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Showing posts from January, 2012

Rough day for American Chancery offices: two women charged with each stealing $1,000,000

It's a sad day for the Archdioceses of New York and Philadelphia as employees are charged with stealing millions from the Church to maintain their  lifestyle. The New York Times writes about a woman who accomplished the undertaking to maintain her daily New York life. The Philadelphia Inquirer posts an article about another who bilked another million covering losses she ran up at casinos. I am not surprised people steal. No one who hears confessions for a living, be they priests, bartenders or barbers, would be shocked by such news. But there is something particularly odious about stealing from a Church. Whether it's emptying the poor box of coins or bank accounts with fraudulent bills, it's all stealing from monies given with the goal of helping the poor and educating the young. We sadly often applaud those who steal from the rich to give to the poor; from Robin Hood of film and legend to today's 'Anonymous' Movement  who hack computers to do the same. W

The Canada Party: We make an offer to our American neighbors

Conrad Black: Pierre Trudeau was a dilettante — but a successful one | Full Comment | National Post

Not a religious story... but Conrad Black's columns are always worth reading. Love him or hate him... he's one of the greatest minds today when it comes to analyzing the socio-political situations of our times. Conrad Black: Pierre Trudeau was a dilettante — but a successful one | Full Comment | National Post

More on the Vatican financial scandals

The current nuncio to Washington cannot stand having been driven out of Rome. And he is reacting against his archenemy, Cardinal Bertone. He has many supporters in the curia. And the pope is getting caught in the fray Vatican Diary / Viganò, the untouchable

Interesting Abortion video

You’re not as anonymous online as you think, privacy czar warns - The Globe and Mail

This is a mixed blessing. On the one hand it is good to think that you can post or surf anonymously... but the fact that no one can actually makes it possible for me to eliminate comments from specific individuals and to protect from the blog from spam.  It has helped me to weed out trolls like our old friend of this blog, 'Johnny Vo'. Once I had his IP address, he could no longer get his hatred published here... a blessing for all concerned! You’re not as anonymous online as you think, privacy czar warns - The Globe and Mail

Welsh Christian leaders join in opposition to 'presumed consent' for organ donation : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

It was not all that long ago that people being made to give up their heart, lung and kidney after registering as organ donors was fodder for improvisational comedy troupes like 'Second City'. 'Presumed consent' legislation put's some irony into the laughs they engender. Anything that brings that satirical scenario closer to reality is something that sends a chill down my spine. -First, there was a strict prohibition on abortion. Then it was permitted in specific circumstances, before finally (through the fiat of the Supreme Court) any prohibition was legislatively erased. -Gambling was illegal. The State introduced a 'one time only' Million Dollar' national lottery in support of the Montreal Olympics. Then every month... every week... every day... VLT's in towns and cities great and small. -Sex was such a taboo subject that Dick van Dyck and Mary Tyler Moore slept in separate twin beds. Today sex on TV sells and is freely available everywhere. -Div

Why we march for life - Guest Voices - The Washington Post

"An unborn baby’s heart begins beating 18 days after conception – a tiny heartbeat, a human heartbeat, and a vulnerable one. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade made it legal to kill unborn human beings at any stage of development, at any time before birth, in all 50 states." I appreciate that this is an American story, but the arguments it presents are equally valid in Canada too. It expresses as well what fires the passion of pro-life advocates world wide. Why we march for life - Guest Voices - The Washington Post

Can Christians be nihilists? Not a chance!

Many believers argue that atheism is nihilistic.  Atheists respond to this contention as if it were a personal insult. This response naturally leads to an important question: What is Nihilism? Existential nihilism is defined as "the notion that life has no intrinsic meaning or value, and it is, no doubt, the most commonly used and understood sense of the word today.” (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy) Put simply, nihilists deny ‘absolutes’ exist, at least in the moral, political or social spheres. Theists disagree. They propose that such social constructs should be oriented towards their particular end which reflects an absolute good. Believers cannot hold to the tenets of faith while accepting the proposition that a society can be fruitfully nurtured without moral absolutes. They are by their particular natures, mutually contradictory propositions. The denial of the existence of ‘absolutes’ would vitiate the truth of God and His influence in this world. The dividing line betwe

An awesome set of images of the stellar phenomenon called 'The Eye of God'

Planck Surveyor: Big Bang camera goes dark | News | National Post

Most expensive picture ever! Here is our universe!! Planck Surveyor: Big Bang camera goes dark | News | National Post

