Welcome to The Bridgehead!

Jonathon Van Maren

A bridgehead is defined as “a strong position secured by an army inside enemy territory from which to advance or attack.” In today’s culture wars, a bridgehead of truth and common sense is exactly what we need. As Ronald Reagan once said, “When you’re outnumbered and surrounded and someone yells ‘charge,’ any way you’re facing you’ll find a target.”The Bridgehead Radio Program does just that, bringing you cutting edge news, interviews, and insights from the frontlines of the culture wars, and engaging in a sweeping discussion on human rights. Featuring renowned authors, commentators, politicians, intellectuals, historical figures, and more, The Bridgehead talks truth and common sense in a culture where it is badly needed. Featuring conversations with everyone from Peter Hitchens, Mark Steyn, Joel C. Rosenberg, and Gavin McInnes to Rwandan genocide survivor Immaculee Illibagiza, Holocaust survivor and Anne Frank’s step-sister Eva Schloss, and Nazi-hunter Efraim Zuroff, Bridgehead host Jonathon Van Maren takes a hard look at where our culture is and where we need to go.


Jonathon Van Maren is a popular speaker and writer who has been published in The National Post, The Times of Israel, The Jewish Independent, The Hamilton Spectator, LifeSiteNews and elsewhere, and has been quoted and interviewed by many prominent national publications as well as a wide variety of television and radio shows.

 

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Why I’m voting to stop Justin Trudeau today

By Jonathon Van Maren

It’s voting day in Canada, and there is a lot on the line. The Liberals and the Conservatives are neck-in-neck, the NDP is a wild card, and the Green Party is predictably getting more coverage than they deserve, as per media tradition. It is one of the closest races in Canadian history, and if there’s one thing that all of the commentators seem to agree on, it’s that this has been one of the dumbest election cycles in recent memory, from the blackface pseudo-scandals to the nonstop mudslinging to the war room attempts to portray Andrew Scheer as some dark and evil Trumpian force.

Justin Trudeau made a stop in Brantford on Saturday, and I swung by the rally with my wife and my friend to check it out. It was a fairly large crowd—the police estimated that nearly 500 people showed up outside an Italian eatery—and a few angry protestors were making themselves heard, as well. Their signs were amusing but a tad over the top: Trudeau For Gitmo, Get Rid of the Crime Minister, and F*** Trudeau. Crowd pumpers tried to stir up chants of Four More Years! For More Years! but they petered out pretty quickly. One fellow tried to get people chanting We want hemp! but that didn’t take off, either. Shortly thereafter, the smell of weed began wafting through the crowd.

Trudeau was apparently supposed to give a speech, but only ended up speaking for about two minutes, hoarsely shouting about “choosing forward” and urging Brantford to vote for the Liberal candidate, Danielle Takacs. (The current Member of Parliament here is Phil McColeman, a solidly pro-life MP.) As a drone hovered overhead to capture any social media-worthy moments and supporters with red signs manoeuvred to block the shouting protestors, Trudeau pressed through the crowd, hugging and squeezing hands and taking selfies, and within minutes was hustled off by security again. On to the next stop.

It was a bit surreal, standing a few feet away from the prime minister (for obvious reasons, I had no desire to shake his hand), to contemplate just how much evil this man has brought to Canada in such a short amount of time. Hundreds of millions of our taxpayer dollars shipped overseas to fund abortions in the developing world. New pro-abortion and anti-free speech judges on our courts. Constant abortion advocacy in Canada and abroad—and Trudeau has promised to continue to push provinces like New Brunswick to increase abortion access if he is re-elected. The Liberals have also promised to ban so-called “conversion therapy,” making it illegal for those with unwanted sexual attractions to pursue the counselling they desire. Four years was bad enough. Eight years will give Trudeau the chance to irrecoverably transform this country.

Many pro-lifers have been disappointed in the Conservative Party this election cycle, especially as Andrew Scheer, the leader with the perfect pro-life voting record, gave consistently ambiguous responses to questions on social conservative issues for much of the campaign. That said—and readers of this blog will notice I have remained fairly silent on the election this time around—I genuinely believe that as of tomorrow, either Justin Trudeau or Andrew Scheer will be the prime minister. I may not be 100% sure what Andrew Scheer will do. I am 100% sure of what Justin Trudeau will do. That alone is enough for me to vote Conservative today.

I am still hopeful that many pro-life policies will be pursued under a Conservative government. Pro-life MPs, for example, came forward to re-emphasize that a Conservative government would not fund abortions overseas. But, as sad as it is to say, even if that does not happen, things can get so much worse under a Trudeau government that I am willing to vote for what Andrew Scheer will not do as much as what he will do. Some may call this defeatist. Based on what Trudeau has done in the past four years and what he has promised to do going it forward, I think this is simply realistic. The future of religious liberty, freedom of speech, and freedom of association may well hang in the balance, and I’m not going to throw my vote away in a gamble that a socially liberal libertarian like Maxime Bernier is the answer. He isn’t going to be prime minister. Scheer could be.

To put it bluntly, I plan to vote in self-defence of Christian communities for the only real option that we have who might be able to stop Justin Trudeau.

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I’ll be hosting live election coverage with my friends Alissa Golob and Scott Hayward from Right Now tonight from 8 PM to 12 PM EST. We’ll be analyzing the election as results come in from a socially conservative perspective, with an incredible line-up of guests from Andrew Lawton to J.J. McCullough. If you want to tune in, we’ll be streaming live from the Facebook pages of Right Now and the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

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The sexual revolutionaries are coming for the children. Here’s how.

By Jonathon Van Maren

As the sexual revolution approaches total victory in the West, the latest battleground in the culture wars has begun to centre on the colonization of childhood. In the last few years, there has been a tremendous effort on the part of the LGBT movement and their allies in politics, the media, and the entertainment industry to begin introducing the tenets of their ideology to children at younger and younger ages. Those who oppose this, it almost goes without saying these days, are damned as bigots.

In sex education classes in Canada, for example, children are taught that gender is a spectrum, with a handy “gender unicorn” to help them “break the binary” and understand that you can choose to be the opposite gender if you wish to identify that way. Many public schools mandate support for Pride Month, with the rainbow flag flapping above the school for the entire month of June. Public libraries now stock scores of children’s books featuring LGBT couples, transgender crayons (I’m not kidding), and even workbooks to help children become “gender transcenders” and banish “transphobia” from their lives.

READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN AT LIFESITENEWS.COM

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CBC host pushes Toronto librarian to cancel feminist event over her belief that biological men should not be allowed in girls’ change rooms

By Jonathon Van Maren

Many of you may recall the controversy with Megan Murphy, the Vancouver feminist who was kicked off Twitter for her refusal to refer to biological males by female pronouns. She runs a blog called The Feminist Current, and has long been a stalwart defender of feminist values (we actually attended Simon Fraser University at the same time.) Needless to say, I disagree with her on nearly everything (most notably abortion), and thus it is all the more surprising that I find myself on the same side as Murphy on the transgender issue.

Murphy is the sort of feminist who believes that female spaces should be for biological females, and that allowing biological males who identify as females is dangerous. Women and girls need these spaces, she has pointed out, and often feel incredibly unsafe if a biological male is in their locker room, bathroom, or other private space—especially since many of these biological males are still in possession of male genitals. In Canada in 2019, this view, which would have been considered obvious about fifteen minutes ago, apparently renders her an irredeemable bigot, and she has since run directly into the tolerance buzz saw.

Murphy is scheduled to appear on a panel to discuss a range of feminist issues at the Toronto Public Library, and to put a stop to this, the transgender lobby has launched another jihad against her, attempting to get her de-platformed or, if that fails, have the event cancelled entirely. This effort is being supported by writers like Tabatha Southey of Maclean’s, who consistently writes some of the most unreadable drivel available in any Canadian publication, and this effort has also been endorsed by Toronto Mayor John Tory.

To discuss this ridiculous controversy, CBC host Carol Off had Vickery Bowles, the city librarian for the Toronto Public Library, on her show As it Happens. It was a brutal conversation. As Bowles calmly laid out the rationale for freedom of speech, Off browbeat her, insinuated that the event would harm transgender people, and basically begged her to cancel the event. A host on a taxpayer-funded state broadcaster spent an entire interview insinuating that a feminist speaker was beyond the pale—even implying that Murphy was akin to a neo-Nazi at one point.

Read this exchange between Off and Bowles. It perfectly encapsulates just how far the Overton Window has shifted, and just how far we’ve moved away from any semblance of sanity in this country: A librarian being berated for allowing a liberal, pro-choice feminist who doesn’t think men with penises should be allowed in girls’ change rooms speak on a panel. These people do not want a discussion. They do not want a debate. They want to silence anyone who still believes in basic biology and refuses to kowtow to an ideology most of them hadn’t even heard of just a few years ago.

Did you know that Megan Murphy would be part of this panel before you rented the space?

Absolutely, we knew that.

And you knew that Ms. Murphy has argued that trans women should not be allowed into women’s locker rooms … bathrooms or prisons, and that allowing people to self-declare their legal gender will “nullify women’s rights.” You knew all of that?

Yes, we did. We were well aware of the Vancouver Public Library controversy, where Meghan Murphy was allowed to speak. There’s actually a YouTube video of that event, which we reviewed.

And the room rental purpose was to have an educational and open discussion on the concept of gender identity and its legislation ramifications on women in Canada.

The purpose of this — to look at what does it mean for society, the law and women — it wasn’t an educational session, was it? This is someone who says that these rights should not exist, is that not the case?

Well, it’s a discussion. It’s part of a civil discourse that people are having in the larger community about gender identity.

What is that discussion? What are the two sides of that discussion?

We are a democratic institution and we are standing up for free speech. That’s what I’m standing up for. I’m not getting into a discussion about the two sides of this issue, or the three sides of this issue, or the four sides of this issue.

But if you have somebody within that discussion who denies that these rights should exist … is that really a side? Or is that denying somebody their rights?

People in the community, on social media, have been describing this as hate speech. It’s not defined under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms … as a hate speech. Otherwise, Megan Murphy would not be allowed to speak about these things. She would be facing criminal charges. But she’s not.

Sometimes … when you’re defending free speech, you’re in a very uncomfortable position where you’re defending perspectives and ideas and viewpoints that many in the community, or a few in the community, whatever, find offensive.

But it’s at that time that it’s most important to stand up for free speech. That is what makes Canada a democratic country, and that is what we need today more than ever.

Sometimes what we call free speech is hurtful speech. And we have a situation, as you know, the numbers are that about 20 per cent of trans people [in Ontario] have been physically or sexually assaulted due to their identity [according to the Canadian Mental Health Association.] Even more have been verbally threatened or harassed. So how do you safeguard them physically and their rights, if you feel that it’s within others’ rights to express ideas that deny those people their rights?

I am committed, and the library is committed, to offering safe and welcoming space for everyone, including members of the trans community.

But as a public library and as a public institution, we have an obligation to stand up for our democratic values and principles, and that free speech is something that protects everyone.

But it really — and I really need to emphasize this — it really protects the marginalized voices in our society. And if it wasn’t for free speech, those marginalized voices would not be heard.

But you also have within your policy that the library reserves right to deny or cancel a booking “that is likely to promote, would have the effect of promoting discrimination, contempt or hatred for any group or person.” Do you think that that is not what was happening here?

There is a very high bar for establishing what is hate speech in this country. It is established in the Criminal Code of Canada, and that bar is very high to allow free speech to flourish.

You think someone has to be charged criminally before you would not allow them to speak in your facilities?

We use the same principles in making decisions about room bookings as we do for our collections, Carol. We have a broad diversity of information and ideas and perspectives that are represented in all the books in our collections, and some of those ideas and perspectives people would find hurtful and painful.

But we’re not going to remove those books from our collection. And we are not going to eliminate programs from our branches that are controversial. And we’re not going to shut down room bookings because the speaker in the room booking has controversial ideas.

Are there any limits to who you would rent the space? I mean, would a Holocaust denier or a white supremacist be able to speak at one of your facilities?

You may recall we had a neo-Nazi group a few years ago rent one of our facilities and we allowed it. And that was for a memorial service. It was based on the purpose of booking.

If the purpose of the booking is going to result in hate speech or a discussion about hate speech, then no, we will not allow it.

Library workers, the union workers, they are very upset about this. They say that the staff has worked very hard to build trust in the community, to create a safe and inclusive space for everyone who uses it, and they feel that this is very damaging to that. What do you say to your own workers?

This is about free speech and, you know, I think that it’s important to understand that when you’re defending free speech, as a democratic institution that the library is, there are times when there are people in that community who are not happy with it, which is certainly the situation we find ourselves in right now with the decisions that we make.

