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News

Feminists vs. transgenders? Why the Left is turning on itself.

In Judges 7 Israel is faced with a fearsome foe, and God decides to use that foe's strength against it. Gideon and his 300 get to watch as "the Lord set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army." Might God have something similar in mind for today's liberal Left? Consider the case of Gabrielle Bouchard. This past December, Bouchard made news, and drew the ire of a small number of vocal feminists, when he became head of Québec’s largest feminist group. Bouchard is a man who identifies as a woman, and the group he now heads, the Fédération des Femmes du Québec (FFQ) has the typical feminist stands: abortion is good, capitalism is exploitive, the patriarchy is evil. It's on this last point – men running too much of the world - that the FFQ is getting attacked. Diane Guilbault, the head of a rival feminist group, told the National Post that she doesn't appreciate a man being in charge of a feminist group because:

 “the experience of a woman who is born a woman is completely different from the experience of a man who decides one day to present himself as a woman.”

While the protest against Bouchard has been limited, it has garnered some favorable coverage from a mainstream press that isn’t sure which side they should pick when one leftwing group takes on another. A month earlier a similar sort of conflict occurred south of the border. An American white man, Ja Du, publicly identified as a Filipina woman and the mainstream press didn’t know how to handle that either. The liberal Huffington Post decided to accept he was a woman, but wasn’t yet ready to do the same for his transracial claims. Their headline read:

“Filipinos aren’t happy with this white woman claiming to be a Filipina.”

Their hesitancy is puzzling: once you grant a man can become a woman, what logic prevents us from acknowledging a white man can become an Asian woman? Why is that a bigger leap? Of course we knew it wasn't going to be long before "transracialism" was going to be embraced too, and this past week the National Post's Barbara Kay reported that the State of Delaware is going to allow students to self-identify not only their gender, but their race too. But the more the Left embraces this craziness, the sooner the infighting is going to get serious. The conflicts we see here – one feminist group vs. the transgender head of another, and the liberal media picking transgenders over transracials – might not seem to matter. But the problems these groups have with one another are only going to grow. Why? Because at their core, feminist, transgender, and transracial views contradict. And it's only a matter of time before these unnatural allies turn on one another. Are the differences real or not? The divide between feminists and transgenders comes down to how each answers this question: are the differences between the sexes real? The typical feminist is going to answer with a "no." They'll acknowledge reproductive differences only because those are impossible to overlook. But when asked why there are far fewer female CEOs, or why the overall average wage for women is lower than that for men, the standard feminist line attributes the difference to discrimination. It is most certainly not a result of men and women having different interests, or different strengths and capabilities – after all, anything a man can do a woman can do too! To put it another way, the predominant feminist take is that the differences between men and women are only outward and insignificant - we look different, but we aren't actually different. Meanwhile when a man like Gabrielle Bouchard claims that, despite how he looks, he feels like a woman then he is, unavoidably, attacking the feminist position. After all, he's implying that there is something, outside of the outward appearance, that makes a woman different than a man. In making his claim to be the other gender, Bouchard is acknowledging that there are differences between the genders that are both real and significant. What exactly those differences are, isn't generally discussed. That's where Christians need to press the issue and ask: what does it mean to feel like a woman? What does that feeling involve? Imagine if a man said he knew he was actually a woman because he felt more sensitive and emotional, liked dresses and the color pink, and felt so very nurturing. What would feminists think of that? It doesn't really matter what differences a transgender might point to, feminists are going to either deny the differences are real, or that they are important. So we can see the rupture already starting. We can tear it wide open if we press that question: what exactly does being female or male mean? Are the groups fixed or not? When it comes to transracialism, it might seem surprising that even a liberal-leaning publication like the Huffington Post is slow to embrace the idea. Why would any on the Left have a problem with accepting that a person can swap ethnic identities? Maybe it's because, on some level, the Left understands that transracialism (along with transgenderism) undermines identity politics: minority groups pressing for preferential treatment to compensate for past wrongs (real or supposed) done to their group. After all, what happens to identity politics when it becomes possible to switch groups? What happens to demands for preferential treatment when a white man can be acknowledged as black and female? What happens to hiring quotas when an applicant can choose to identify as whatever combination of special identities a company is looking to check off? It becomes hard to pit one group against another when the lines between them are being erased. The tipping point Christians might be discouraged at just how fast our culture is embracing ideas that, only a few short years ago, would have been dismissed as crazy by just about everyone. But there is a bright side to the speed at which the Left is adopting one incoherent idea after another: the more craziness they stack on their shaky foundation, the sooner the whole mess is going to tip over. We can hasten that tipping point by asking questions that highlight that incoherence, like: Are the differences between the genders real and significant? What does it mean to feel like a woman, or feel like a man? What does it mean to be of a different race? And if I can be a different race, can I be a different age? Or a different height? How about a different weight? Or socio-economic status? Why, or why not? We can also point our culture to the one worldview that's built on a firm foundation. We can begin by teaching them that God made us male and female, and that can't be changed (though our feelings about our gender can be). We can share that gender-based differences do exist and they are significant, but they aren't scary, and don't have to be ignored or diminished. We can explain that acknowledging men are physically stronger than women isn't an attack on women's worth, because our worth doesn't come from our muscle size, or any other ability. We can point out that there is only one way in which we are all equal, and so, only one basis for any claim to equality: we are all made in God's image. We can clarify that while there are all sorts of ethnicities and cultures, there is just one race – the human race – and the denial of that truth has led to untold discrimination and persecution. And we can explain that the reason this all makes sense in a way that their secular worldview just doesn't, is because it is God's truth, and it is trustworthy because He is.