Valley C.O.G. confesses - The Daily Observer - Ontario, CA

This column, taken from the Pembroke Daily Observer is a call to be nice to 'C.O.G.'s' (Check Out Girls). Did you know that the 2nd Saturday of January is National COG Day? If you missed it, don't forget to be especially kind to the next teller/clerk you encounter today. They deserve our best! Valley C.O.G. confesses - The Daily Observer - Ontario, CA

Ontario Catholic schools' taxpayer funding facing legal challenge from Reva Landau | News | National Post

This could get interesting, although I'm fairly certain that this challenge, like those before it, will fail. Still, when you're dealing with the courts interpreting the Charter, one can never be absolutely certain of anything. Ontario Catholic schools' taxpayer funding facing legal challenge from Reva Landau | News | National Post

And the leading contender for Clueless, Oafish Op-Ed of 2012...

A response to the NYT column offering advice to the wives of the new Priests who have entered into full communion with the RC Church which I've posted earlier today. I'll give you a hint: the advice isn't appreciated by the columnist from Ignatius Press Blog. Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog: And the leading contender for Clueless, Oafish Op-Ed of 2012...

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series #10 - Final post

Gentle readers,

I imagine that some of you may be sitting back now and saying to yourselves:

“Well OK Martin…so you have blathered on for several posts and you have managed to demonstrate that Brian W. Clowes wrote some propaganda against gay men. Big deal – he was wrong in this ONE single instance, but he is otherwise aligned with my church’s teachings, and he holds a correct biblical interpretation about homosexuality. In any case, Mr. Clowes has a right to free speech - even if that free speech is based on weak arguments. So why should I give a tinker’s hoot about this issue?”

Good point. Mr. Clowes indeed has a right to speak freely – even if that involves making poor arguments. Similarly, I have a right to point out those poor arguments and distortions, and to make counter arguments. But that is not really the end of the story. 

Why?

Firstly, Mr. Clowes produces his anti-gay propaganda in the name of the pro-life movement and in the name of Catholics everywhere. Mr. Clowes’ a

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series #9 More Clowe claims

Gentle readers,

This will be my last examination of Mr. Clowes’ anti-gay claims. It is my last - not because Clowes makes no further anti-gay claims in his article - but because I am bored of wading through this stuff. So far the article has not yielded a single shred of credible evidence against gay men. Nevertheless, let’s press on. Clowes writes:

“A study in the Journal of Sex Research noted that "... the proportion of sex offenders against male children among homosexual men is substantially larger than the proportion of sex offenders against female children among heterosexual men ... the development of pedophilia is more closely linked with homosexuality than with heterosexuality." 

This was taken from a February 1989 study published in the Journal of Sex Research entitled: “Heterosexuality, Homosexuality and Erotic Age Preference” by Kurt Freund et al. 
While the quote is taken from a legitimate peer reviewed journal, the quote is entirely out of context. We have seen

The Reason for Our Hope: Digging Deep

An offering from my former Bishop, His Grace, +Richard Smith, now the Archbishop of Edmonton, offered for your comment. He shares his thought as he visits the fount of our Catholic faith, Jerusalem and the surrounding Holy Lands around the Sea of Galilee. Clearly he is inspired by his surroundings. The Reason for Our Hope: Digging Deep

Kim Jong-un vows war if long-range rocket shot down - The Globe and Mail

Let's see... how did that go again? "States like these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world." (G.W. Bush: State of the Union Address, 2002) He was talking about Iraq, Iran and North Korea. We may need to remind our American neighbors that just because their national game gives every player 'three strikes' before they must 'step away from the plate' doesn't mean that they can assume that we Canadians will agree to give them another chance to come up to bat. We are a nation of hockey fans. We understand that a game can end 0-1, irrespective of whose considered the 'home team'. Most of us believe that the game has been played, and while we stand 1-0 in military terms, it was a Pyrrhic victory when we assess the real losses our team suffered in terms of 'career ending injuries and deaths.' It was like this weekend when poor, battered Vancouver won but got mugged when they played in

U.S.-born Amir Mirza Hekmati sentenced to death in Iran for alleged spying | News | National Post

And now the war chant begin to build to a casus belli, the opening movement of a symphony that will climax with the kettle drums of war. I wonder how many people understand what's happening: that they are being seduced by a siren song that will lead again to spilled blood and coin , leaving both they and us weaker whether we win or lose? We almost participated in this dance once before to our regret when the US tried to convince us to join in the invasion of Iraq. We indirectly assisted the US by taking up their legitimate enemy in Afghanistan, freeing their forces for Iraq. Do we honestly believe that we will enjoy this performance any more than the last time if we join the US into another Middle Eastern country? Just because we label it as a war against terrorism doesn't mean that we should all dance off to war against other countries. Neither Iran nor Syria have done anything to threaten Canada. Unless they do, we have no grounds to wage war against them. Yet, the signs a

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series: #8 3 easy steps to writing your own propaganda

Gentle readers,

I thought this would be the perfect time to take a breather from the Clowes’ article and to provide you with my “3 Easy Steps to Writing Your own Anti-Gay Propaganda” (Satire Alert).

