For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Home is Where the Central Cardio-pulmonary Organ Is, and see what else has been going on.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Break?

A lot has been happening since the last time I've been able to post on either of my blogs, and things got rather ... tense.

At this point, however, I think things have finally started to calm down.  For starters, we are no longer concerned that a mentally ill man is going to suddenly show up at our door or try to snatch his kids.  He's under investigation by children's services for child abuse and steps are being taken to protect the girls and their mother from him, should he show up.  The likelihood of that happening anytime soon has dropped - at least in part due to being served notice that he faces a restraining order, civil suit and various criminal charges on his return.

Communications between the girls and their father have been all but cut off.  The Watcher has refused to talk to him directly, and when we tried sending an audio message she and Beetle Child made, his response was ... less than diplomatic.  Beetle Child has since sent another brief message, but The Watcher didn't want to take part.  After his response to the last one, she didn't see the point.  There has been no response to the audio message Beetle Child has sent.

With Egypt spiralling into civil war, there's also that to prevent any travel.  Their dad isn't in the big cities, but he would have to go to Cairo to come back, and things are not looking good there.

Since not having any more contact from their dad, either by email, Skype or telephone, the girls have become amazingly ... ordinary.  The behavioural issues we'd been seeing are all but gone, with nothing more than normal, childhood issues to deal with.  They're still not where I would expect them to be for their ages in some areas, but in others, they have bounced back remarkably.  Children are so resilient!  Best of all, they are getting to see their mom often, even spending almost entire days with her.

The nightly "talks" with The Watcher, as she struggled to find the words to explain her fears, worries and describe some of the things their father did while they were living with him have pretty much ended.  Instead, our nightly cuddles after their bedtime story have ordinary chats about ordinary things.

The battle isn't over, by any means.  We still have counselling sessions coming up, their mom is getting a Legal Aid lawyer for herself and another will be assigned to the girls.  We're looking at more court sessions in the future, and there's still finding out just how extensive their abuse and neglect has been over the past 2 yrs.  It's actually been good to hear the girls sometimes talk about pleasant memories with their father.

We don't know what's going to happen next, but at least we're breathing an little easier, even if we still can't let our guard down completely.

This whole thing has been quite disruptive, and our lives have been turned completely upside down, shaken and stirred.  I am so grateful to my family for their patience - none of us expected things to get this crazy, but I was the one who brought this on us, and I'm thankful for their support in all this.

In an ideal world, their mother will be able to get an accessible unit in our co-op - she's still on the waiting list - and the girls would be able to be with their mother even more.  With our assisted living staff, her physical and medical needs would be taken care of as well as in the care centre she's in now.  Not being able to move into a place like ours is the only reason the girls had to move in with their father to begin with.  It's unlikely she'd get a unit large enough for them to actually move in with her, but even if she got a 1 bedroom, we'd be just across the street and the girls could easily move between two "homes." If a larger accessible unit were to become available, priority is given to members before becoming available to people on the waiting list.  Who knows - maybe someday, the girls will actually be able to live with their mother again! At least now, this sort of scenario looks possible.

On the down side, it means that our other plans have been diverted, if not shelved entirely.  My father is celebrating his 90th birthday this fall and I have a nephew getting married, but I see no way we can make the trip out.  I haven't seen my family in 2 years, and by husband hasn't seen his in 4.  Not that my husband can physically handle the drive out anymore, with his own health problems.


Instead of heading out to visit the family in Manitoba, we'll instead be focusing on moving to another, larger unit.  That's another hit on the finances, as my husband will not be getting a raise this year (due to a technicality, of all things - frustrating!).  With two new youngsters in the house, there's no way I can get a job, but Youngest wants to get a full time job and Eldest plans to get a part time job after the summer festival season is over.  They have both talked about wanting to contribute to the family finances.

I have the most amazing children.  And the most amazing husband.

I am truly blessed.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Life keeps moving on

If you've been reading my homeschool blog at all, you'll see things have been a bit busy for us lately!  At a time when we were approaching an empty nest and ending our home school journey, we're starting all over again with two youngsters who have joined our household.  I've had little time to post on  blogs, as any writing time I've had is instead diverted to documentation. 

Unfortunately, instead of focusing on the girls, we are focusing on getting advice from the law courts, contacting the police, lawyers and getting involved with social services.  All because of their father, who has managed to reach out from Egypt to cause us all problems.

As difficult as their father has been, it had been my hope that we would still be able to keep the girls in contact with him.  I strongly believe in the importance of a father in children's lives, and would never willingly try to prevent them from talking to him.  His own actions, however, made it highly unpleasant.  In seeking legal information, there was even surprise expressed that we were allowing them to speak to him at all, given the circumstances.  We have no legal obligation to allow him access to the children while out of the country.

Unfortunately, in the few Skype calls he's had with them so far, he's been more interested in dishonesty and manipulation.  Today, however, he has hoisted himself by his own petard.  He talked one of his daughters through changing their Skype password, telling them to keep it from us.  She wrote it down. 

Now we can't log them into their Skype account at all.  What she wrote doesn't work. 

As international phone call attempts have been complete failures, Skype was the closest thing to a reliable means of communication they had with him - and even that was questionable, as there's the usual delays and occasional failed connections.  My original intent had been to regularly send him emails with updates on what the girls were doing, including photos.  In thanks, I got unreasonable demands, bizarre accusations and threats against me, so no email.  That left regular Skype calls with the girls.  Now, they don't even have that.  Because of his attempts to separate the girls from our trust, he has succeeded only in separating the girls from himself.  I am not going to attempt to regain access to the account.  He will have to live with the consequences of his own actions.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Link: YouTube is Breaching my Rights...

YouTube is Breaching my Rights by Forcing me to Promote the Redefinition of Marriage – Xt3 Library
Here is my problem - because I have a YouTube channel, I am now promoting the redefinition of marriage through my YouTube channel, against my will, because this rainbow heart appears on my channel.

YouTube claims to be “a place where all communities can feel proud to express themselves and connect through video.”

What about the communities that want to promote marriage being between a man and a woman?

In one of my gmail accounts, I opted to recieve the odd Youtube email.  Usually, they include about 9 videos of potential interest.

Yesterday I got one promoting "pride."  It had 19 videos, all extolling the joys of being gay.  It's all about loooooovvveee dontcha know.

Of course, how many people will dare object?  After all, if you have any objection, it must mean you hate gays or are a religious bigot.  There is no in between allowed.

Well guess what, Youtube?  I don't hate gays, but I do hate having destructive behaviour promoted as being all sunshine and rainbows.  It's not about "love" no matter how determined the activists are in defining the issue their way.  The bigotry and intolerance is from the activist side, and that now includes Youtube.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Grand Experiment...

Liberal Indoctrination in Canada's Schools

The indoctrination extends past the curriculum and into extracurricular activities. Gay-straight alliances (GSAs) have become more and more common across Canada and have been pushed aggressively by left-wing provincial governments. But these too are unnecessary. The TDSB's 2006 survey found that body image, academic performance, language background, race, and culture were more likely than sexual orientation to cause students to feel unwelcome from school activities. Only 1% of students felt unwelcome based on their sexual orientation. On a list of 10 factors, sexual orientation was found to be the second-least likely cause of bullying (after Aboriginal background). Sexual orientation was also the least likely factor for students to feel that school rules had not been applied fairly to them. The left loves to claim that the reason for GSAs is to build tolerance and curb bullying. If these were their real goals, they would be promoting white-black alliances, muslim-infidel alliances, rich-poor alliances, able-handicapped alliances, ugly-attractive alliances and stupid-intelligent alliances before they got to gay-straight alliances.

Interestingly, I know Liberal homeschoolers who keep their kids out of school because they think our  public school system is too conservative/Christian.

In case you're interested...

If you're not seeing a lot of activity on this blog, pop over to my homeschool blog and you'll see some of what's going on that's keeping me a bit busy to post here.

6.5 million People and 30 years; Traditional Marriage is Still Tops

NOMblog: New Danish Study of 6.5 Million: Health Benefits of Marriage are Unique to Male-Female Unions

During 2000 to 2011, Danish male-female married couples were the healthiest and least likely to die at various ages compared with individuals who were unmarried, divorced or widowed. In contrast, same-sex married men in Denmark were no healthier than unmarried men. Same-sex married women had much higher mortality rates than other women, including the ones who were unmarried, divorced or widowed. There was no apparent marriage “benefit” in terms of better health or longer life for these same-sex married women.

I find it curious that, in so many studies, outcomes are so much worse for lesbian couples than any other group, except possibly single mothers.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

On a more personal note...