Ryan T. Anderson has a similar, longer take, titled "Transgender ideology is riddled with contradictions. Here are the big ones." available here.

News

The Mike Pence rule won’t save us…but can it help us?

In the spring of 2017 the Washington Post got mainstream media pundits chortling, when they revealed that US Vice President Mike Pence had a rule that he wouldn’t dine alone with any woman other than his wife. The media hated this “Mike Pence rule” mocking it as some combination of childish and prudish. It was said to be sexist, suppressing advancement opportunities for women since they wouldn’t be able to get the same alone time with the boss as the boys. A half year later the New Yorker ran an exposé on Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, accusing him of sexually harassing or assaulting 13 women. The publication of these accusations prompted dozens of other women to come forward with further accusations. This spawned a “#MeToo movement” with more and more women coming forward, alleging abuse at the hands of powerful men of all sorts, including US senator Al Franken, Today host Matt Lauer, storyteller Garrison Keillor, US senate candidate Roy Moore, actor Dustin Hoffman, and, just this week, the now former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, Patrick Brown. And while most of the accused admitted to at least some sort of misconduct, others, like Brown, claim to be completely innocent. So in light of the #MeToo movement, and the enormous abuse of power it exposed among influential men of all sorts, is it time to revisit the Pence rule? Some say no, Christians among them. A month after the Weinstein allegations came out, Katelyn Beaty, an editor at Christianity Today wrote “A Christian case against the Pence Rule” for the New York Times. In it she gave this less than flattering assessment of the rule: “The Pence rule arises from a broken view of the sexes: Men are lustful beasts that must be contained, while women are objects of desire that must be hidden away. Offering the Pence rule as a solution to male predation is like saying, ‘I can’t meet with you one on one, otherwise I might eventually assault you.’ If that’s the case, we have far deeper problems around men and power than any personal conduct rule can solve.” This is quite the condemnation! And yet Beaty granted that the Pence rule – also known as the Billy Graham rule, as he adopted it long before the Vice President – has saved Pence from ever facing the same allegations that were leveled at Roy Moore, Patrick Brown and others. Beaty also grants that the “Bible says a lot about humans’ proclivity to sin.” In fact, she makes a good case for the rule before she then presents her case against: the Pence rule can be frustrating to women who know that alone time with the boss, and “the informal and strategic conversations” that can occur in that setting are “the stuff of workplace advancement.” There’s something to what she says – the Pence rule may make it harder for women to advance in some workplace settings…though a smart boss will be sure to create such opportunities other ways for valued female employees. But even if we grant the rule can cause such hindrances, so long as we live in an imperfect world, we need to acknowledge there are no perfect solutions, only tradeoffs. So then the issue is not, is the Mike Pence rule perfect? It is not. Instead we should ask, does it help more than it hinders, and is it better than the available alternatives? And in answer to that, consider: A large numbers of men have been accused of, and many have then admitted to, victimizing women. The harassment or assault often occurring when they got a woman alone. Other men have been accused of assault or harassment and deny it by women they spent time alone with. One man has a system by which he not only would never commit sexual sin, but could never even be accused of it. That man is mocked as a prude, Pharisee, fool, misogynist, etc. The Pence rule does more than shield women from male predation, so, no, it doesn't presume every man is a "lustful beast." It acknowledges that sexual temptation is real, and the workplace environment involves long hours of time spent together. This rule, then, also helps both men and women avoid workplace temptation. And it serves as an assurance to their spouses. Finally, it helps protect men from false accusations. There are downsides to this rule, but it also has quite the upside. It's important to note that, while there is a biblical basis to the Pence/Graham rule – it acknowledges the fallen nature of men and women and the powerful pull of sexual temptation – we aren’t going to find the rule itself in Scripture. That’s why we mustn’t treat it as something sacred or something every Christian business owner must be implementing. Maybe they have their own ways to combat sexual harassment, minimize temptation, and protect against false accusations. But there is a reason that Mike Pence and Billy Graham have never been tainted by sexual scandal, even as so many others in their positions have – there is wisdom to be found here. That said, we shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking this rule is going to save us. As Reformed blogger Tim Challies writes: Rules have their place, but they must never be separated from a prayerful determination to put sin to death. Picture is modified from file by Laurel L. Russwurm. It is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license....