Let me begin by saying that it is crucial for us to have a constant supply of fresh anti-gay propaganda on the internet. Why? Well…because stuff like Mr. Clowes’ propaganda gets “worn out” fairly quickly when “strident pro-homosexual activists” like me begin debunking it. Don’t be worried if you do not have an academic degree like Mr. Clowes. Academic credentials help, but they are by no means essential.

STEP 1 – Begin your propaganda piece by appealing to a strong negative emotion. There are really only 3 basic negative emotions to choose from, but they can all be tailoured to a number of themes. Here are the 3 basic emotions and some suggested anti-gay themes for you to choose from:

1. Fear – Fear of homos recruiting your children (in or out of the womb); Fear of homos destroying soci

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series #7 Some gay facts

Gentle readers,

As promised, here is another installment in my examination of Mr. Clowes’ anti-gay claims. The next anti-gay claim is this little gem:

“Another recent study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that "... all but 9 of the 48 homosexual men preferred the youngest two male age categories." These age categories were fifteen and twenty years old.”

This was taken from the following study: Zebulon, Z.A. Silverthorne and Vernon L. Quinsey. "Sexual Partner Age Preferences of Homosexual and Heterosexual Men and Women." Archives of Sexual Behavior, February 2000 [Volume 29, Number 1], pages 67-76, p. 73.

First, a bit of context: The study involved 192 subjects (comprised of 4 roughly equivalent groups of gay and straight men and women) who were shown photographs of either male or female faces between the ages of 18 and 60. Participants were then asked to rate their degree of attraction to each face. 

When we read the actual study, guess what we learn?

Canadian TV ad warning of the dangers of euthanasia

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series #6 Are gays pedophiles?

Gentle readers: Examining Mr. Cowles’ article is yielding some interesting results. Let’s take a closer look at another anti-gay claim:

“A recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that "The best epidemiological evidence indicates that only 2 - 4% of men attracted to adults prefer men. In contrast, around 25 - 40% of men attracted to children prefer boys. Thus, the rate of homosexual attraction is 6-20 times higher among pedophiles."

This is a quote from:

Ray Blanchard, et al. "Fraternal Birth Order and Sexual Orientation in Pedophiles." Archives of Sexual Behavior, October 2000 [Volume 29, Number 5], pages 463-478, p. 464.

First let me begin by saying that the Archives of Sexual Behavior is a legitimate peer -reviewed journal, and that Dr. Blanchard is a well qualified researcher in his field of study. The quote provided by Mr. Clowes is not really damaging at all to the general population of gay men. 

Why? 

Because it tells us nothing a

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series #5 Why does propaganda work?

Gentle readers:

One of the reasons why anti-gay propaganda is so powerful is because it is relatively easy to make false claims, but it is much more time-consuming to do the heavy lifting necessary to refute those claims. Case in point – look at how long this series is relative to the brief section in Mr. Clowes’ original article that makes those claims.
 Nevertheless, let’s examine another of Mr. Clowes’ claims to see how well it stands up to critical thinking. He states that:

“Homosexual Alfred Kinsey, the USA's preeminent sexual researcher, found in 1948 that 37 percent of all male homosexuals admitted to having sex with children under 17 years old.”

I find it interesting that Mr. Clowes chooses to cite the work of Alfred Kinsey at all. The religious right often dismisses most of Kinsey’s work, especially his much publicized claim that 10% of the population tends towards a homosexual orientation.

For anyone with even a passing understanding of Kinsey’s work on homosexuals, t

An offer to our American cousins as they approach the 2012 Presidential election... vote Canadian Party!

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series #4 Getting down to specifics

Gentle readers:

Let’s get down to the actual business of examining one of the many anti-gay claims in Mr. Clowes’ article.

The article makes the following statement:

“NAMBLA is by no means on the fringe of the "gay rights" movement. For years, it was a member in good standing of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), and was only jettisoned by ILGA when the parent organization applied for United Nations consultative status in 1993.” 