The past while, I’ve been posting a lot on various issues, but this is actually a personal blog, and today I’m going to dash off in that direction – partly because I want to get this down while it’s still fresh in my memory, just in case I need to refer back to it in the future! Plus, I have my friend’s permission to regale people with it. LOL

I’ve posted before about a friend of mine who is in long term care. Thankfully, she has been able to move to a new care centre that is a whole lot less stressful than where she was before. On the down side, it’s brought up some issues in regards to seeing her children. Not the location – that’s another improvement. The problem lies with her X. He now has to *gasp* take TWO busses to bring the kids to her, so it’s a longer trip. Not that he has anything else to do with his time, what with not making any serious effort to get a job or anything.

Now, my friend had primary custody of the kids before she ended up in long term care. Since then, the kids have been living with their dad, but she had not given up custody of them. Without going into detail, there is a court order that says he has to bring the kids to see her three times a week. He’s also supposed to bring the kids TO her, but if she’s not in the lobby waiting for them, he refuses to go upstairs. Nor will he allow them to go with any of the staff (whom they’ve gotten to know pretty well by now). Keep in mind that my friend is a quad, and sometimes she is simply physically unable to get to the lobby for one reason or another. Even so, if she’s not there, he will simply take the kids back home again.

Just to be clear. He will take transit for something like an hour in total to deliver the children to their mother, then turn around and drag the kids back home again without seeing their mother, because he won’t take an elevator and go to her unit if she’s not in the lobby, despite a court order that says he had to deliver the girls TO their mother at a specific time.

  Yes, this is relevant to my story.

Here’s where it gets complicated.

This guy’s from Egypt and he recently found out that his father is on his deathbed. He wants to go back to Egypt to be with his father, which is understandable. My friend asked me if we’d be willing to take the girls for a few weeks while he was gone, which we are more than happy to do. Their dad, in all the years he’s been in Canada, has developed no friendships or any sort of social circle, so he’s got no one to ask. His response to her arrangements was to come up with a “legal” contract that he wanted me to sign before he’d allow me to take in his kids while he was gone. “Legal” is a rather loose term since, the moment he leaves the country, my friend becomes sole guardian until he comes back, which means all parental decisions would be hers and hers alone. Anyhow, his initial contract was so ridiculous she refused to even pass it on to me without major changes. Among the things he wanted was that I was not to take the children outside the “borders” of our city. He also added that I was authorised to take care, and make any decisions required, of any medical emergency needs UNLESS I was responsible for the medical emergency. So, if one of them fell down the stairs and got hurt, I’d have his permission to take them to the emergency, but if I pushed one of them down the stairs, I wouldn’t have permission to take them to the emergency.

Oh, and if I cancelled at the last minute, I would have to pay him $3,500 cash immediately to compensate him for it. Apparently, this is a common thing in the Middle East.

Also, I would not be allowed to sign any legal documents or make any other decisions in his name. WTF? Why would I even want to do that? I already don’t have any legal right to do anything in his name. It’s not like I have some sort of Power of Attorney or something.

Anyhow, I did see the original “contract”, but only because my friend showed it to me for a laugh. It was really quite insulting, but too ridiculous for me to actually be insulted. When my friend made changes to the document, he had a fit and said he wouldn’t go to Egypt to see his dying father after all.

Well, things have gone back and forth and there is now a version of the document that my friend is okay with passing on to me, which hasn’t actually happened yet. This is where I come to what happened today.

 After texting some details with my friend, she asked me to call her ex to make arrangements. She was supposed to get the kids today. There was a puppet show at the library, which is just a few blocks from us AND basically right at the bus stop he would have to transfer busses at, so she asked him to meet her downtown with the girls so they could see the puppet show. She asked me to call him to bring the paperwork, and we would all meet and we could get this done and he could get his ticket, etc. (We’ll not get into how a guy with no job and on social assistance can afford to buy a ticket to Egypt at the last minute.)

I tried calling him a total of five times. Four times, there was no answer. The second time I tried calling, I got a busy signal. He simply wasn’t answering his phone. She had been trying to call him, too, but he wasn’t picking up (yes, he has caller ID, but no voice mail).

We were going to meet up at the library anyhow. Meanwhile, Eldest had gone out in the morning to stand in line and sign up for a spot in a local art festival (this will be her fourth year as a vendor in this festival). When she got home, she took me out to lunch so she could regale me with the happenings of the morning, so we left together early. When it got close to the time to meet at the library, we headed over and waited.

And waited.

Knowing my friend and her situation, when she wasn’t there within a certain time, I went to look around to see if I could see her. Unfortunately, we were around enough noise that I didn’t hear my phone ringing, so when I got back to Eldest, there was a missed call and a message for me. She was at a particular bus stop and could I please meet her there?

Not a problem. Eldest and I walk over to the intersection and, as we draw near, we can see her in her chair at the bus stop up the street. I’m thinking, Great! Huh. That looks like a cop beside her.

As we get closer to the intersection, I can see that no, it’s not a cop beside her. That’s a security uniform. Wait. That other person… that’s a cop’s uniform. Gee. I hope this doesn’t have anything to do with my friend, ha ha!

We cross the street.

We see the girls (8 and 7) are already with her. And the police. And the security guard.

Oh, look. There’s the Ex, too.

What the heck?

As we come closer, I can see my friend talking to one officer, her Ex talking to another, there’s a security guard standing past her Ex, and the girls are looking rather upset. We rather tentatively say hello to my friend and the girls, then stand with them, wondering what the heck is going on. As I made eye contact with the security guard, he made a hand gesture at me. I got the hint. There’s a bus shelter sort of built into the building we’re standing beside, so Eldest and I suggest to the girls that they come and sit with us. Their mom tells them to go ahead with us. Her older daughter goes in with Eldest and I follow, but her younger daughter goes first to her father to double check if it’s okay with him.

This is something I’ve noticed before. Their behaviour is very different when he’s around, and not in a good way. We’re not the only ones who’ve noticed it, either.

So Eldest and I go into the shelter and sit down. Her younger daughter eventually joins us, but she’s crying. Turns out she was afraid the police where going to take them away.


We were able to cheer them up a little bit and distract them with conversation. Meanwhile, my friend is talking in French to one of the officers while her Ex is talking at another, while a third officer was taking notes. The security guys had to just hang around. In total, there were 4 officers and 2 security guards involved, though not all at once. After a while, the officer that was speaking in French came over to talk to me and the kids.

I have to say here that this guy was pretty awesome. He was great with the kids. He asked me a few questions about my being able to help my friend out and, if necessary, being able to get the kids back to their dad as required by the court order if necessary. As things dragged on, we were able to interrupt things enough to let Eldest take the girls to the library so they could take in the puppet show. Her older daughter eagerly left with Eldest, but the younger daughter turned back to her father, just as she did before. Her dad was busily making accusations about my friend (I couldn’t hear much, but apparently it involved a fair bit of swearing and him accusing her of lies), so when his daughter tried to get his attention, he pretty much ignored her. It wasn’t until her mom said for her to get her water bottle, which was among his things on the ground, that attention was broken, she got her water bottle, and then went to join Eldest and her sister to go to the library, and they were able to get to the puppet show on time.

Meanwhile, the police were able to convince the Ex to go along with things (I was still in the dark about a fair bit of this) and agree to meeting at this same bus stop at 4pm, when visitation with their mom would be done, and he could take them home. The paperwork he wanted me to sign had come up in discussion, too, and I mentioned that I had tried to call him several times this morning. He kinda sorta apologised for not answering the phone, in a “not my fault” way. My name didn’t come up on the caller ID, you see. It said “unknown name”, he didn’t recognise the number, and it was a Saturday, so he wasn’t going to answer an unfamiliar number. Also, it wasn’t prearranged for me to call him, so he wasn’t expecting me to call (how we were to prearrange a phone call on short notice – especially when he was refusing to answer calls from my friend, too – I have no idea), so he didn’t know to print out the “contract” and bring it along.

In other words, it wasn’t his fault he didn’t answer the phone, which means it wasn’t his fault he didn’t know to bring the paperwork for me to sign.

Over the next while, my friend was able to fill me in on what happened. She had talked to her Ex the night before, mentioning that she wanted to take the girls to the puppet show, which they were looking forward to. That conversation ended up with him yelling at her and hanging up on her. Together with other things I won’t go into here, she knew there would be issues. So, based on what time he arrives to drop the kids off normally, she reverse-scheduled the bus routes to figure out when he’d have to arrive downtown to transfer buses, then made sure she was ON the bus he had to transfer to. She even chatted with the driver to explain why she wasn’t getting off the bus as it went past the several bus stops he could possibly be using and letting him know what she was looking out for. She spotted him on the sidewalk with the girls, so she let the drive know she had to get off. Unfortunately, some woman with a stroller tried to get on the bus before the drive could lower the ramp so my friend could get off.