News

Best pro-life signs at the US March for Life

This year's US March for Life took place on January 19 and marked the 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision, which struck down many of the country's restrictions on abortion. Canada also has a March for Life, but it takes place four months later, always on or around May 14, to mark the anniversary of Pierre Trudeau’s 1969 Omnibus bill, which first legalized abortion in Canada. Both are attended by tens of thousands. That means there are thousands of creative pro-life minds thinking through how best to communicate the truth about the unborn on thousands of signs, banners and t-shirts. And because the American event is months earlier, Canadians can be inspired by what we see south of the border! What follows is a dozen of the best signs and slogans as seen by yours truly, or shared by sites like The Daily Signal, LifeSiteNews.com and PJ media. Some are blunt, others are clever. One is simply an offer to help. May they serve to inspire! God planned parenthood I support a woman’s right to be born The strong must protect the weak I survived Roe vs. Wade. Roe vs. Wade will not survive me. Pretend I’m a tree. Save me. A person’s a person, no matter how small Me , Still me Abortion is murder Am I more valuable because of my size? You are not alone. We will help you. Already born? Check your privilege. The very best pro-life messaging I think I've ever seen wasn't at this year's March, and wasn't even on this continent. It came on a pair of t-shirts worn by a couple at last year's Romanian March for Life. The potbellied husband wore a shirt that read "This was from choice" while the obviously pregnant wife wore a shirt that read, "This was from God."...

News

Saturday Selections - Jan 20, 2018

Parents, your teens are being pressured to ‘sext.’ Even at Christian high schools. Jonathon Van Maren asks parents to stop being naive – this is happening, even at Christian schools. God's creation big and small In this three-minute video we get a look at God’s creation on an unimaginably vast scale, and on an infinitesimally tiny scale too. Though the presentation is secular, it reveals His genius through and through. The damsel and villain The whole of history, in one 7-minute spoken word piece. Hope for the frozen unchosen What happens to the millions of babies who are created via IVF? As WORLD magazine reports, many (British numbers put it at more than half) never make it past conception – they are discarded as being abnormal. Some of the others will be implanted, but since the normal IVF practice involves conceiving many more embryos than will be implanted, "excess" children are discarded, or donated to science for medical experimentation, or, in most cases, left in a frozen state awaiting a yet undetermined fate. In the US there are somewhere between 600,000 and a million of these children frozen right now, and some Christians are working to provide these survivors a chance to be born. Free e-book: Scott Klusendorf's The Case for Life If you're willing to fill in a 10-minute survey on your Bible reading habits, Crossway books will give you a free e-book copy of Scott Klusendorf's fantastic pro-life "how-to" manual for defending the unborn. There's no such thing as a free education With the increasing push for free university education, the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics thinks it's important we understand how a free education's costs are considerable....

News

When marriage means only: "a way to avoid taxes"