Some context: NAMBLA is the North American Man Boy Love Association, and is a notorious proponent of pedophilia. The ILGA is the International Lesbian and Gay Association, which is member organization belonging to the United Nations. Mr. Clowes is clearly insinuating that pedophile rights are a central part of the larger gay rights movement. 
While Mr. Clowes’ statement is “accurate” as far is it goes, it leaves out some extremely relevant facts in order to create a misleading impression, namely:

“ILGA does not advocate – and

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series #3 PhD? So What?

Gentle readers:

People who use Mr. Clowes’ article as evidence to support their anti-gay biases sometimes note that the author holds a PhD. Indeed, Mr. Clowes holds a PhD from a reputable US school in Civil Engineering. Some people, however, like to believe that because a PhD wrote the article, it's conclusions somehow have more weight.

Let me bring you in on a little secret. Persons with a PhD are not infallible - especially when they are commenting on science outside of their area of expertise. And even when PhDs are commenting within their field, they can make mistakes. That is why we give the highest credence to articles and studies that are peer reviewed. 
Now I draw your attention to the following points:

 1. Mr. Clowes' anti-gay claims involve social science and behavioural psychology.
 2. Mr. Clowes is neither a social scientist nor a behavioral psychologist. In short, he is a civil engineer commenting outside his area of expertise.
 3. While the article notes the

With credit for time served, Lahey may be released today | CTV News

Now that the civil authorities have rendered their punishment, it is time for the Church to do the same. Lahey must now be punished for his crimes against canon law as well. Hard to see how this will be difficult for the Vatican to know which way to act. Let's just review the salient points: 1. convicted of possessing and importing child porn 2. admits to being in a gay relationship for the past 10 years 3. admits to having had multiple gay one night stands 4. had sex toys in his luggage when returning from a country noted for child sex trade 5. admits to a predilection for images that combine bondage and religious symbols If he were just a priest, he'd be gone so fast he wouldn't know what hit him. It should not be any different for Lahey. He must be removed for every and any ministry. The only question to be settled is does he get kicked out completely or will the Pope sentence him to a monastery for an enforced life of silence and separation from the

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series #2

Gentle readers:

Many of you may be legitimately wondering what the heck I mean by “propaganda”, and some of you may suspect that I am simply trying to portray people with whom I disagree in a negative light by using this term. You are right to be skeptical, so I need to begin by defining the term “propaganda”. 

First of all propaganda is much more than what we commonly call “persuasion”. A useful definition of propaganda is put forward by Jowett and O’Donnell (Jowett, Garth S., and O’Donnell, Victoria. What is Propaganda and How does it differ from Persuasion?” in Propaganda and Persuasion. p. 4):

“Propaganda is the deliberate and systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve responses that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.” 

Jowett and O’Donnell also provide us with sub-categories of propaganda:

White Propaganda – this propaganda “…comes from a source that is identified correctly, and the information in the message t

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series #1 Anti-gay propaganda

Gentle readers: Is all external criticism of the LGBT community necessarily inspired by bigotry, intolerance, or homophobia? Of course not. No community (regardless of its identity) ought to be exempt from principled criticism. This much I think we can all agree upon. In fact, the LGBT community is often critical of its own individual leaders, organizations, trends and movements. Vigorous (if not sometimes rancorous) debate and criticism is a hallmark of many North American LGBT communities. What I want to explore in this series is not: principled criticism of the LGBT community; poor (but well-intentioned) arguments against the LGBT community; or, occasional rhetorical flourishes that sometimes unfairly criticize the LGBT community. What I want to explore is much more insidious. It is something that is structurally and systematically supported by many Catholics and the Church itself. What I want to explore is as corrosive and as unfair to LGBT citizens, as it is to Catholics. What I w

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series - Introduction

I introduce to the blog today what will be a series of posts written by a frequent commentator, 'Martin'. They grow from a discussion that developed between him and 'Paul', another regular contributor here on the subject of homosexuality and the gay agenda. Paul takes the orthodox Christian perspective. Martin is a vocal proponent for the gay cause. This particular discourse saw Paul make certain claims about the gay culture, claims that he supported by evidence drawn from a website (RenewAmerica.com) which promoted the published findings on the subject by a Dr. Brian W. Clowes, PhD.  Martin's keen eye noted this credit and researched Clowes, only to discover that he certainly holds a doctorate from a reputable US school... in Civil Engineering. Clearly, he argued, Clowes qualifications were in a field of study that didn't provide any credible justification for his expertise regarding the issue of homosexuality. After pointing this out to Paul, he began to write