Then things got interesting.

As they were walking to the bus, her Ex saw the ramp going down and saw that she was on the bus. He immediately started to back up with the kids, who hadn’t seen her yet. Yup, he actually tried to get the kids away from the bus and her. My friend called out her older daughter’s name a few times. When she finally heard her mom, she yelled out “mom!”, and her younger sister then noticed her mother. However, their father was slowly backing them down the sidewalk towards the back of the bus.

 Her Ex, however, was not a happy camper. He refused to release the kids to her. He even physically restrained them, holding them back from their mother. (Later, he accused her of telling the bus driver to not allow him on the bus.) The security guards happened to be walking by, so she asked them for help. They said they couldn’t get involved so, with things devolving quickly, she called 911. She mentioned her concerns for their safety, and that he had an abusive past (one of the reasons he’s an Ex to begin with). Since she called 911, the security had to hang around anyhow, which probably prevented things from escalating even further.

So that’s how the police became involved.

Her Ex continued to refuse to release the girls to their mother, claiming that the court order was for him to deliver them to her residence. That’s right. He wanted to take the kids all the way to the care centre, where they would have immediately had to turn around to take a bus back downtown. Plus, since my friend was *already* downtown, she would have had to take the bus back to her place with them, so that they could turn around and all 4 of them take the bus back to that exact same bus stop (at which point, they would probably have been too late for the puppet show). Meanwhile, the court order is for him to deliver the children to HER, which he refuses to do if it means he has to take an elevator and walk them to her unit anyhow.

This whole thing ended up taking about an hour at the bus stop, with myself and Eldest joining in about half an hour in.

We did have a great visit, though. Eldest got them to the puppet show, and their demeanor completely changed as soon as they were away from their dad. We were able to stay near the entrance and see the girls inside the room the show was held in, and they were having a blast. Even the younger one, who is normally less demonstrative, was laughing and taking part. After the puppet show, the older one went to look at books with Eldest while her sister waited her turn to use the washroom. That was enough time for her to find several books she wanted to take out. They didn’t have their cards, but my friend had their card numbers, so she tried to take them out. That’s when she found out that her Ex had a note put on their file saying that no books could be taken out without his signature.

Yup. The kids can’t even take out library books without him.

Because he was supposed to meet them in the area anyhow, my friend asked them to set the books aside for possible pick up later, and if they didn’t get picked up by the end of the day, to put them on hold.

After that, we made our way back to the nearby mall where she bought her kids some lunch, then we went to a bookstore and generally just had a great time hanging out. The kids are great fun to be with.

Eventually, it was getting close to the time to meet their dad, so we started heading out. As we got closer to the bus stop, we could see he was already there. My friend encouraged them to run on ahead to their dad, which they did. As soon as they reached him he, without making contact with any of us, turned his back to us and started walking away! No chance for the girls to say proper goodbyes or anything. My friend called one of them back because she’d forgotten her water bottle, but her Ex kept on walking, completely ignoring us. Her daughter heard and ran back, got her water bottle, then had to run to catch up with her dad. She was half way back before he noticed she was no longer with him and turned to see where she was. He was still very deliberate about not making eye contact.

What a petulant child.

Their dad, I mean. The girls are much more mature than their father.

What a ridiculous situation. It just blows my mind when a parent is so obsessed with getting their own way, to get back at their ex, that they don’t care how much it hurts their children. At one point, as we watched the police talking to their parents, the older daughter told Eldest that her parents didn’t argue before their mom ended up in the hospital the first time. Then they started arguing, and haven’t stopped since, and she didn’t know why. They are getting to an age, however, they they’re both seeing that there is something wrong with their dad. Seeing how different their behaviour is when he is around is concerning, too. There is clearly come psychological manipulation happening, there.


Well, whatever happens, I hope we do get to have them stay with us. During our conversation, my friend mentioned the possibility of it being for longer than 3 weeks, which is fine with us. Three weeks, three months, three years, we don’t care. Our home is open to them at any time.

I just wish their dad would grow a pair and be a man who takes responsibility for himself and his family, rather than scamming the welfare system while acting like a spoiled brat.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Video: An atheist professor converts to Christianity.

It's always interesting to watch how, when a person is willing to be honest with themselves, logic and reason renders it impossible to deny the existence of God.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Disturbing Silence

A WaPo reporter explains her personal Gosnell blackout

But the thing is that I’m getting kind of sick of pointing out egregious bias only to see things not just remain bad but get worse. Just think, in the last year, we saw the media drop any pretense of objectivity and bully the Susan G. Komen Foundation into funding Planned Parenthood. And then we had how many months of coverage focused on someone calling a birth control activist a bad name? And who can forget every pro-life person in the country being asked to respond to Todd Akin’s stupid remarks about rape?

 I recommend taking the time to read the full article linked above, and following the links in it.  In reading it, I can actually feel Mollie's frustration in her writing.  But then, what honest journalist wouldn't be?

The lack of media coverage is not surprising, but it's not the only place where all we can hear are crickets chirping.  It's at the ground level, too.  The article mentions other controversies - Komen, Fluke, Akin - that the media did cover.  When those stories were running, people all over the place were commenting.  Social activist types I know were breaking out their protest signs and burning up their blogs with commentary.  I couldn't look at my facebook feed without hearing from pro-abortionists making snide updates on their statuses as well as loud commentary as they shared news articles, opinion pieces and blog posts about it.

Yet now?  Not a word.  Nothing.  Not only that but, unless I am looking specifically at pro-life blogs, groups or sites, I'm not hearing it from anyone else, either.

I can understand the silence of pro-abortionists.  The Gosnell case is proof that all their defenses for abortion have become meaningless.  If they really and truly support abortion "rights", then they cannot honestly say Gosnell did anything wrong, yet it's obvious to even the most shrill among them that what he did is wrong.  Not just a little bit wrong in the gray areas, but completely, horrifically, astonishingly evil.  If they condemn him, they condemn themselves, and they won't do that.

The silence that really disturbs me, however, is not coming from them.  The silence that really bothers me is the one from the pro-life side.  Where are they?  I realize my exposure to these groups on social media is quite limited, but even just on my own friends list and other contacts, I know there are many who are pro-life, even if they feared to admit it.  I know people on email groups that I'm a member of that are pro-life and would be willing to speak out of this were a story about, say, animal abuse or oil pipelines.   But these are babies.  Human babies being slaughtered.  Human mothers being damaged and sometimes killed.

By the hundreds.  Possibly more than a thousand.

This case should be enough to bring even those who are on the fence on the abortion issue over.  The horrors being revealed during this trial are sickening and shocking.  I understand why the news media aren't covering it, but why is it I'm still seeing more people upset over a story about pet abuses or fake stories about Monsanto?  What little I am seeing is in very specific sites; places that basically already serve the pro-life community.

I share a lot of stories on my facebook.  Sometimes, my shares result in conversations about climate change, politics, homosexuality - sometimes even abortion.  Yet with this story, for all the ones I've shared, I've had commentary from only ONE pro-abortion person I know, and this is a person who actually does believe Canada should have limits on abortion.  

Where is everyone else?? 

That is the silence that disturbs me most.

Monday, April 08, 2013

How to Refute Christianity: A Handy Guide

How to Refute Christianity: A Handy Guide

The Bible makes many claims that can be scientifically and philosophically tested – and if these claims are falsified, Christianity will crumble. So here is a handy guide I’ve developed for those who would like to refute Christianity.
This guide highlights the major testable Christian beliefs and provides suggestions on how the skeptic should go about the refutation process.
 One of these days, I'm going to have to write a post about my own journey from believer to non-believer to wishy-washy believer to being utterly and completely convinced of the Truth of Christianity.  When I finally took the time to examine Christianity through evidence, logic and argumentative reasoning, I simply could not come to any other conclusions and still be honest with myself.  I've applied the same standards to other ideologies and religions, and none have stood up to them.

I've had many try to confront me with claims that anyone who is religious is illogical, anti-science, etc.  Interestingly, while I learned to respond with rational arguments, evidence based claims and critical thinking, those who attack religion seem capable only of bombastic claims with no evidence to back them up (like saying that Jesus never existed, or that religion is the cause of all or the worst suffering in the world), derogatory insults and mocking statements (seriously, folks; can you not come up with anything more original that the Bearded White Guy in the Sky, Sky Fairy or Imaginary Friend?).

For a group that claims to have logic, reason and evidence on their side, they don't seem to know how to use any of it.

h/t The Poached Egg

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Apologetics Makes a Comeback Among Youth: Youth ministry sees the return of reasons.

Apologetics Makes a Comeback Among Youth: Youth ministry sees the return of reasons.