Matt Murphy and Michael O’Sullivan are good friends – they’ve been friends for almost 30 years. They are also straight. And, as of the Dec. 22, according to the Irish government, they are husband and husband. The two decided to get “married” so that 85-year-old Murphy could pass on his house to the younger 58-year-old Sullivan, tax-free. As O’Sullivan explained the arrangement to Independent.ie: "I was homeless, sleeping in my car and needed someone to move into his home and take care of him. He was losing his sight and needed a full-time . He told me that he couldn't afford to pay me but said that I could live with him and he would give me his house when he passed away as payment.” The problem was, if Murphy simply deeded the house to O’Sullivan in his will, O’Sullivan would be faced with a €50,000 tax bill under Ireland’s inheritance tax. And since the formerly homeless O’Sullivan doesn’t seem to have a lot of money lying about, such a bill might well have forced him to sell the home to pay the taxes. And then he’d be homeless again. However, spouses seem to be exempt from this inheritance tax, and when the two straight men heard of this option they decided it only made sense to get “married.” There’s an obvious problem here, and another lurking underneath. Marriage becomes meaningless First up, we can see here that when God’s standards are abandoned, the State’s replacement has no foundation. Redefining marriage hasn’t left us with a different version of this institution, but only turned “marriage” into a meaningless term. As God defined it, marriage is a man and a woman becoming one flesh, for life. The State undermined the “for life” part with no-fault divorce, and the “man and woman” part by recognizing same-sex couplings. The act of homosexual sex makes a mockery of the “one flesh” part, and, in a different way, the Murphy/O’Sullivan “friendship marriage” does too. So what then are we left with? Marriage has been redefined to mean only “a means of tax-avoidance.” Death taxes are problematic Another problem lurking in the background of this story is the nature of the tax they are working so hard to avoid. Of course, taxes are never popular, but inheritance taxes are particularly problematic. How so? Well, consider the basis on which the State is taking in these taxes. Normally taxes are justified as a trade of sorts. We fund the government and in exchange we get benefits from that government, like policing, roads, healthcare, unemployment insurance, etc. But what services will Murphy get? None at all – the tax only kicks in after he has departed. It is something for nothing. Consider also that while elections give us a say in how taxes are used, an inheritance tax is “taxation without respiration.” A death tax is revenue without accountability, since (at least in most electoral districts) the dead don’t get to vote. This type of taxation also undermines property rights. Do we really own something if we can’t give it to whomever we wish? Murphy wants to give his home to his friend, but he can’t (or at least he can’t unless he resorts to these extreme measures). He can only given a portion of it, with the State demanding the rest. But Murphy’s wealth has already been taxed when he first earned it, so why isn’t the remainder – the after tax portion – now finally his to do with as he wishes? Finally, we should consider what such a tax encourages. If parents spends all their wealth and leave their children nothing, then the State is satisfied. But if parents save, and invest, and build a business that they want to hand on to the next generation, then the State demands a share. So such a tax encourages spending, and penalizes investing....

News

Canadian couples may have had adoption/fostering nixed because of their Christianity

An Alberta couple filed a lawsuit in November, accusing provincial authorities of discrimination after their application to adopt a child was rejected. The suit claims that Alberta Child and Family Services disqualified the couple based on their personal belief that homosexuality is wrong. According to the filing documents “The casework supervisor explained that our religious beliefs regarding sexuality were incompatible with the adoption process.... The casework supervisor said this stance was the 'official position of the Alberta government.'" The case, is expected to be heard in Fall 2018 This isn’t the first Christian couple to make the news this year after running into trouble with Canadian child welfare authorities. In April, Derek and Frances Baars filed a lawsuit against the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society. The Baars, in their suit, claimed a child support worker demanded the couple tell two girls in their care, aged three and four, that the Easter Bunny was real, despite the couple’s belief that lying is wrong. The children were abruptly removed from their home, even after the Baars attempted to negotiate an acceptable alternative. It is unclear when their case will be decided, but the Baars have insisted that the caseworkers viewed them as poor candidates because of their religious convictions. It’s important to acknowledge, as Dominic Verticchio, executive director of the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society, did, that there are two sides to every story and in both of these cases we’ve only heard one. That said, when asked if the Easter Bunny was real, Verticchio replied, “It depends who you ask.” Time will tell if these high-profile cases having an impact on the future of adoption and foster parenting in Canada. It’s worth noting that using a faith-based adoption agency may not help head off these kind of confrontations – the Alberta couple went through Catholic Social Services. However, if legal roadblocks do occur, one option may be to contact the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which is representing both couples. Their website is www.jccf.ca. As discouraging as these stories can be, Christians must never let them have a chilling effect on their interest in taking in children. There is an acknowledged need for parents willing to adopt and foster, and the secular dogma that committed Christians aren’t up to the task must never be dignified. Rather, Christians should focus their concern on loving children who so often get forgotten in the smoke of social and political correctness....