There are limits to free speech. I’m sure you know that. And when free speech is hurtful or harmful to others, it is something that is shutting down the free speech of others. I’m sure you’ve heard that argument before.

Yes, I have.

And you don’t agree, obviously.

No, I don’t. I think that free speech is important, especially … when people are trying to shut down marginalized groups.

The marginalized groups being those who would deny the rights of those trans people, who are feeling this is hurtful. So what about those minority rights? What consideration are you giving to those minority rights?

We’re giving everyone consideration in this situation.

How do you think a trans person … would feel sitting in the room with this panel discussion? Do you think that they would feel safe?

We’ve heard from trans people and other people who are very supportive of us. But they don’t want their voices to be out there. They asked us to keep it in confidence and keep their communication to us in confidence, because they just don’t want reprisal on social media.

And I think that speaks to the fact that this is the controversy that needs to be discussed. I think it’s a controversy that needs to be out there in the public realm.

The mayor of Toronto believes in free speech, but he has asked you to not hold this event. Will you reconsider?

I’m not going to reconsider … supporting free speech.

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The murdered Jews of Austria

By Jonathon Van Maren

It was grey and chilly when I finally found the Judenplatz, a small cobblestoned square surrounded by cafes with the Jewish museum looming on one side. In the centre of the square, a memorial of steel and concrete rose out of the cobblestones to the height of nearly four metres, a strange box ribbed with deep grooves from bottom to top and a set of forbidding sealed doors embedded in the side. It is Vienna’s most prominent Holocaust memorial, and the grooves represent library shelves inside out with the books facing inwards, their titles unknown. It is a monument to the murdered People of the Book, and a plaque in front of the memorial tersely tells the story: “In commemoration of more than 65,000 Austrian Jews who were killed by the Nazis between 1938 and 1945.”

You can find Holocaust memorials in most European cities—some of them are viscerally powerful, while others are simply ugly and confusing. I remember stumbling across one of them, in the Bebelplatz in Berlin, entirely by accident. It is a clear window embedded into the cobblestones where on May 10, 1933, 20,000 books were burned by the Nazis. Joseph Goebbels gave a fiery speech, and his eager young wolves hurled armloads of books onto the blazing pyre. Today, if you peer through the glass, you can see rows and rows of empty bookshelves, enough to contain all the volumes that were incinerated in the early days of the Nazi regime, before they began to shove Jews into the flames, as well. A plaque nearby displays a quote by Heinrich Heine from his 1821 play Almansor: “That was only a prelude; where they burn books, they will in the end also burn people.”

I found this subterranean graveyard library far more compelling then Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which is a bewildering, 19,000-square-metre maze of grey concrete slabs, organized in rows at varying heights. When I wandered through it, I couldn’t tell what it was supposed to mean, and looking into it later, I discovered that this was intentional. The architect, Peter Eisenman, stated that the Memorial was simply supposed to make people uneasy as they attempted to make sense of a system that was supposed to be orderly, but seemed to have “lost touch with human reason.” There was no symbolic significance to the design he had chosen, Eisenman said. The Memorial, like the Holocaust, should overwhelm people, and deny them the ability to try and make sense of something so monumentally evil.

Holocaust memory is a complicated thing, especially in Europe. It took me awhile, but after about an hour of walking I tracked down the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance, a massive archive tucked into a little courtyard off a side street a short walk from the Judenplatz. Founded in 1963 by former members of the Austrian resistance, victims of Nazi persecution, and a number of scholars, the Centre was controversial in its early days—many Austrians did not want to talk about what had transpired during those years, and many of them did not look particularly kindly on members of the resistance. Despite initial hostility, the Centre has collected an enormous Oral History collection containing more than 2,800 tapes of over 1,000 interviews and databases attempting to track the victims of the Nazi regime, especially those who perished in the Holocaust.

A large exhibit was on display when I arrived, filled with large informational plaques, photographs, and artifacts detailing Austria’s journey from Anschluss to the war’s aftermath. Over 1,300 executions were carried out by guillotine here in Vienna, most of them resistance workers, and photograph after photograph revealed the violence that had paralyzed the nation’s capital. On October 8, 1938, for example, the Viennese Hitler Youth took revenge for an anti-Nazi demonstration carried out by Catholic youth in front of St. Stephen’s Cathedral by storming the archbishop’s palace and throwing a priest out of the window. In fact, the only nun to be executed in Austria was also killed in Vienna—Sister Restituta (Helene Kafka), was murdered for opposing Nazi orders in her role as a nurse in Modling and distributing anti-Nazi poems. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1998.

It was the near-total destruction of the Austrian Jews that dominated much of the exhibit. At the outbreak of World War II, there were 70,000 Jews in Austria. The first deportations began already in October of 1939, with many being shipped to Poland and a network of ghettos. Towards the end of 1941, many of the deportees did not even make it that far, but were instead shot almost immediately after they were herded off the trains. Others were shipped to Theresiendstadt, a notorious extermination camp. By October of 1942, only 8,000 Jews were left, most of them partners in mixed marriages. The exhibit displayed deportation lists and revealed the grim statistics. Deportation List No. 11 from Vienna to Kowno on November 23, 1941 listed the names of 1,000 people. None of them survived. Deportation List No. 12 also contained 1,000 names. Only three survived. One of the original lists lay in a glass case, a copy of Deportation List No. 1 from Vienna to Opole on February 15, 1941. Of 1,002 deportees, 28 survived. The list peeked out of a stained yellow envelope, and I could make out the first few names: Abram, Blimie; Adler, Eduard I; Adler, Leopold I…

In one display case, a faded yellow Star of David with the word JUDE stitched into the centre lay next to other artifacts, including a tiny plush dog that was made by the female inmates of Ravensbruck as a present for children who were also imprisoned in the camp. It was a little gift for the Christmas of 1942. There was also prisoner’s uniforms, baggy white and blue-striped clothing that looked like ill-fitting pajamas. Nearby was a green satchel, with a label revealing it to be a “partisan’s fighter’s bag belonging to Janez Wutte-Luc, partisan fighter along the northern part of the Drava.” These were combined with the black-and-white photographs of Vienna festooned with swastikas, one of them showing Adolf Eichmann chatting with a cluster of men in trench coats, twenty-four years before he would be hanged for his crimes against the Jews in a nation formed by the survivors of the Final Solution he was then beginning to implement.