Challenging the cultural climate is a major component of the new apologetics, said Sean McDowell, head of Worldview Ministries. "The apologetics resurgence has been sparked ultimately by teens who are asking more questions about why people believe the things they do," he said. "Those who thought that kids in a postmodern world don't want an ideology were wrong."

 I've have been seeing some interesting cultural shifts of late, including among our youth and young adults.  It's something I've described seeing to people I've had debates with on various topics, but those I've mentioned it to do not see it.  I'm not surprised by that.  What they are seeing is what the mass media and certain alternative media that they follow want them to see.  They are seeing the results of popular polls and superficial trends.  In their eyes, religion is being destroyed by "science" and "rationality"; they see opinions towards SSM going in their direction, which they describe as "the right side of history" and other such meaningless catch phrases; they see the abortion issue as decided and beyond debate.  Everything around them is telling them that "their side" has won.

I follow enough of popular media to know what they are seeing - and who is telling it to them.  However, I follow both sides, and what I'm seeing is something very different.  Even as the mainstream media claims that the abortion debate is no debate at all, painting pro-lifers in the worst possible light, I am reading the blogs and articles and watching the videos of those who were there.  I am seeing the astonishing increase in people who are now openly and unwaveringly pro-life, even in the face of sometimes violent attacks from pro-abortion supporters.  In popular and social media, I see the assumption that people of science are all atheists, and the claims that religion is anti-science and ignorant.  The verbal attacks on those who hold religious views by those who claim to be "rational" and "scientists" are inevitably rude, crude, vile and completely unreasonable and unintellectual.  Meanwhile, I am seeing people of faith make polite, rational and evidentiary defences in the face of these attacks.  I read the papers, articles, books, blogs and reports written by men and women of both science and faith, and their careful claims blow away the irrationality of their attackers.  I am also seeing, in complete contradiction of the claims made by those who support SSM, a rise in support of traditional marriage - a rise based on logical argumentation, rationals discussion and evidence based claims.

In all cases, this shift that I am seeing is very much a grassroots thing, and the demographics are completely at odds with how the opposition portrays anyone who disagrees with them.  They are not the "old, rich white men of privilege" or "Christian bigots" and so on.  No, I'm seeing this shift happening across the board.  Men and women, rich and poor, of all colours, religions (or lack of them!), cultural backgrounds, even sexuality.

Most of all, however, I am seeing this shift increase among youth.  For all the social experimentation of our public schools, some youth are still managing to be exposed to both sides of issues.

And when they are, they are seeing through the politically correct shadows and lies, recognising truth for what it is, and taking a stand.

Letter To An Atheist

Letter To An Atheist

Maybe you’ve had bad experiences with Christians. I would think it’s quite likely. Join the club. I, and every Christian, has had bad experiences with Christians. I and every Christian is guilty of being part of, of causing a bad experience. We’re human, with all the faults and frailties that come with being so. We call it sin, or having a sinful nature. To say otherwise is to let our ego lie to you and to ourselves. And to God. Make no mistake, those lies have been told. To say otherwise is, again, to lie to you, ourselves and God. If you were to tell me you have not been the cause of someone’s bad experience, I would not believe you. I think it’s fair to believe that our human nature is on equal ground; that is, that we’re both far from perfect. Our imperfections will have similarities, and we also will have our own unique imperfections; the point is we have them nonetheless.

Friday, April 05, 2013

I'm offended ...

... by Islam
Pat Condell

I've found the use of the term "I'm offended" to be one that only certain groups are "allowed" to use, but is denied others.  Those same groups are also "allowed" to offend others, but if their targets object, they are told they are being too sensitive, or simply further attacked.  Because they deserve it, apparently. 

Ah, the hypocrisy of the "tolerant" and "progressives."

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Culture of Life and the Culture of Death: dueling conversations

The Culture of Life and the Culture of Death: dueling conversations | NRL News Today

Thanks to years of research, we now also see how abortion often involves coercion more than “choice,” and can and does result in significant long-term consequences for women, rather than solutions. Thanks to the courageous efforts of Silent No More, Rachel’s Vineyard, and others, we also see and hear through post-abortive women and men how they have suffered mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually from abortion.

Global Warming: Was It Just A Beautiful Dream After All? - Forbes

It occured to me that I hardly ever post about anthropogenic global warming/climate change these days.  To be honest, the AGW/ACC case has fallen apart so badly, I'm surprised when I find anyone who still supports it. 

Global Warming: Was It Just A Beautiful Dream After All? - Forbes

But I’ve grown old waiting for the promised global warming. I was 35 when predictions of a looming ice age were supplanted by warmmongering. Now I’m 68, and there’s still no sign of warmer weather. It’s enough to make one doubt the “settled science” of the government-funded doom-sayers.

Yeah.  That's about it.  

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Woman sues Ohio clinic over failed abortion after delivering healthy 'miracle' baby

Woman sues Ohio clinic over failed abortion after delivering healthy 'miracle' baby

My heart breaks for her child. How is she going to feel as she gets older and begins to understand that her mother tried to kill her?

h/t COTR

A series of videos...

Some worthwile videos from Dr. Frank Turek.




Bracketing Morality — The Marginalization of Moral Argument in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate

Bracketing Morality — The Marginalization of Moral Argument in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate

The brilliance of this book lies in its careful distinction between two rival views of marriage — the conjugal view which defines marriage as “a bodily as well as an emotional and spiritual bond” which sustains the world through the creation and nurture of children, and the revisionist view, which defines marriage as “a loving emotional bond, one distinguished by its intensity, with no reference to a duty beyond its partners. The conjugal view, based in the function of the family and the nurture of children, points to lifelong fidelity. The revisionist view points to a relationship based on emotional intensity in which the partners remain “as long as they find it.”

This argument is vitally important, even essential, to any conversation about marriage in our modern context, for it points far beyond the issue of same-sex marriage to the prior assaults on conjugal marriage brought by no-fault divorce and the replacement of personal responsibility with mere personal autonomy. Sadly, the revisionist view of marriage is embraced by millions of heterosexual couples, married and unmarried, but it is essential to the very idea of same-sex marriage.

The Bible vs. the Heart

The Bible vs. the Heart

The other modern substitute for the Bible is the heart. We live in the Age of Feelings, and an entire generation of Americans has been raised to consult their heart to determine right and wrong.

I've heard too many people justify their positions based on their feelings, to the point that they refuse to even consider logic, reason or evidence.  The irony is that these same people are frequently also atheists, who hold themselves to be morally and ethically superior to people of faith because they claim they are the ones who are rational, logical and reach conclusions based on evidence.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Conservatives and Homosexual Marriage

Conservatives and Homosexual Marriage

“‘Fiscal conservatives’ recoil from this kind of talk like homophobes at a bathhouse: The sooner some judge somewhere takes gay marriage off the table, the sooner the Right can go back to talking about debt and Obamacare without being dismissed as uptight theocratic bigots. But it doesn’t work like that. Most of the social liberalism comes with quite a price tag. The most reliable constituency for Big Government is single women, for whom the state is a girl’s best friend, the sugar daddy whose checks never bounce. A society in which a majority of births are out of wedlock cannot be other than a Big Government welfare society. Ruining a nation’s finances is one thing; debauching its human capital is far harder to fix.”

Same Sex Marriage Is Not the Same As Opposite Sex Marriage

LAW/POLITICS: Same Sex Marriage Is Not the Same As Opposite Sex Marriage

At the core of the two same-sex marriage cases argued this week before the Supreme Court is the fundamental question of whether the Constitution requires the state and federal governments to treat same-sex marriage exactly the same as traditional, opposite-sex marriage for all purposes for all time, or whether it is permissible to draw reasoned distinctions between the two, ranging from California's simple reservation of the term "marriage" to opposite-sex couples to the federal government's comprehensive reservation of all federal benefits of marriage (including joint tax filings, Social Security benefits and immigration status) to opposite-sex couples. I respectfully submit that this should not be a difficult question. Common human experience, basic biology, and existing social science all confirm that there are significant differences between SSM and traditional marriage. Whether or not you support SSM as a political and policy matter, there should be no doubt as a legal matter that the state has the same legitimate right that it has always possessed to draw distinctions between the two in the many, many areas of law that touch on marriage and family life.

h/t Wintery Knight

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Abortion Survey at Jeff Watson MP - Essex

Jeff Watson MP - Essex

There's a survey at the above link right now, asking for positions on abortion. Note that the default selection is for fully taxpayer funded abortions for any reason at any time, so be careful not to accidentally vote for a position you might not agree with.