News

Outraged all the time: why Christians can't be

When the weekend edition of the Daily Mail reported that British schools were swapping out BC and AD for BCE and CE to avoid offending non-Christians, other papers quickly followed their lead. As the stories explained, BC stands for “before Christ” and AD is an abbreviation of “anno Domini,” Latin for “year of the Lord.” BCE and CE cover the exact same time periods, but BCE (before Common Era) and CE (Common Era) deliberately avoid mention of Christ. So this seemed a deliberate rejection of Britain’s Christian heritage. Some of the headlines read: • Daily Star: “Schools scrap ‘BC’ and ‘AD’ to avoid offending non-Christians” • Express: “PC gone mad: Schools scrap BC and AD to avoid offending non-Christians” • Telegraph: “To BCE or not to BCE? Common era of BC and AD appears to be over” Soon after, Christian and conservative new sites like TheChristians.com, The Christian Post, Premier.org and The Daily Wire also picked up the story. But in midst of all this hullabaloo there was a problem. The story that started it all – the Daily Mail piece that the other newspapers and blogs referenced (if they had references at all) – didn’t have a lot of substance to it. The headline made it sound like this was happening everywhere: "Now schools are ditching AD and BC in RE lessons to avoid offending non-Christians... but critics blast the 'capitulation to political correctness'" But when it came to specifics, only three (out of 48) English counties were mentioned. And only one was said to have made a change to their syllabus, while the other two had, to this point, only been “urged” by "local authority committees" to make the change – it’s not clear if any actual change had been made. In other words, a small percentage of English schools – anywhere from 2 to 6 percent – may be considering changing from BC to BCE. Is that the sort of story that should get picked up by one newspaper after another, and make its way to North America too? No, not really. So why did it? Because, as the Daily Mail and the many media outlets that followed their lead understand, there is an appetite for outrage. So the Mail crafted a story out of very little and, to the unwary reader, it seemed a much bigger thing. Christians need to guard against swallowing and sharing this sort of fake news for two reasons. First, on a gut level, we all understand “whiners aren’t winners.” Whatever the sport, isn’t it the losing side that always gripes to the ref about all the ticky-tack fouls and missed calls? Thus, when we whine, we’re misrepresenting our side. If God’s people really believe what we say we believe - if we're sure of God’s victory – then we won't get stressed when this or that doesn’t go our way. Then we won't act defeated, because we know Christ has already won. Second, if we jump in and also make big of little, it has the effect of belittling what’s big. There are real outrages occurring; Christians are being threatened with loss of livelihood and even loss of life. If we’re busy getting upset about schools switching up from one set of terms that acknowledges Christ as the pivot point of history, to another set of terms that, in sticking with the same time periods, unavoidably still acknowledges Christ’s birth, then we’re wasting our outrage. That's something to keep in mind in the coming month, when we start seeing articles about the annual “War on Christmas.” We need to understand God isn’t threatened by it, and his sense of humor is even evident in it, as it turns out the term “Xmas” is Christian shorthand for Christmas. Instead of frustration, we can enjoy events like this, marveling at how very often God will arrange things so, even in the midst of their rebellion, the other side can’t help but acknowledge Him....

News

Survey: the US is a nation of heretics

A survey conducted last year by LifeWay Research and commissioned by Ligonier Ministries has found that most core Christian beliefs are lost on Americans in general. The survey of 3,000 Americans found that the belief in the Trinity and in the dual nature of Christ (divine and human) were the only basic doctrines that clear majorities still affirm. The rest, according to a compilation from LifeWay writer Bob Smietana, is abysmal: More than half believe Jesus is “the first and greatest being created by God.” 64% believe God accepts the worship of all religions 65% say that though everyone sins a little, most people are good by nature 74% believe the “smallest sins” don’t earn eternal damnation 60% believe that “everyone eventually goes to heaven”...although half of those still affirm that belief in Jesus is the only means of salvation Things weren’t much better among evangelical Christians. The survey identified as evangelical only those who affirmed that the Bible as their highest authority, personal evangelism is important, and trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross is the only way of salvation. Nearly half of this group still believes that God accepts the worship of all religions. Evangelicals are also more likely than others to say heaven is a place where all people will ultimately be reunited with their loved ones. Shane Morris analyzed the results at TheFederalist.com and concluded that the leavening power of the Christian faith is all but gone when the specifics of its claims are rejected or no longer even known. “Jesus told us knowing the truth sets us free. Believing lies enslaves people….Christ also told us the greatest commandment includes loving God with our minds. That means dusting off grandpa’s Bible, and revisiting a catechism or confession.” Morris is correct. The de-emphasis on pure doctrine and the preaching and authority of Scripture will, over the course of a few generations, lead to overt paganism. One or two generations may still retain all of the language and forms of their cultural faith. But inevitably, a succeeding generation will view the empty forms of religion and ask “why?” Then the answer will be a deafening silence. ...