After the war ended, the reckoning began in earnest, with the Allied occupation, denazification, and the People’s Courts set up to punish those who had committed Nazi crimes. The Austrian government was cooperative, but only in order to get the Allies out of their country as soon as possible. Rooting out the Nazis and forcing those who had assisted the regime to face consequences for their actions was something the Austrians were profoundly disinterested in—the government simply wanted to forget about the Nazi era, and quietly offer the average Nazi a swift way to reintegrate. In fact, the Conservative OVP and the Socialist SPO were calling for a relaxation of denazification regulations and an end to prosecutions in 1947, a mere two years after the end of the war. An amnesty was declared in 1949, with many ex-Nazis getting their voting rights back. In fact, the Austrian government attempted to abolish the People’s Courts entirely, but the Allies blocked the effort.

Almost immediately after the Allies left in 1955, the Austrian Parliament wrapped up the People’s Courts, and a general amnesty followed two short years later in 1957. By the mid-1960s, it was only possible to prosecute those who had directly participated in murders. Austria wanted to move on, and publicly, the official position was that Austria had been Hitler’s first victim rather than a participant in the Holocaust and accompanying crimes against humanity. It was not until 1985 that the war record of Kurt Waldheim, who successfully ran for president in 1986, triggered an international conversation on Austria’s role in the Second World War. And it took until 1991 for Federal Chancellor Franz Vranitzky to come forward and confess that Austria had not simply been a helpless victim, but shared the responsibility for many of Nazi Germany’s crimes.

Almost all of the men and women who actually participated in the crimes of the Third Reich are now gone, and in 2014 the Simon Wiesenthal Center launched Operation Last Chance, their final attempt to bring elderly war criminals to justice. I spoke with top Nazi hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff at the time, and he told me that there were still a handful of men they were seeking to bring to justice—if only to once again see the crimes of the Holocaust exposed in open court, where those who seek to ignore or downplay the Shoah would be once again forced to reckon with the inferno that had reduced six million people to ash. As memory slowly fades into history and the men and the monsters who forced the Jews to scrub the cobblestones of Vienna before sending them to their doom descend one by one into the grave, all we have left is black and white photographs of the horrors that once played out across Europe—and concrete memorials that remind us to never, ever forget.

n Va

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Trans activist who said “misgendering is violence” on CNN was once convicted of robbing a store at gunpoint

By Jonathon Van Maren

Those of you who had the misfortune of watching CNN’s LGBTQ town hall last week got treated to the entire progressive clown car unloading on live TV, and the Democratic presidential candidates happily promising to legislate, fund, and champion the entire thing. But even as the CNN hosts and groveling politicians fell all over themselves to swear their allegiance to the rainbow flag and the agenda for which it stands, a few mistakes were made. Chris Cuomo, for example, accidentally made fun of Kamala Harris’ sanctimonious declaration of her pronouns, and promptly took to Twitter to apologize.

But as it turns out, Chris Cuomo need not have worried about his microaggression, as CNN host Nia-Malika Henderson made such an egregious mistake that she found herself accidentally guilty of perpetrating violence against the transgender community (transgender protestors frequently popped up throughout the evening to crash their own party and complain about the evening dedicated to discussing their demands.) When it was former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julian Castro’s turn to promise everything demanded of him, poor Henderson made an awful mistake.

READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN AT LIFESITENEWS.COM

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How progressives are rubbing their LGBTQ agenda in our faces

By Jonathon Van Maren

Douglas Murray’s new book The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race, and Identity is so full of bang-on observation that on nearly every other page I stopped to find myself nodding: That’s exactly it. Murray (who was kind enough to join me on my podcast when the book was first released) packed so much in 256 pages that it is hard, as a reviewer, to know which points to zero in on. I’ll be writing a few columns on Murray’s book, but I’d like to start by Murray’s incisive observation on our current media climate:

Perhaps is requires someone who is gay to say this, but there are times when such ‘news’ reporting doesn’t feel like news reporting at all. Rather it seems that some type of message is being sent out either to the public or to the people whom the media believe to be in positions of power. This goes beyond ‘This will be good to you’ and nearer to the realm of ‘See how you like this, bigot.’ There are days when you wonder how heterosexuals feel about the growing insistence with which gay stories are crow-barred into any and all areas of news.

As an example Murray, takes a look at the New York Times on an average day—October 16, 2017. The lead story in the business section, he notes, was “Gay in Japan and No Longer Invisible.” In Japan, people treat homosexuality with “indifference rather than hate,” and in response, Murray observes drily, the “New York Times had chosen to splash a story over two pages, as their lead Business feature, about how a man had come out in a company with no negative consequences in a country that had no special problem with gays.”

And that wasn’t all, either. “Turn one page and the story continues,” Murray notes, “this time under the headline ‘Companies in Japan More Welcome to Gays.’ By which point the casual reader may well have satisfied their interest in the position of gay men in Japanese companies and begun casting their eye guiltily to the opposite page and the ‘Culture’ section. And what is the lead story and main headline there? ‘A Broader Stage By Love.’” This story is about the proliferation of gender-neutrality and other LGBTQ storylines over at the New York City Ballet, where, “to the amazement of nobody, it turned out that several of the male leads…are themselves gay.”

Now, Murray goes on to say, there “is nothing wrong with a newspaper of record deciding to devote its Business and Culture pages as well as much of its opinion and news pages to stories about being gay. But it sometimes feels as though there is something else going on in all this. The use of gay special interest stories for purposes other than those of actual news: perhaps making up for lost time, or perhaps just rubbing things in the faces of those not yet up to speed with the changed mores of the age. Either way something strange and vaguely retributive is in the air.”

Murray has put his finger firmly on something that many of us have noticed, but few people have been able to articulate: That the nonstop obsession with all things LGBTQ2S+etc is, to put it mildly, disproportionate. And Murray is also correct that progressives are doing this in order to cram their worldview down the throats of the deplorables. As late night host Jimmy Kimmel quipped at the 2018 Oscars about Call Me By Your Name, a romance about an older man’s gay relationship with a 17-year-old boy that picked up four Academy Award nominations: “We don’t make films like ‘Call Me By Your Name’ for money. We make them to upset Mike Pence.”

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Listen to my conversation with Douglas Murray here:

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Archaeologists Uncover Babylonian Destruction of Jerusalem Just How Bible Describes It

I don’t usually post about archaeology, but this bit of news from CBN was too fascinating not to share:

JERUSALEM, Israel – Academics are saying the Bible is trustworthy after discovering evidence of the 6th century Babylonian siege of Jerusalem as it is described in 2 Kings, Chapter 25.