At the time I'm posting this, the results are:

Which best describes your position:
4283 total votes

I support fully taxpayer-funded abortion, at any time in the pregnancy, for any reason at all;

I support some legal restrictions on access to abortion, for example restricting full access to abortion to the first trimester of pregnancy;

I support abortion for any reason but it shouldn't be taxpayer-funded;

I support creative policy options and supports that help women with unexpected pregnancies keep the baby; or

I support a complete ban on abortion.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

A Response to Why are Feminists So Angry?

or You just don't get it, do you?

Someone I know shared a link to a column on a website I've never heard of before.  Why Are Feminists So Angry is a transcript of the embedded video by Jessica Valenti . 

Here is my response to various points in the piece.

She begins by addressing the contents of a protester's sign; a comment I've seen fairly often, in one variation or another.  It reads "I can not believe I still have to protest this shit.

By "this shit," the protester is apparently shocked that there are still people who have problems with this issue of abortion.  My answer to that would be, "I still cannot believe that, with all the evidence of medical technology, people still pretend that abortion is anything other than the killing of a human being."  It could also be, "I still cannot believe that, after 4 decades, we commit infanticide on a massive scale."  I could come up with quite a few other responses, but I'll leave it at that, for now.

She then goes on to talk about getting an email asking her, "why are feminists so angry?"  She begins with, "It’s not that I’m angry. I’m exhausted. The war on reproductive health and autonomy feels absolutely never-ending."

 Let me explain something to you, Ms. Valenti. 

There is no war on reproductive health and autonomy.

This may be difficult for you and other activists to understand, but that's because you've framed the narrative as being about things like "choice" and "reproductive rights" and other such claptrap.  Let me say this again.

There is no war on reproductive health and autonomy.

There is, however, a war against so-called feminists that are just activists who claim to speak on behalf of all women.  There is a war against the campaign of misinformation, indoctrination and destruction against women.  Yes, Ms. Valenti.  You see, more and more women are recognising that, hidden behind such euphemisms as "choice", thousands of women are having their reproductive health damaged, sometimes permanently.  More and more women are recognising that, when it comes to "pro-choice" activists such as yourself, women are being denied the information they need to give informed consent to an invasive, damaging and dangerous surgical procedure.

How ironic that Ms. Valenti laments that states are trying to implement laws requiring women get "transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions."  Now, I don't know that these proposed laws specify transvaginal ultrasounds, or just ultrasounds in general.  I think activists just as Ms. Valenti just love the idea of waving around (metaphorically or otherwise) a rather large wand to show just how invasive such a procedure is.  I happen to know exactly how invasive such an ultrasound it.  I've had one.  It was done to try and find the cause of the pain that sent me to the emergency room.  In the end, it didn't do that job - the giant cyst that decided to do the twist with my innards was found using external ultrasound. 

In other words, ultrasounds, transvaginal or otherwise, are a normal tool in health care.  When it comes to abortions, ultrasounds are used to guide the abortionist to the fetus, so that when he (or she, but female abortionists seem to be in the minority) inserts the vacuum, he can watch on the screen as he suctions the bits and pieces out.

What self-identifying feminists like Ms. Valenti neglect to mention is that abortion itself is an extremely invasive procedure, and ultrasounds are already used to do them.  What Ms. Valenti and her fellows are objecting to is the patient - the mother - seeing the images.  She wants to prevent women from being informed as to what is actually in their uterus before they expunge it. 

She wants to deny women the information needed to give truly informed consent.

Yet Ms. Valenti and her peers claim it is those who are proposing these laws that are somehow against reproductive health.

Ms. Valenti then says, "I’m exhausted thinking about the fact that I’m still fighting a battle that my mother marched for."

To which I find myself wondering; if Ms. Valenti's mother had access to the information we now have about the grown and development of the human conceptum, would she still have marched for its destruction?

Lucky for Ms. Valenti, her mother didn't take advantage of her "rights" while pregnant with her.

Ms. Valenti goes on to say, "One provision in Arizona allows doctors to withhold medical information from a woman about her pregnancy if they think it might compel her to get an abortion. So if your pregnancy is in danger, if your fetus has an abnormality—a doctor could keep you in the dark and that would be absolutely legal."

How curious that, right ofter claiming her shock that doctors might have to provide women with information gained from an ultrasound, she's how shocked that doctors might withhold information?  One again, Ms. Valenti neglect to inform, herself. 

Just what medical information is there that a doctor might withhold in the belief that, given that information, "it might compel her to get an abortion."  Certainly not information that would actually endanger her life.  Do you know, Ms. Valenti, what sort of information that might be?  I can think of one in particular: gender.  Sex selective abortion is on the rise, with perfectly healthy and normally developing fetuses are aborted because of their gender.  Take a guess which gender is most likely to get aborted?  Why, female ones, it turns out.  There is, in fact, a rising gendercide happening around the world, with increasing numbers in Canada and the US.  How does a self-proclaimed feminist get around the fact that being female is a such a death sentence? 

As for "an abnormality," this is another issue entirely.  Eugenics.  Pro-choice advocates seem to be claiming some sort of moral high ground when they promote aborting fetuses that are "abnormal."  Downs Syndrome babies are the ones at greatest risk, but all developing children who are less than perfect are at risk.  Do "feminists" such as Ms. Valenti truly believe that the disabled are unworthy of life?  How do these pro-choices feel about cases where parents have chosen to abort children over such minor deformities such as club feet or, in one Canadian case involving a late-term abortion (and IVF pregnancy, no less) due to a cleft palate?  Do these feminists truly believe that only perfect babies should be allowed to be born?  Considering the attacks on Sarah Palin for not aborting her son with Downs Syndrome, just as one prominent example, it seems to me that the answer is yes.

What else shocks Ms. Valenti?  How about this.  "I’m shocked that when Ohio tried to pass their anti-choice heartbeat bill that would outlaw abortions as early as six weeks, they had a fetus “testify” by giving pregnant woman an ultrasound in front of the House. The pregnant woman didn’t speak, appropriately enough—only her fetus was allowed to make an appearance."

Yes, heaven forbid we use actual science and medical technology to make such a monumental decision.  How else is a fetus to "testify" as to its humanity?  And in mentioning that the mother didn't speak, does Ms. Valenti think that she was somehow forced to be there, against her will?  Did it not occur to Ms. Valenti that the mother was there precisely because she *wanted* her child to be given that voice activists such as Ms. Valenti would deny it?

Curious that Ms. Valenti frames this bill as being "anti-choice," while apparently wanting to deny the courts the "choice" of using medical technology to make a decision, or the mother the "choice" of allowing her child to "testify" in court.

What else shocks Ms. Valenti?  This.  "I’m shocked that in one county in North Carolina, the county board of commissioners unanimously voted to turn down a state grant that would cover birth control."

Is it really necessary to point out the no one is preventing women from getting birth control?  They voted to not pay for it with a state grant.  There is no reason for the state to be using taxpayer dollars to pay for something that is not medically necessary.  Is it really necessary, for someone who claims to support reproductive health, to point out that hormonal birth control actually harms women's health (not to mention the environment)?   Hormonal birth control takes a healthy, fertile body and chemically induces infertility.  That is the opposite of health care.  If a women still wants to do it, she can pay for it herself, or she can avail herself of the many places out there that will provide it for free.  For someone who claims to be all about "choice," Ms. Valenti would have choice taken away from taxpayers, many of whom would rather not have to pay for someone else's birth control.  It seems that self-proclaims feminists want to have choices, but want others to be responsible for the costs or consequences.

Ms. Valenti is not just shocked.  She's also sad.  "Sad knowing that the people these laws will affect the most are the ones that need care the most—they’re the most marginalized among us: young people, women of color, low-income women, those that can’t afford to travel across the state or to take days off of work to access care."

No, Ms. Valenti.  They are not being denied access to care. Access to abortion or birth control is not synonymous with medical care. This may come as a surprise to you, but there are a great many clinics out there that will provide women with crisis pregnancies in the US with medical care for free.  They continue to help women who need it after their babies are born, too.  And no, these are not "fake" clinics that "lure" women, as their opponents so shrilly claim.

What else saddens Ms. Valenti? "I’m sad that women’s health and lives have become secondary to their ability to conceive."

Here, Ms. Valenti is once again framing the narrative in a dishonest way.  No, their health and lives are NOT secondary to their ability to conceive.  Pregnancy is not a disease, and our ability to conceive is not a burden.  Self-proclaimed feminists would have women believe that becoming pregnant is the worst thing that can happen to them; that it's a life-destroying event, and that having a child when they're not "ready" is a tragedy.

This particular view is actually quite offensive and degrading.  It basically says that women are physically weak and fragile, and psychologically incapable of raising a child until some magical line is crossed and they are suddenly "ready" to have a child.  It's demeaning and infantilizing.

Ms. Valenti then goes off with some extreme examples and bombastic claims, as if they were at all the norm, making it seem as if the only reason women get abortions at all is for medical need, when the reality is the opposite.  She's sad, she's angry, she's furious. 

