case as a way to educate Muslims. So go ahead. I want to move on with my life."
Prosecutor Saiful Idham Sahimi said: "This is the first case in Malaysia. It is a good punishment because under Islamic law a person who drinks commits a serious offence."

Muslims make up about 60 per cent of Malaysia's 28 million people and are governed by Sharia courts for all civil and religious matters.

Non-Muslims, mainly Chinese and Indians, are governed by civil courts, which impose caning sentences for serious offences such as rape. The lashes administered to the buttocks, break the skin and leave scars.

But in Kartika's case the rattan cane will be lighter than those used to punish men. Sharia law dictates it be no thicker than the little finger and the cane cannot be lifted so high the arm is away from the armpit. The court ordered the jail's female governor administer the sentence.

Kartika has been ordered to report to the jail next Monday, where she will be given a medical check-up to ensure she is fit to receive the punishment.

She could then be held for seven days, but will be released immediately after the caning."

Wow..... There is so much here, I really do not know where to begin. When I was researching this article, though, there was discrepancy among sources. Some of them indicated that she had been sentenced by a religious court, and some, such as this one, report that she had been served by a civil court. I will say that they do seem concerned with her physical capacity to endure the punishment. And, her ability to assume responsibility for her actions is commendable. I do not feel that Christians are so forthright about their shortcomings within our society.

Nevertheless, wouldn't it be great to live in a world where everyone could go to a resort and drink a beer without fear of caning?

Comments? Opinions? Rants? Anyone......

Heidi Montag- The Christian Playmate

Heidi Montag, the "Harvard Scholar" from The Hills was on Ryan Seacrest promoting her latest contribution to humanity, her Playboy photoshoot. She was quoted as saying:

"For me personally, I feel like God created the body and the body is beautiful... that's the way God created us, naked! So, I am not ashamed of it. I'm proud of it and especially because I worked out so hard. This was such a blessed experience."


What does God have to do with going to a plastic surgeon, getting implants, getting a personal trainer, exercising, then taking off your clothes and getting a hefty paycheque?In fact, she made more money in that afternoon than the average American doing real work.

And, to turn on my butch feminist persona....

What kind of example is this for young girls? She has now opened the door for young women to equate a pornographic experience with being blessed.

Bottom Line- This is really disgusting. She is using God as a way of minimizing her actions and making them more personally acceptable to herself. You want to be in Playboy, good. Only someone with an issue with it would feel the need to bring God into it.

And, yes, God did create us to be naked. But, then because Adam fed Eve "the evil apple", God punished us like little children by creating a sense of "shame" with being nude by forcing us to put on clothing.

Comments anyone? I am sure that I have missed alot.