News

Saturday Selections - Nov 11, 2017

It's not about the cake When a gay couple tries to force a Christian baker to make their wedding cake, it isn't about the cake – they could get that done just down the street. What it's about is forcing the Christian baker to affirm their sin. Sexual difference run deep, new study finds We know it because God says it: men and women are different.  And a recent study shows how those difference are evidenced in every part of our bodies. How can we prove that objective morality exists? Point to it. The folks at Stand to Reason show how to make a relativist uneasy. My marriage is not an equal partnership and I don't want it to be Last week we had a post about egalitarianism vs. complementarianism. Soon after, Matt Walsh weighed in on how his own marriage is not 50/50, or 100/100, or anything remotely equal. And that is a very good thing. We can rejoice that marriage will end...really No marriage in heaven? What? But how can heaven be....less than earth? Tim Challies chimes in... Classics every middle schooler and every high schooler should read These two lists strike me as incredibly ambitious. But if our homeschooled children are able to read these, why would we expect less from our children in Christian schools? Parents, maybe you'll see one or two, or a few, you might want to introduce to your son or daughter - the middle school list is here, and the high school list here....

News

Canadian colonialism dressed up as aid

Red tomatoes and purple onions pile in front of her. Behind is sugar, bagged by the kilo. Bottles of Fanta and 7-Up stand on a white shelf in this small, road-side kiosk, one of many in sub-Saharan Africa. In the midst of it she stands, a smiling woman in a blue shirt and white head wrap. Her smile adorns the official website of the UN’s Family Planning Summit, which met on July 11 in London, UK, to decide what to do with her. The website reads like a sales pitch: “Family planning is a best-buy in global development.” The Canadian government stood out as a champion of reproductive health at the Summit, part of its Feminist International Assistance Policy. Policymakers, donors and leaders have solved the life problem of the smiling African woman. But have they asked for her opinion? Chrystia Freeland, Canadian Minster of International Trade, told the House of Commons that our national values “includes sexual reproductive rights and the right to safe and accessible abortions. These rights are at the core of our foreign policy.” This statement profoundly concerned the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops, which argued in an open letter that abortion advocacy cannot be the core of Canadian foreign policy when it is “not only legally contentious but completely contrary to the deeply held convictions of many both within and beyond Canada’s borders.” The numbers underscore their concern: $119 million in international aid will go to famine relief and $650 million to abortion and sexual reproduction rights. Fifty percent of the latter is dedicated to sub-Saharan Africa, including countries where abortion is illegal except to save a mother’s life. An African proverb says, “the absent are always wrong.” The same donors who are so eager to end poverty are proving deaf to the voices of those they claim to help. A different view of procreation I have lived in East Africa since the age of three. Congolese mothers often counted their children to me, including those who died as babies. Mama Rebecca, a gentle old woman, cried over her five children, each of whom died tragically and far from her. In Africa, children – all children – are carefully remembered. To speak of Africa is to speak of an immense continent with 54 nations and many unique tribes, each with their own culture. Yet commonalities do exist. Father Bonaventure Turyomumazima of Uganda wrote that generally traditional African cultures are centered in life. Procreation completes marriage. Children are the continuation of a physical line, important both for the living and the dead. It is commonly expected for the entire community to raise the child. That means there are few unwanted children or “orphans.” Elaborate taboos and rituals preserve the lives of mother and child. Faith Kasiva, author of the report "Robbed by Choice," explains, “We live in an African cultural setting where having a child or motherhood is glorified in a way that probably it’s not in other societies.” Telling a woman in such a cultural setting to not have children is almost like telling a Canadian woman to empty all her bank accounts, quit her job and publicly defame herself on all social media, just to avoid poverty. It doesn’t make sense, given the social construct. “Unwanted pregnancies” are not the problem as much as unwanted wars, unwanted famines, unwanted rape, unwanted incest and unwanted displacement. Mama Rebecca didn’t weep because her children ought not to have been born. She wept because they ought not to have died. A strange irony plays out here: the world’s first feminist policy warring against a culture that glorifies mothers! But do Minister Freeland and the Family Planning Summit tell the whole truth? The dark side of depopulation Often, benevolent NGOs hold out family planning with one hand. The other is behind their back, shut tight on hundreds of statistics linking abortion and family breakdown, psychological health, increased poverty, community disintegration and isolation. The contraceptive Norplant is one example of this. Designed to keep a woman infertile for five years, Norplant has suffered tens of thousands of lawsuits in America for its side-effects. Now Norplant is exported to developing countries as “aid.” It’s an old story. Norplant is even harder on the bodies of malnourished women. The consequences are often not fully explained. When faced with unexpected complications, life-long sterility and even death by hemorrhage, these women are without health support. More than that, long-term barrenness can ruin marriages and isolate women from communities. Family planning as the West understands it will not end poverty. Tying aid money to such an agenda prompted Nigerian activist Obianuju Ekeocha to hail Canada as the new “number one colonial master of the world.”  