The then asks her email writer, "—the real question is not why am I angry; the real question is, why aren’t you?"  Then, after defending the abortion mill, Planned Parenthood, she has the gall to say, "It’s about affirming our basic humanity."

Because, Ms. Valenti, we don't agree with you.  We think you and your fellow "feminists" are the ones who don't get it.  You claim that you do what you do out of love and compassion.  We don't believe you. 

The problem, Ms. Valenti, is that you are denying someone else their basic humanity.  You are denying someone else their body autonomy.  You are denying a developing child it's very life.  The word fetus is not a word used to describe a tumor or a clump of cells.  It's not a word that describes some part of a woman's body.  It's a word the describes a developmental stage of a human being. 

Planned Parenthood, in particular, is not the bastion of kindness and compassion you paint it out to be.  It is an unethical organisation that is responsible for incredible harm to women.  They claim to be about women's health, but are nothing more than an abortion mill

Ms. Valenti, you express your exhaustion, shock, sadness and anger that you and other self-proclaimed feminists are still fighting the battle you thought you'd won 40 years ago with Roe vs Wade.  Would it surprise you to know that Roe vs Wade was based on a lie?  That "Roe", Norma McCorvey, was coerced into lying that she was raped?  That she never had an abortion and is now fighting to have the ruling that bears her name overturned?

Ms. Valenti, your cause is based on lie upon lie; that this issue is about "choice."  That it's about "reproductive health."  That it's about "women's rights."

What you and other "feminists" don't seem to get is that people are starting to learn the truth.  They are beginning to realize that the fetus is not irrelevant.  That a woman's "private choice" has very public consequences.  That there is another person involved; a person who has been denied their very humanity in the name of "choice."

Modern medical technology has made it impossible to deny that a human fetus is an individual, separate yet dependant upon its mother.  It is a living being with its own brain waves and its own heart beating its own blood through its own veins.  It reacts to stimuli.  It feels pain. 

Where is your love and compassion, Ms. Valenti, for that other human that's involved when it comes to "choice"? 

At the beginning, you talk about how you can't believe you're still fighting this battle after all these years.

What you're not getting is that you are fighting a battle that's built on illusion.  To frame the battle as being about "reproductive health" and so on is your deception.  The curtain is being pulled back and the truth is being revealed.  The truth of millions of lives, with all their potential, snuffed out.  The truth of millions of women irrevocably harmed by the lie of "choice." 

To be honest, I don't expect you and your type of "feminist" to get it.  You have too much invested in your illusion.  Part of that illusion is that your "side" is the one that's got the best interests of women at heart; that your position is the one that's compassionate and loving, even as it destroys the lives of thousands upon thousands of women. 

Meanwhile, more and more people are getting it.  They are recognising that the real war against women is the one that demeans their intelligence, denies them information, lies to them about the consequences of "choice" and tears into their bodies, their minds and their souls. 

The real war against women is the one you are waging.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

So what's the accomplishment?

 I've seen the video at the following link shared by a lot of people on facebook.  Take a moment to watch it at the Do You Even site, then pop back here.

Heart Touching Inspirational Transformation

 Pretty awesome, right?



Okay.  Let's look at this story for a moment.  Here we have a Gulf War veteran; a former paratrooper with injuries to his back and knees, no longer able to walk unassisted.  He started doing yoga, regains his mobility, and now he can not only walk, but run, again.  That's pretty friggin' amazing!

Oh, wait.  That's not the story we actually got.  Not really.  What we really got was ZOMG!!!1! he got SO FAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and he can't walk anymore.  His stomach was OUT TO HERE!!!!  But he LOST 140lbs in a year and LOOK AT HIM NOW!  He's skinny again!  What an amazing transformation!

(oh, and btw, he can walk and run now)

I realize this is a year's worth of clips put together and necessarily edited, but whoever put the video together had the choice of what to focus on.  There was an incredible story to share.  To go from having to wear back and knees braces, and having to walk with two canes, if walking was possible at all, to being able to throw those away and regain full mobility, thanks to a year of doing yoga, is pretty darn mind boggling.  Only a year!  That's just all kinds of amazing!

So why the focus on his weight?  It's almost as the weight itself was what caused his mobility problem and, thanks to the magic of weight loss, suddenly he's cured!  Even the brief clip of the yoga instructor was curious.  He describes seeing the back brace, the knee braces, the canes, but OH WOW!  He weighed 297 lbs and had a big belly!!!  I have to help this guy!

Wait.  What?

Even when the video does mention the "most important thing", just before showing him walking, then running, towards the camera, it comes across as a side note.  Just a minor benefit of what he REALLY managed to accomplish, which was to get skinny.

Look.  I can completely understand the challenges this man faced.  My own husband has been struggling with a back injury for many years.  (He's due to see a spine specialist in just a few days, where he will be assessed for surgery.)  Among the old injuries that have come back to haunt him are a knee injury in one leg and an ankle injury in the other.  He's in massive amounts of pain, controlled only so far through painkillers and muscle relaxants.  Last year, he actually had fewer days that he made it into the office then the sick days and holiday time he took because he was in too much pain to come in (though some of those days, he was still able to work from home).  Thankfully, he's good at his job and still managed to keep up with his work, and beyond, and his current employers are pretty amazing about accommodating his health problems.
And yes, he's gained a lot of weight as well.

Also, he does yoga and/or Tai Chi. Pain prevents him from doing it all the time, but he does try to keep it up as he definitely notices that it helps.  We also got him an exercise machine that he can use without further injuring his back or knees, plus we got him some free weights.  We recently picked up a home gym (small, cheap, but adequate for the job), so more weights have been added to the mix.

It helps.

Most of the time.

Other times, things go south, and he's near immobile for days.  Either his knee gives out or the pain in his back gets out of control.  Sadly, weather plays a big part in this, with sudden temperature changes making things incredibly painful for him.  Temperature changes such as the last few weeks, where we've gone from -44C for weeks to the +3C we're having now.  Such temperature extremes are the norm for winters where we live, and it wreaks havoc on his body.

But he keeps on going.

We know he's a good candidate for a surgical fix on part of his back problems - a herniated disc - and we're hoping the spine clinic will be able to give him more tools to deal with the other issues that are contributing to his pain.

Thankfully, no one has given up on my husband, nor has he given up on himself.

And thankfully, while his weight is brought up as a contributing issue, so far no one has tried to tell him that if he just lost weight, all his problems would go away.  Pretty much everyone has been on top of the fact that the weight he gained has been a consequence of his pain and immobility, not a cause. 

I'm really impressed with what the guy in the video accomplished.  To regain quality of life so dramatically is incredible!

Yet I can't help but shaking my head over the video.  Instead of focusing on the astounding results he got in regaining mobility in just one year by doing yoga, it focuses on how much weight he lost, how quickly he lost it, and how thin he got.

Gaining weight was a side effect of his loss of mobility.  Losing weight was another side effect of his regaining his mobility.

Here's a man whose injuries completely destroyed his quality of life.  Through yoga, he was able to recover that quality of life.

That's an amazing story!

So why did they make something that looked like a weight loss ad?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

So you think Homosexuality is a sin...

So here's my first post of the New Year.  I had hoped for something a little more cheerful and uplifting, but other stuff beat me to it.  Still, I'd like to say first that I hope everyone visiting had a wonderful Christmas season (which isn't over for us until the 6th), that your New Year's celebrations were safe and happy, and that 2013 is a year of peace, health and prosperity.

For those of you in the US, I hope you somehow manage to survive what your president is doing to your country.  You have my hopes and prayers.

And now, off to controversial things!!

Recently, someone on my facebook friends list (someone I know through a group, so not a close friend) posted a graphic that I've seen a few times.  I find that, as the years go by, I have far less tolerance for stupidity, so I responded.  I would have posted the entire conversation as a screen cap, but it was disappeared before I could respond to the final comment.  I have my facebook set to email responses to me, so I have her comments, but my own were no longer accessible, so I will have to fill in as best as I can remember.

First, the graphic.

 Now, there are so many things wrong with this, it's mind boggling, but it's a popular one I've seen a few times.  Usually, it's shared as part of a group or something, with so many responses, I don't bother commenting because it would just be like spitting in the wind.  However, when I saw it again shared by this person (whom I've had conversations with on the topic of SSM in the past), I just rolled my eyes and left a comment.  To the best of my memory (and that of Eldest, who is my handy editor), I wrote:

"Wow.  There are so many misinterpretations/revisionisms of the Bible here, it's embarrassing."

I also made a comment about how this was a typical way of attacking the "enemy."

Being in a facebook comment, I didn't bother trying to tackle individual points, though I was willing to, if challenged.