Archaeologists from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, excavating on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, say they have found physical evidence of the Babylonian attack, including burnt material, arrowheads, carbonized wood, bronze, iron, jewelry, and broken pottery.

Dr. Shimon Gibson, co-director of the university’s Mount Zion archaeological project, told CBN News the discoveries were “unexpected.”  The Bible describes King Nebuchadnezzar’s forces burning “every great house” down, including the house of the Lord – Solomon’s Temple. The soldiers also took bronze pillars and vessels from the Temple and carried them back to Babylon while the children of Israel were thrown into exile.

“What we’re finding are the results of that destruction,” Gibson said, adding that Nebuchadnezzar was known as the “Destroyer of Nations” at the time. The researchers also found a particularly rare piece of jewelry with unclear origins.

“It might have been an earring. It might have been a tassel, some kind of ornament. It’s unclear at this point in time. It consists of a golden bell out of which extends this bunch of grapes made out of silver,” Gibson said. While he cannot say conclusively that the archaeologists stumbled upon the remnants of the Babylonian attack, Gibson said it “lines up very well” with the Bible.

In fact, Gibson believes the discoveries prove the Bible to be a reliable and historically accurate document.” There have been over the past several decades a lot of discussion as to the veracity of the biblical account. Some would like to see it more as mythically based, maybe having a basis in history, but still largely a document that is not really to be relied upon,” he explained. “Our excavations prove that to not be the case.”

Gibson said the archaeologists will return to Jerusalem next summer to excavate the site in its entirety.

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Mom sues infamous clinic for transgender children over “inaccurate” information on hormone blockers

By Jonathon Van Maren

As the number of children identifying as transgender has exploded, so has the evidence that the social experiment we are embarking on is going to end very badly for many people—especially those who are inflicting permanent damage to themselves by “transitioning” at younger and younger ages. As I’ve noted many times in this space, rates of transgender children have spiked by over 4,000 percent in the United Kingdom alone, and despite the sheer pace of this phenomenon, anyone who attempts to point out that perhaps more discussion is needed when the impact on children is so significant is promptly shouted down.

The most egregious enabler of this phenomenon has been England’s state-funded Tavistock Clinic in Leeds, which focuses primarily on assisting children who wish to “transition” to the opposite sex. Tavistock has already lied about whether puberty blockers are reversible—a recent study noted that these so-called treatments are “devastating” and “irreversible”and they have attracted some controversy for their willingness to employ their “Gender Identity Development Service” on very young children. And now, the Times reported last week, the clinic is being sued by a mother who is accusing them of carrying out “experimental” treatments on children—children who cannot possibly understand what is happening to them.

READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN AT LIFESITENEWS.COM

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Ben Shapiro didn’t “threaten” Beto O’Rourke. He just explained that people of faith will protect their children at all costs.

By Jonathon Van Maren

Last week, the Democratic presidential candidates showed up at CNN’s LGBTQ Town Hall and bet the farm. As I noted in my column at the time, they finally dropped the pretence that their position was all about “tolerance” and revealed they were all in for the LGBTQ alphabet soup crowd’s entire agenda—transgender children, federally-funded sex changes, third gender options on federal identification, the speedy passage of the Equality Act—and, to top it off, Beto O’Rourke promised that any religious institutions or churches that continued to oppose marrying same-sex couples would lose their tax-exempt status. This, of course, would financially cripple many churches and religious institutions overnight.

It was the first time that a Democratic presidential candidate has actually said that out loud, but I’m willing to bet that you would get the exact same answer from every other Democrat running. That’s precisely why liberal commentators at Slate.com, The Atlantic, and the The Huffington Post were so upset with Beto for opening his big mouth—because they know that this policy, for the moment, will lose them votes in Rust Belt states that they need to win back from Trump, and it will also shore up evangelical support and increase GOP voter intensity. They all agree privately that this needs to happen someday soon, but they’d like to win back the reigns of power before they start saying this publicly.

Progressive media figures promptly found a way to distract from the fact that the Democratic Party just confirmed their desire to nuke traditional religious institutions: They spent the weekend claiming that conservative pundit Ben Shapiro had threatened violence against Beto O’Rourke in response to O’Rourke’s impromptu policy announcement. During his Friday podcast, Shapiro clearly laid out precisely what the policy promises made at the LGBTQ Town Hall meant for America and for the future of the culture wars—and his blunt and shrewd observations appear to have made the Left very, very nervous.

O’Rourke’s proposal, Shapiro pointed out, runs counter to “the fundamental rights that the Constitution was created in order to protect”—and even more worrisome, it would inevitably result in parents being stripped of their right to choose in regard to where their children attend school. Shapiro went on, laying out for those who hold to traditional beliefs on life, marriage, and family what Beto’s assertion means for the United States:

Your mere existence is an infringement, according to Beto O’Rourke. The institutional existence [of traditional religious organizations] is an infringement on liberty, according to Beto O’Rourke, and you must be shut down. You want a culture war in this country? You d*** well have it, Beto O’Rourke. You want a culture war in this country? You want this country to come apart at the seams? This is how you do it.

Because, I promise you, if you come to tell me that you’re going to indoctrinate my kids into a particular policy and that I can’t pull my kid out of the school and send my kid to a school I want to send them to — that I can’t go to the church or synagogue that I want to go to–and if you make that national policy — not just California policy, where I can move, but national policy, people are not going to stand for that. They’re not going to stand for that. And if you send a truant officer to remove my child, I have two choices at that point, right? If I have no place to move because you have now made this national, federal policy, I now have two choices: One is to leave the country utterly. Two is to pick up a gun. Those are the only choices you have left me.

And now people on the Left [will say] how can you say stuff like that? How you can be so extreme? It’s not extreme to defend the fundamental rights that the Constitution was created in order to protect. These rights pre-exist government. My right to raise my child in my faith is my right. That is a First Amendment right. There is only one reason the government exists: to protect those rights, not to invade those rights. It is my right to raise my child with the moral precepts that I find to be beneficial for my child. Beto O’Rourke does not to get to raise my child — and if he tries, I will meet him at the door with my gun. That is insane.

Eager to distract from Beto’s big mouth, progressives promptly blew up Twitter with selective clips of a nearly hour-long podcast claiming that Ben Shapiro had actually threatened Beto O’Rourke, and that he was very obviously attempting to trigger a mass shooting (for mysterious reasons they didn’t bother to articulate.) Anyone who understands English and actually bothered to listen to what Shapiro was saying, of course, can tell that he was very obviously not saying anything of the sort, but that is besides the point. The Left wanted to change the channel from a discussion about how the Democratic presidential candidates plan to target American evangelicals and other people of faith to a discussion about one commentator’s alleged over-reaction to that plan.