New face, old story Over a hundred years ago during the rubber trade in Belgian Congo, the colonial army raided the village of a woman named Ilanga. As the chained villagers were marched from their burning homes, soldiers forced Ilanga’s baby from her, tossing it aside so she could carry their looted pot. The agony of such men and women being “civilized” bleeds into one of their songs: “We are tired of living under this tyranny/ We cannot endure that our women and children are taken away/ and dealt with by the white savages.” Today, the Canadian Prime Minister can use the force of the dollar to tell millions of women in Africa – “Drop the baby. Carry the pot of civilization. We know what is best. Your child would never have a good life. You may as well kill it now.” At least, this is what is heard on the other end. According to a writer in the Lusaka Times in Zambia, “Abortion is one way of saying ‘do not multiply anymore.’ Our multiplying is disturbing the depopulation plans.. . . These NGOs in Zambia came in the name of ‘helping’ suffering Zambians; on the surface they do good things, but in the background, they start their main program.” Canada is the first donor country to call its foreign policy a feminist one. An “ism” denotes a belief system. Emil Hagamu of Tanzania writes, “In African communities, the death of a child is no small matter . . . . Expanded legalization of abortion is being forced upon us by the traditional colonizing powers of the West.” Ekeocha, founder of Culture for Life, told Catholic News Service that Western funds are used to bribe African politicians to accept abortion, “The polls show overwhelmingly that Africans hate abortion . . . . By ignoring the will of the people, this is spitting in the face of the very type of democracy we are supposed to have in African countries.” ‘Tired of tyranny’ The Democratic Republic of Congo, the giant heart of the African continent, is targeted by Canada to the tune of $97 million. Minister Bibeau told the Globe and Mail that the aid would be “subtle,” working to provide adolescents with extensive sex education and to push abortion in a country where it is illegal. The Democratic Republic of Congo is a deeply troubled nation. Her children already suffer because of greed-based violence. Instead of helping living children, Canada will prevent the birth of more. Maybe that musical country will sing again the old song, “We are tired of living under this tyranny/ We cannot endure that our women and children are taken away/ and dealt with by the white savages.” If Canada does not consider the true situation of the woman in her road-side shop or listen to the bereaved grandmothers, then Canada’s aid is just colonialization in a new outfit. The colonizing powers of Africa-past were confident in their superiority. They were sure their agendas were right. But blood and tears mark those pages. Canada is currently writing a colonization of Africa-present. This too, history will remember. This article was originally published August 28, 2017 in Christian Courier (www.christiancourier.ca). Trudeau picture credit: Shutterstock.com...

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Restaurant chain won't compromise on the 4th Commandment

The Chick-fil-A restaurant in the brand-new stadium of the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons is going to be closed on all but one of the team’s home games…because they are played on Sundays. The restaurant chain is known both for their good-guy sense of customer service (one Virginia location recently offered its space to a local church that had been suddenly displaced from its worship location) and conservative stand on social issues. The Christian owners of Chick-fil-A have also held a strict line against doing business on Sunday. ESPN commentators bemoaned the decision in August once it came to light, with Bill Plaschke going so far as to call it a “complete shame and a sham.” With its headquarters in Atlanta, Chick-fil-A has long been a part of the food scene at sports venues in the city. Likewise, the Falcons aren’t the only sports team planning to play games in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which was built right next to the soon-to-be-demolished Georgia Dome. However, with the vast majority of NFL games, including the Super Bowl, being played on Sundays, it takes a strong commitment to a principle to leave that much profit on the table in Chick-fil-A’s own hometown. It’s always refreshing to see the Sabbath honored publicly, especially when the day is no longer holy even in the eyes of many believers. Let’s recommit ourselves to being “called out” of the world and use our Sabbaths to look forward to the eternal one. Also, remember the Sabbath has been a blessing to mankind wherever it has been honored -- we love our neighbor best when we encourage a Sabbath rest....