To which she responded.

 Now, when I post something contentious on my newsfeed, I know that there are people who might disagree with me.  I know I am opening myself up to be challenged.  If I'm not up to that, I don't post it.  Full stop.  The idea that people post contentious things, expecting only to have people agree with them, then getting upset when someone doesn't, always startles me.  If you're not willing to defend what you've said or shared, why post at all?

So I responded (again, as best as I can remember):

"But you're still willing to post it.
Wait.  Are you actually justifying sharing something that misrepresents two major faiths and millions of people (not everyone who disagrees does so for religious reasons) because those faiths have already been misrepresented in the last 2000+ years (6000+, since it also references the Talmud), and that makes it okay?  Sharing something that insults such a large portion of the world's population should not be taken lightly, even on facebook. :-/"

Well, I guess she didn't appreciate that, because I soon got...

Obviously, she had some technical difficulties at the end, there.

I actually found this response hilarious.  She's accusing *me* of being judgemental, after sharing a graphic like this?  It is, however, a very typical response.  Rather then address the issue (misrepresentation of what the Bible actually says), she excused it ("...a little humorous"), justified it ("anything that gets people thinking..."), upped the emotionalism to attack ("...get off their judgemental asses..." etc.) and basically told me that, if I disagree, I should just shut up ("You don't have to read my post...").

I made a fairly long response after this.  I wish I could remember it better.  I pointed out that it was laughable for her to post something that is so judgemental and insulting of anyone who holds a differing point of view, takes all who disagree and shoves them under one umbrella, regardless of their actual reasons for disagreeing, then turns around and accuses the victims of said judgemental attitude of being judgemental.  I also wrote that 'I have long noticed that the most intolerant people are those who scream the most for tolerance.  This graphic is just another example of that.'  I'm paraphrasing as best I can here.  Somewhere in there, I also commented that it's possible to accept people for who they are, without agreeing to redefine our core institutions.

Her response?  Sadly, also very typical.

Yup.  She just leapt to equating disagreeing with her with being a racist.  Disagreeing with her means I'm delusional - though how that's supposed to make me feel better about anything, I have no idea.  Then, she projected all sorts of things onto me that had nothing at all to do with my original objections to the graphic.

As I said, typical.  Rather then address the actual objection, demonize the person objecting.

I had started to respond with a comment along the lines of how amazingly judgemental and intolerant her assumptions were, but I suddenly had to leave the computer.  Eldest asked if she could respond, as we had been discussing this together.  As she was writing, another comment appeared... this one.

So my daughter responded to both at once.  When I came back, I read over what she'd written, agreed with it.  She was kind enough to reproduce her response here.

 "It seems to me like you are very passionate and not particularly well studied on the subject at hand. If the beliefs you oppose are so horrible, what need is there to lie (or at the very least post a deliberately dishonest graphic) about them? The idea that the sinfulness of homosexuality is based on one line out of one book next to the virulent anti-shellfish rhetoric is just as silly as the idea that Christianity not accepting homosexual behavior means we want to relegate all the scary gay people into closets."

She never received this response.  When I hit post, it failed.  Yup, in the time it took to write the above, she unfriended me and, from what I could tell, removed the entire thread from her timeline.

Again, very typical.  I can't say I'm going to miss having her on my friends list, but I suspect it will make getting conversations in this group we're both a part of rather interesting.

While this is quoted from one person, her responses and reactions are so common, she could be any of a number of people I've seen try to justify their support for SSM.  They do it by first misrepresenting the "enemy".  For those who claim to be Christian, as this person does, they do it by redefining God (sorry, hun, but God specifically tells us to stand up against sin and, yes, be judgemental.  More on that later).  From past conversations, I know she holds to the version of God as a God of sunshine and butterflies that's really popular right now.

So let's deal with what this graphic is actually saying, point by point, without - hopefully - running on for too long.

The problems start right at the very top, with the double question.

"So you still think homosexuality is sinful?  And therefore gays shouldn't be allowed to marry?"

This is two different issues forced into one.  First, there's the sin part, with the word "still" in there.  Because apparently, that's not something anyone is supposed to believe anymore.  Then there's the use of the word homosexuality.

Let's be very clear about this.  When SSM supporters talk about homosexuality, they are not talking about the same thing as those who say homosexuality is a sin.   In the first part, they are talking about an identity.  In the second, they are talking about a behaviour.  This gets confusing, because people rarely add the word "behaviour" in there when talking about the sin of homosexuality.  This makes it easy for their detractors to turn around and say they "hate gays" - namely, people with same sex attractions, rather then people who engage in a specific sexual behaviour. (more on this later)

Then there's the second part - that thinking homosexual behaviour is a sin is the sole reason anyone objects to SSM.  In truth, people disagree with SSM for all sorts of reasons.  There are atheists, agnostics and gays who disagree with SSM, while there are religious people who believe homosexual behaviour is a sin, but do not think the state should prevent SSM.  There is no black and white, here.

Let's see if I can draw a parallel here.  Lying is a sin.  People who lie are called liars.  We do not define people who lie by their lies, unless their behaviour becomes excessive.  There are consequences to behaviour.  It is not against the law to lie EXCEPT in cases where lying has far ranging effects.  It is illegal to lie under oath in a court of law.  Such lying can land you in jail.  Similarly, homosexual behaviour is a sin.  It does not become a matter of law until people try to change those laws to validate their behaviour, and force the rest of society to condone said behaviour.  This is not a matter of equality.  The laws defining marriage applied to everyone equally.  One man, one woman, legally adult, not close blood relations.  This did not stop people from having relationships with each other.  This did not stop people from having sex with each other.  This did not stop people from loving each other.  The state recognised marriage as different for a purpose.

So the question itself is a problem.  The graphic then gives two choices; yes or no.  If you say no, you get a lovely "congratulations on being part of civilized society."

Here is the most in-your-face judgementalism of the graphic.  Either you agree with whoever made this, or you're not part of civilized society.  This sort of ad hominem attack is really common (right up there with equating people who disagree with racists).

If you say yes, it asks why, then sends you through the flow chart.

The first one is "because Jesus said so!" (complete with exclamation point!!!).  The graphic then claims:

"Not true.  Jesus never uttered a word about same-sex relationships."
 Of course he didn't.  He didn't have to.  What he did way was things like "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'  and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?  So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (Matthew 19:4-6) 

Jesus very clearly specified what marriage was.  He didn't need to spell out anything about "same-sex relationships."  That was already understood.

Which leads to another problem with the answer.  It says "same-sex relationships."  We're not actually talking about relationships between people of the same sex.  We are talking about a specific, sexually defined relationship that is recognised by state, society, religion and God as uniquely different from any other relationship. 

As for homosexual relationships, that is a modern invention that did not exist as a separate, labelled category, based on attraction rather than behaviour, until about 150 years ago.  People who say Jesus never said anything against homosexuals are being dishonest and misleading.  Yes, people engaged in what we now call homosexual acts, but until relatively recently, these acts were part of a long list of sexual acts that scriptures said were sinful, such as incest, adultery, fornication and bestiality.  The only non-sinful sexual behaviour was between a married couple with each other.

Let's move on to the next "why" response.  "Because the Old Testament said so!"

The graphic answers:

"The O.T. also says it's sinful to eat shell-fish, to wear clothes woven with different fabrics, and to eat pork."

It then asks:

"Should we still live by the O.T. laws?"

This part demonstrates common ignorance of what Leviticus actually says, and is quite misleading.  That's not even the beginning of what's wrong with it.

First, it avoids the "why" by distractions.  Rather then address whether or not that's what the OT actually says, it throws up other restrictions of what it defines as sinful behaviour, out of context, then says, "see!  If you do any of these, then you're a hypocrite, picking and choosing what sins are acceptable."  Assuming they are actually right about this, how that makes the sin of homosexual behaviour any *less* of a sin because people sin in other ways is illogical, but it scores emotional points, and people fall for it.  Mostly because they don't know what that part if the OT actually teaches.

First of all, the book of Leviticus was a book of laws for the Levites.  They were basically the Rabbis and teachers of Israel, and had specific duties to fulfill.  Some of these restrictions, such as wearing cloth of mixed fibres, were purely ceremonial.  A number of these sins had no punishment for disobedience at all.  They were largely a way for Jews to remain separate from the pagans that surrounded them   Laws regarding diets and sanitation applied only to Jews - if you weren't Jewish, they didn't apply to you.  They did, however, lead to Jews having life spans that were triple their gentile neighbours.

The laws put down in Leviticus covered three categories: moral, civil and ceremonial.  What the response in the graphic does is equal civil and ceremonial sins with moral ones.  This is dishonest and misleading.