The truth is that many, many religious people have been quietly discussing precisely what Ben Shapiro laid out last Friday: If progressives were to come after our freedom to educate and raise our children as we see fit, what would we do? Where would we go? Christians can live with virtually any level of discrimination—with the sole exception of laws that target our ability to raise our children in our own traditions and beliefs. If the progressives come for that—and I have no doubt that they plan to—the discussion begins centre around a handful of radical and previously unthinkable options. Ben Shapiro responded to Beto O’Rourke’s revelation of what Democrats believe privately by stating out loud what many Christians and other people of faith have been saying privately.

So it appears that everyone’s cards are on the table.

***********

Watch Shapiro’s words–in their actual context–for yourself:

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British court rules that belief in the Bible is “incompatible with human dignity” after Baptist doctor refuses to call bearded man “madam”

By Jonathon Van Maren

Last year, I wrote about a story out of the United Kingdom, where a Reformed Baptist doctor was fired from his job as a medical assessor after declining to embrace the new ideology of gender fluidity—specifically, when his manager asked him if he would be willing to call a 6-foot-tall bearded man “madam,” he stated that he would not. Dr. David Mackareth had worked as an emergency doctor for the National Health Service for 26 years, and he took his case to court. On October 1, however, a British court essentially rules that Mackareth’s believe in the truth of the Bible was “incompatible with human dignity.” From The Daily Wire:

The court’s ruling stated: “Belief in Genesis 1:27, lack of belief in transgenderism and conscientious objection to transgenderism in our judgment are incompatible with human dignity and conflict with the fundamental rights of others, specifically here, transgender individuals.” The court added. “… in so far as those beliefs form part of his wider faith, his wider faith also does not satisfy the requirement of being worthy of respect in a democratic society, not incompatible with human dignity and not in conflict with the fundamental rights of others.”

Mackareth, who is planning to appeal this ruling, responded by noting how dangerous of a precedent this court decision sets for Christians in a number of fields:

I am not alone in being deeply concerned by this outcome. Staff in the NHS, even those who do not share my Christian convictions, are also disturbed as they see their own freedom of thought and speech being undermined by the judges’ ruling. No doctor, or researcher, or philosopher, can demonstrate or prove that a person can change sex. Without intellectual and moral integrity, medicine cannot function and my 30 years as a doctor are now considered irrelevant compared to the risk that someone else might be offended.

As I wrote in my 2016 book The Culture War, the Sexual Revolution has pit sexual freedoms against the freedoms we have long taken for granted: Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of association. At the moment, right across the West, these new sexual freedoms—and the coming years will surely produce more of them—are eroding and replacing those fundamental freedoms necessary for our society to flourish.

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Center for Medical Progress abortion trial reveals that hearts must be “harvested” from living babies

By Jonathon Van Maren

The ongoing trial of David Daleiden, Sandra Merritt, Troy Newman, and several others on the Planned Parenthood baby body parts scandal continues to reveal new and gruesome details about the abortion industry. LifeSiteNews has been doing fantastic reporting from San Francisco, where the trial is taking place, and you’ll notice that the abortion orgs and their media allies have been as silent as an abortionist’s conscience as the trial continues to unearth new evidence that the abortion industry is engaging in unmitigated brutality against the youngest and weakest members of the human family.

Consider these recent details from one LifeSite report:

In a startling twist, one of the United States’ longest-practicing abortionists took the stand this week in a California courtroom to defend undercover pro-life investigators David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. Dr. Forrest Smith, an obstetrician-gynecologist who is also an abortionist in California, told the San Francisco court that not only did Daleiden’s and Merritt’s now-famous videos expose the gruesome truth about the abortion industry’s trade in fetal body parts, but that things are even worse than they knew.

Smith testified that it is almost certain that some of the abortionists featured in the undercover videos deliberately altered abortion procedures in a way that both led to the birth of living babies with beating hearts, and put women at risk. The goal in these cases would be to obtain fresher, more intact organs…An ob/gyn who trained at Duke University, Smith told the court that he’s “the longest practicing abortion doctor in the United States today” and that he has done at least 50,000 abortions.

Smith said he was retained by the defense as an expert to review the material, such as videos, articles, testimony of Does 9, 10 and 12 (those accusing Daleiden and Merritt of illegally taping them cannot be named by judge’s order) to assess whether the defendants’ belief that babies were being born alive during abortions was reasonable. Smith testified that he reviewed video footage of a presentation given by Alisa Goldberg at a 2014 Planned Parenthood conference that advocated the use of large doses of misoprostol to complete a second-trimester induced abortion procedure in one day. According to Smith, Goldberg’s presentation suggests that Planned Parenthood abortionists were employing a method that was likely to result in live births.

The accepted method for this type of abortion is to dilate the cervix by inserting laminaria, or seaweed sticks, one or two days before the abortion, depending on the baby’s gestational age. Misoprostol can act as a cervical preparation agent in small doses of 25 to 100 mg to soften the cervix for an induction of a term pregnancy, Smith said. But large doses of 300 to 400 mg every three to four hours to induce labor for an abortion – as Planned Parenthood abortionists were apparently doing – will trigger “tumultuous labor” that will result in “fetal expulsion,” in which “the fetus comes out without any assistance from the abortion doctor, no instrumentation…There’s no question in my mind that at least some of these fetuses were live births,” Smith replied.

For years, the abortion industry has been denying what we know for a fact: That babies are sometimes born alive after abortion procedures, and then either killed or left to die. In these cases, of course, the babies are kept alive in order to harvest fresher organs. As World Magazine reported:

“Very few people in abortion, outside of Planned Parenthood, do that,” Smith said on the stand. On the final day of the hearing, stem cell scientist Theresa Deisher testified that fetal hearts used in studies must be harvested from living babies. She said the heart “has to be beating and be arrested in a relaxed position.” If the baby dies beforehand, the heart contracts and cannot be used.

Why is this not major news on every TV network and on every front page? Because the mainstream media is assisting in the coverup of the greatest injustice in human history. For years, they have been calling the Center for Medical Progress “liars.” For years, they have been saying that the videos released by Daleiden and his team were “deceptively edited” and “discredited.”

So what about the fact that it has now been proven, in court, by an abortionist who is still practicing his grisly trade, that the horrors exposed by the journalists at the Center for Medical Progress are even worse than we thought? Or that beating hearts are being cut out of the chests of living babies?