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Media bias and Australia's marriage debate

This month and next Australians are being given the opportunity to have their say on same-sex “marriage.” The Liberal-National (LNP) coalition ran their election campaign last year with a promise to hold a plebiscite on the issue. Like regular elections, this plebiscite would have been compulsory, with every eligible voter required to cast a ballot. However, the LNP does not have a majority in the Senate, and that resulted in the legislation for the plebiscite being blocked (twice) by the other parties. Finally, the LNP decided to undertake a voluntary postal survey – no one is required to vote – and the results are not binding on the government. Ballots have been mailed out with one question: "“Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry? Yes or No." Results are expected to be announced on November 15. The campaigns for both “Yes” and “No” are now fully underway. Much of the Australian news media is unabashedly promoting the “Yes” campaign. Not only are there the usual editorials and opinion pieces, but much of the news reported on the postal survey is slanted towards influencing the “Yes” vote. However, some news outlets have gone further. Following a post on social media of an offensive poster against SSM, some Australian news outlets were reporting that this poster had been "plastered" all over Melbourne. Broadcaster Channel 10 went out in search of the alleged poster, but came up empty. However, they needed a visual for their news story. So they got creative. They took a stock news photo of a European bus shelter and photo-shopped the poster in (see original, and as doctored for Channel 10, in the picture to the right). After being exposed, Channel 10 released a statement in which they stated, “This was not a deliberate attempt to mislead our audience, but a creative error which we regret.” This was followed by less than truthful reporting on a “No” campaign meeting at a Roman Catholic Church in Brisbane. “Yes” campaigners gathered outside the church and succeeded in preventing the meeting from even happening. As a few of the “No” crowd drove away in their vehicles, the “Yes” side tried to block them. Some news reports spoke of a rowdy clash between the sides. Other news reports mentioned a vehicle driving “at nearly full-speed” into the protestors. Queensland Police later confirmed that these reports were completely false. This debate reflects not just differing views on marriage, but a clash between utterly opposite worldviews. In one worldview, truth is something that exists outside of ourselves as public, objective reality. In the other worldview, truth is a subjective thing which can and must be manipulated for your own agenda. The latter is fantasy, the former fact. Christians should be encouraged: the former that will ultimately prevail, no matter the outcome of the postal vote. Dr. Bredenhof blogs at Yinkahdinay and Creation Without Compromise. BOLT: If there's one thing that could make Australians vote against same-sex marriage, it is the bullying. Live now on @SkyNewsAust pic.twitter.com/D4CwkTryu0 — The Bolt Report (@theboltreport) August 28, 2017 ...

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Saturday selections - Sept 9, 2017

A baker's half dozen worth of articles from Reformed and other sources that were just too good not to share... A new translation of Schilder's Christ and Culture Dr. Bredenhof reviews and details the improvements made in a new translation of Klaas Schilder's influential book Christ and Culture. Christian statement on sexuality The Nashville Statement – endorsed by Reformed Christians such as R.C. Sproul, Kevin DeYoung, Albert Mohler, John Piper, Rosaria Butterfield, D.A. Carson, and dozens of others – takes a strong stand on what godly sexuality entails. Predictably, it has been attacked by mainstream Christians for what it gets right. But a couple of Reformed Christians have also criticized it for who put it out and for conceding the battle. People we should know: Rachel Carson Rachel Carson is sometimes called the "Mother of the Environmental Movement." In that role she spoke of the perceived dangers of DDT, and had a role in getting it banned. Her hyperbole – based out of concern for our planet – lead to the death of millions. Why are top environmental organizations pushing abortion? When key environmental groups support Planned Parenthood it shows that they see Man not as the pinnacle of God's Creation, but as a curse on it. Preparations for a good death Ray Pennings outlines five categories for what makes for a good death. While the article is not explicitly Christian, it is one, that if taken from a Christian perspective, makes good sense. One very good reason to do personal devotions Tim Challies makes an case for personal devotions you've likely never heard before: "If you can’t or won’t do devotions for your own sake, won’t you do it for the sake of others? Won’t you do it for their good, even if not for your own? Some things are getting better From most mainstream media accounts you would never know that materially speaking – as regards life expectancy and fighting poverty – vast improvements have been made in the last century or two. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=282&v=Z8t4k0Q8e8Y    ...

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