For Christians, Jesus fulfilled the prophecies, thereby some of these laws no longer applied, such as the dietary laws, which he specifically mentioned.  However, Jesus also said "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (Matt. 5:17)  So if you're a Jew, all the OT laws still apply (choosing to obey them is something else).  For a Christian, all the laws apply except those where Jesus specifically said otherwise, such as when he responded to criticisms that some of his disciples were eating without having gone through the ceremonial washing by saying "There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man." (Mark 7:15)

With all this, the graphic is being completely dishonest, rendering its question "should we still live by OT laws?" irrelevant.

On to the next "why" response: "Because the New Testament so!"

Their response is"

"The original language of the NT actually refers to male prostitution, molestation or promiscuity, not committed same-sex relationships.  Paul may have spoken against homosexuality, but he also said that women should be silent and never assume authority over a man."

Then they ask (as if they satisfactorily responded to the objection in the first place) with:

"Shall modern-day churches live by all of Paul's values?"
Here, they've done the same thing as before, except with the added appeal to authority by saying "the original language," as if they've actually studied this.  Yes, the NT refers to male prostitution, etc., but to leap from that to saying there are NO objections to "committed same-sex relationships" is dishonest.  The NT is clear that marriage is between a man and a women, so there is no need to specify against anything else.  It then goes on to attack Paul (again, out of context, as it was referring to the structure of leadership within the fledgling church - Christianity actually played a huge part in elevating the status of women and children as being equal to men, since it taught that all humans were of equal value in the eyes of God), as if his writings about women has anything to do with SSM.  Also, it should be pointed out that Paul was not a prophet.  He was a theologian.  This renders the final question purely rhetorical and irrelevant.

Now, in the flowchart, if you still answered "yes" to the above statements, it takes you to final response:

"Have fun living your sexist, chauvinistic, judgemental, xenophobic lifestyle choice.  The rest of culture will advance forward without you."
See?  If you disagree with the maker of this graphic (and anyone who agrees enough to share it), which is full of false claims and misrepresentations, you are sexist, chauvinistic, judgemental and xenophobic!  How tolerant!  How non-judgemental!  How open minded and loving!

Yeah.  Right.

So what's next?  Ah, lovely.  "Because God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!"

That's a handy little catchphrase that I really wish people wouldn't use, but it does make the point that God created us, male and female, as partners, with the admonition to go forth and multiply.  Obviously, SS couples can't do that.

If this catchphrase is silly, their response, however, is even sillier.

"That was when the earth wasn't populated.  There are now 6.70 billion people.  Breeding clearly isn't an issue any more!"



So here we come to a place within gay activism that many people try to pretend isn't there.  This is the place where heterosexuals are derided as "breeders."   It also reflects an increasingly common anti-human attitude that sees us as a virus; a plague on Mother Earth that needs to be cut back and controlled is Gaia is to survive.

I notice something else about it that's amusing.  The response tacitly agrees with Genesis creation of two humans, from whom we are all descended.

Either way, this statement saying that, because there are already so many people, breeding isn't an issue anymore, is irrelevant to the issue at hand, which is whether or not homosexual behaviour is a sin (according to the Bible, at least; they don't touch non-Biblical religions that also object to homosexual behaviour at all).  Their response is another distraction and irrelevant.

What's next?  "Because the Bible clearly defines marriage as one-man-one-woman!"

Their response:

"Wrong.  The Bible also defines marriage as one-man-many-women, one man many wives and concubines, a rapist & his victim and conquering soldier & female prisoner of war."

Okay.  Let's point something out here.  The Bible isn't just a book about Things We Ought to Do.  It's also a record of when God's chosen people messed up.  Horribly.  It records people doing nasty, nasty things to each other.  It also relates specific instances where people were commanded to do certain things.  Those commands were not things to be applied generally, to all and future generations, but to those specific instances.

One of the things that defined whether or not a couple were married was consummation of that marriage.  It was the sex act itself, not any ceremony of priestly blessing, that decided if a man and woman were married.  The roles of men and women were defined.  Part of that was the responsibility of men to provide for and protect their wives.  Let's take the rape victim for an example.  In the ancient world, technically, the sex act meant they were married, voluntary or not.  Meanwhile, the victim would be less valued and have difficulty finding a husband to provide for her in the proper way.  She would be damaged goods.  Sadly, this attitude is still with us today.  The victim suffers for the rest of her life, while the man gets to go on his merry way.

Most people see this demand of men to marry their rape victims as some sort of punishment for the woman, and a boon to the man.  What they're missing is that this is actually a punishment for the man, while ensuring his victim is provided for for the rest of her life.  The man, forced to marry his victim, is the acknowledged perpetrator of a great crime.  He will be required to provide for his victim for the rest of his life.  It's hardly an ideal situation for either of them, but at least the victim will not suffer the cultural consequences of the man's crime.  Meanwhile, couples are admonished to love each other - this is a behaviour, not an emotion. 

Likewise, with prisoners of war, the men would have been killed.  That left the women without providers and protectors.  Again, not an ideal situation, but better then slow death by starvation, animal attacks or attacks from other humans.

The ancient world was a brutal, bloody place. 

This is a good time to remind everyone that the purpose of marriage has never had anything to do with being in love or acknowledging loving relationships. 

The point, however, is that the Bible does indeed define marriage as between one man and one woman.  It's also a record of people who were constantly disobeying God.  I mean seriously; we're talking about a world where God had to explicitly and repeatedly tell His People to not have sex with animals, stop sacrificing their children to Molech and oh... Ladies?  When you're on your cycle, it's really a good idea not to bleed all over the place.

The Bible defines marriage very clearly.  That people didn't obey doesn't change that definition.  If we are going to examine the Bible and what it says, we have to look at it through the time period and context it deals with, not project our modern sensibilities and interpretations onto it.

And now, finally, we reach the final "why" response.  "Because it just disgusts me, dangit!"

Throwing in that "dangit" was a nice, not-at-all-trying-to-influence-the-reader addition.

Their response?

"Props for being honest.  However, a whole population of people shouldn't have their families discriminated against just because you think gay sex is icky.  Grow up!"

First, that "whole population" is a tiny minority, and those who support SSM are an minority within a minority.  Did you know that, early in the gay rights movement (back when they fought against real discrimination, like being fired from their jobs for being gay, or being violently attacked, etc), when people suggested that someday they would be demanding gay marriage, early activists scoffed at the notion?  These early activists didn't want SSM.  Some because they acknowledged the role of marriage in society and agreed that it was a heterosexual institution.  Others because, being a heterosexual institution that was increasingly being attacked on all sides (such as from militant feminism), they wanted nothing to do with it.  Marriage, they claimed, should be left to the breeders.

Oh, how things have changed!

Where else does this statement go wrong?  By saying this minority "shouldn't have their family discriminated against..."

Excuse me, but if the requirements of marriage apply to all people, equally, how are homosexuals - and their families - being discriminated against in any way that's different from, say, siblings who want to marry?  Or underage children?  Marriage is an institution that has qualifications.

This is where the attempt to equate objections to SSM and racism falls apart.  The definition of marriage is based on gender and blood relation (or lack of it), not race or ethnicity.  Race is irrelevant to the basic purpose and role of marriage within society, therefore, laws that restricted marriage based on race were, obviously, racist and rightfully overturned.  SSM, however, runs counter to the basic purpose of marriage.  Its existence in those places that have legalized SSM has caused mind boggling new problems that no one ever expected, ranging from rendering biological parenthood extremely complicated (recent court cases include 3-parent laws in the making, and a sperm donor being forced by the courts to provide child support, even though the lesbian couple involved have never asked for it and are fighting in his defence against it) to rendering marriage and parenthood itself, and by extension, all married couples and parents, married or otherwise, genderless (we are no longer legally husband or wife, but spouse 1 and spouse 2; we are no longer mother or father, but parent 1, 2, 3 or 4).  The problems with legalizing SSM are just beginning to show, and it may take a full generation or two before the damage is fully realized.

Which brings me to a final point about this graphic.  In its attack on defining homosexuality as a sin (without differentiating between identify and behaviour), it never fully answers the second part of its double question, which deals with "allowing" SSM.  What the maker of this graphic is skirting around is that it's not just a simple matter of "allowing" SSM or not.  It does nothing to explain why we should legally redefine marriage to validate the SS relationships.  It does nothing to explain why believing homosexual behaviour is a sin has anything to do why we should or shouldn't "allow" SSM at all.

This graphic attacks those with opposing opinions, first by misrepresenting the objections, then through responses of misrepresentation, mockery and judgemental insults.

Now, tell me again; which side of the debate is being judgemental and intolerant?

Oh, wait... in order for there to be a debate, both sides have to be willing to put forward arguments and rebuttals.

Never mind.