Then, the media grows as silent as the grave.

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Beto’s plan to target churches simply echoes what most Democratic politicians quietly believe

By Jonathon Van Maren

As those of you who read my rundown last week will know, the Democratic Party formally came out of the closet last week at the CNN LGBTQ Town Hall. They promised everything that was requested and more—Joe Biden almost took a lunge at Anderson Cooper at one point—and made it clear (if it wasn’t already) that they have chosen their side in the culture war. The gay marriage debate is not about “equal rights” or “tolerance” or anything like that. It is about one side winning, and the other side losing. And in this case, the winners want to crush the losers, and the Democratic Party is eager to help.

This is not a surprise, in some ways. After all, same-sex marriage was only legalized across the US in 2015 and already we’ve got bakers, photographers, and other professionals being driven out of business, LGBTQ education being installed in schools right across the country, drag queens reading stories to children in public libraries, and transgender 9-year-olds showing up on CNN to wild applause and the warm support of Democrat who should be old enough to know better. It bears mentioning that when Christians warned that this sort of thing was inevitable, the LGBT crowd called us liars. That was a tactic on their part, not the truth. They knew they were lying.

Beto O’Rourke is like the kid at the supper table who looks at his parents with innocent eyes and says, right in front of the guests: But I thought you said you hated it when they come over? The fact that it is true does not make it any less embarrassing. It is not the time or the place to say such a thing. So when Beto blurted out that it was his view that religious institutions and churches who hold to the traditional view of marriage should be punished by losing their tax-exempt status, the Left was furious. Not because they disagree with him, mind you—they just do not think it is a smart thing to say right now. One thing at a time, Beto. One thing at a time.

Because it is not the time—you wait until after an election before screwing people you want to vote for you—and not the place, either. You say that sort of thing at a New York cocktail party, not on CNN where some of the rubes might hear you. Thus, Tom Nichols in USA Today demanded to know why the Democrats seem so intent on blowing the next election:

When we watched CNN’s LGBTQ town hall for the Democratic candidates Thursday, we had very different reactions. This is the event, you remember, where former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas said he’d punish religious institutions for refusing gay marriage, and where Sen. Kamala Harris of California started by informing us of her pronouns, and then host Chris Cuomo, after a mild and dopey joke, had to go on Twitter the next day and apologize for making light of it. This is where Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts fielded a question about traditional marriage with a sneering, smug insinuation that the only people who would ask her about that are men who can’t find a woman.

You thought it was great. You saw a ringing defense of LGBTQ rights and a reaffirmation of what Democrats stand for. I saw it and thought: Are these people insane? Are they trying to lose the election?

No, they’re not. They just can’t help themselves, and the fact that Trump is a one man trainwreck right now has perhaps allowed that pre-2016 arrogance to begin creeping back in. They’re forgetting that they need the deplorables, and that insulting them and coming off as rainbow Pharisees is not going to assist their election chances. John Inazu, professor of law and religion at Washington University in St. Louis, took it even further in The Atlantic:

[Beto]’s view isn’t entirely new to Democrats. It echoes, for example, then–Solicitor General Donald Verrilli’s concession during his oral argument in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 that the tax-exempt status of Christian colleges and universities who hold traditional views of marriage was “going to be an issue.” And it aligns with the Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet’s policy recommendation to take a “hard line” with religious conservatives because, after all, “trying to be nice to the losers didn’t work well after the Civil War,” and “taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945.”

…We can be certain this issue will be used in Republican political ads, especially in congressional districts that Obama won in 2012, but that Trump won in 2016. And I suspect this issue and O’Rourke’s framing of it will lead to increased turnout of evangelicals in states that matter to Democrats, such as Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. O’Rourke’s comment may quickly fall out of the national news cycle, but it won’t be forgotten among churches, religious organizations, and religious voters. And if the Democrats lose in 2020, this issue and their handling of it will likely be a contributing factor. That will be true regardless of who the eventual Republican or Democratic candidates are.

Second, journalists should ask O’Rourke and every other Democratic candidate how this policy position would affect conservative black churches, mosques and other Islamic organizations, and orthodox Jewish communities, among others. It is difficult to understand how Democratic candidates can be “for” these communities—advocating tolerance along the way—if they are actively lobbying to put them out of business.

Third, policy analysts should assess the damage O’Rourke’s proposal would cause to the charitable sector. O’Rourke’s stance—if played out to its end—would decimate the charitable sector. It is certainly the case that massive amounts of government funding flow through religious charitable organizations in the form of grants and tax exemptions. But anyone who thinks this is simply a pass-through that can be redirected to government providers or newly established charitable networks that better conform to Democratic orthodoxies is naive to the realities of the charitable sector.

Beto O’Rourke is a very useful figure on the national stage because he has nothing to lose, and thus he is able to say what the Democrats believe but cannot say for the moment. There’s not a single Democratic candidate who doesn’t agree with him on gun buybacks, on the elimination of religious liberty, and on abortion-until-birth (except perhaps for Tulsi Gabbard.) Ironically, he has become the Democratic truth-teller. The Democrats assure the public that they only wish to pursue reasonable policies, and would never attempt to infringe on basic rights.

And then, aflame with zeal, Beto shows up: What do you mean? Of course we’re going to take your guns, cripple your churches, and radically reduce your freedoms overnight! We all talk about it all the time!

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Teachers and parents demanding a stop to gender-neutral bathrooms after girls refuse to use them

By Jonathon Van Maren

The backlash is continuing against the gender-neutral bathrooms transgender activists are demanding. Earlier this month, I noted a story in this month’s edition of The Atlantic, written by a parent who discussed the chaos that resulted when the school decided to eliminate gender designations for student bathrooms — without consulting the parents. This parent — who is very much a liberal — described the profound discomfort of the students, some of whom simply refused to use the bathroom while at school and waited until the school day was over.

According to the Daily Mail, these policies are having a similar impact in the United Kingdom, where gender-neutral bathrooms “have left girls feeling unsafe and even put their health at risk,” according to both teachers and parents. In fact, they reported, the surge in primary and secondary schools implementing gender-neutral bathrooms has made girls “who are menstruating so anxious about sharing facilities with boys that some are staying at home for fear of being made to feel ‘period shame.’” Some are even “risking infections by refusing to urinate all day,” and others are coping by refusing to drink liquids while at school.

READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN AT LIFESITENEWS.COM

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Thousands march against abortion in Vienna

By Jonathon Van Maren

I’ve had a fascinating few days here in Vienna, Austria, after being invited to speak at the March for Life by ProLife Europe, a new organization that is setting up pro-life campus clubs across the continent. Those of you who read this blog regularly will remember that I met with the president of ProLife Europe, Manuela Steiner, in Salzburg earlier this year, and this week I had the opportunity to sit down with their whole team and talk through pro-life strategy, apologetics, recruitment, and outreach. They have an exceptional team and I’m looking forward to seeing this passionate movement grow and put boots on the ground on university campuses where abortion is almost never discussed.

The opening rally for the March for Life was being held in the Stephansplatz, so I headed down Mariahilferstrasse, the main avenue that cuts through Vienna’s trendy Sixth District. It is lined with gorgeous trees, and the green leaves were beginning to smolder with spots of yellow and gold, and here and there bunches had already burst into flame, stoked by the crisp autumn winds. American chain stores, Viennese coffee houses, and a mixture of fancy and fast food restaurants lined the strip, while elegant women with the pursed faces of people with things on their minds clopped past briskly and students covered the tables on the verandas with their papers and textbooks. The most obtrusive building was once an enormous World War II anti-aircraft tower that juts above the skyline like a sore thumb—it is now home to an aquarium.

One of the things I enjoy most about European cities is the statues scattered everywhere, some of them famous—like the increasingly green Goethe near a cluster of palaces in historic city centre—and many others forgotten to everyone but the most avid history buffs. I found the 17nth-century Holy Trinity Column near St. Stephen’s Cathedral, built to commemorate plague victims, particularly impressive. A massive and muscular club-wielding Hercules with pulsing pectorals and the slithering heads of a hydra entwining around his legs was carved on one of the entryways to the Hofburg Palace appeared almost alive, and various military figures atop their steeds (the courtyards still echo with the hoofbeats of Vienna’s famous horse-drawn cabs) are almost ubiquitous.

By noon, families were pouring into the square around the magnificent St. Stephen’s Cathedral, where a service was being held prior to the March for Life (an accompanying service was also being held at a nearby evangelical church.) I could faintly hear the shouting of protestors from around the corner, but dozens of Austrian police officers were maintaining a strict cordon between the opposing groups. When Vienna attempted to refuse pro-lifers the right to a March several years ago, the pro-lifers sued them and won. Now, police ringed nearly the entire March route, with one newspaper complaining that the entire city had been shut down and thrown into chaos.

I counted about 35 counter-protestors, a predictable mashup of the usual suspects. There was a rainbow banner, another declaring the group to be “Against Homophobia,” and some hand-scrawled signs expressing support for abortion. One showed an angry cartoon uterus shoving away a cross, and despite sporadic English chants of “My body! My choice!” they appeared to be a pretty unhappy group, especially as the square began to fill up with happy families pushing strollers and others of all ages. The March organizers were handing out hundreds of red balloons, and soon the sky over the 13nth century cathedral was dotted with drifting dots of red. When the bells in the church began to thunder, they drowned out the protestors entirely, and it seemed to be a fitting image.

By the time I followed several other speakers onto the stage just below the St. Stephen’s belltower, the crowd stretched all the way to the corners of the square, a sea of red balloons and smiling faces. Manuela translated my speech on the pro-life argument: Human beings have human rights, human rights begin when the human being begins, and science tells us when a new, unique human life begins. Thus, abortion is a violation of human rights, the cruel killing of the youngest and most vulnerable member of the human family. It is also a violation of everything natural: The mother’s maternal instinct, the father’s protective instinct, and the very humanity of the child who perishes. The crowd, of course, was in full agreement.

With chants of “Pro-life! Pro-life!” and accompanying cheers and roars of approval, the crowd—4,000 strong—left St. Stephens and began the march down the Ring Road surrounding the historic city centre. Passersby stopped to take pictures, and most of them peered at the signs with either interest or indifference. Only twice did anyone boo or shout in disagreement, and police officers keeping pace on either side of the boulevard were a reassuring presence. The protestors, who probably realized that not even the media would be able to favorably compare their crowd numbers, didn’t bother to protest the actual march.

We headed past the Opera House, through the Hofburg, the residence of the Habsburgs for 600 years, and wound our way to the final location, where more rousing speeches were delivered from a second stage that had already been set up. The organizers were thrilled—the March for Life here has only been going on for four years, and last year 2,500 had attended. This year, they were hoping for at least 3,000, but exceeded their own expectations with a crowd of 4,000 pro-lifers. It was incredibly encouraging for them to see so many people, many of them with their whole families, come out to show the country that thousands rejected the Culture of Death—and were willing to take that message to the streets of the capital.

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The mask has slipped: At CNN’s LBTQ Town Hall, Dem candidates mock Christians and promise to deny tax-exempt status to churches

By Jonathon Van Maren

So CNN held their LGBTQ Town Hall last night for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, and the rest of us got a good look at where this country is headed if they manage to retake power (which Trump’s bumbling seems to be abetting at the moment.) Many conservative commentators are trumpeting the fact that the Democrats let their mask slip and will consequently turn off many voters, but I think we may have just gotten a clear glimpse of the future. Maybe not in 2020, but someday soon—and perhaps sooner than we think.

The sheer grovelling of both the CNN hosts and the Democratic candidates, combined with an obviously desperate desire to please and faux sincerity that occasionally triggered applause when the audience approved of their performance, was genuinely nauseating to watch at times. In many cases, the candidates brought themselves to tears—although they and the hosts took so much chastisement from the triumphalist LGBTQ activists grilling them that perhaps the tears were nearer the surface than they had anticipated.

Kamala Harris, for example, walked out and announced to Chris Cuomo that “My pronouns are she, her, and hers.” Even Cuomo didn’t know what to say, and cracked a joke that in today’s media climate counts as blasphemy: “Me, too.” Realizing his faux paux, he promptly took to Twitter to beg forgiveness: “PLEASE READ: When Sen. Harris said her pronouns she her and her’s, I said mine too. I should not have. I apologize. I am an ally of the LGBTQ community, and I am sorry because I am committed to helping us achieve equality.” In other words: Please don’t cancel me! I promise I’ll do better!

One transgender person actually grabbed the mic away from a questioner and started screaming that CNN was aiding and abetting the murder of trans people by “erasing” “trans people of color,” and promptly received wild applause from the crowd. Don Lemon thanked the protestor for the disturbance and gave her the mic while Beto stood there with the most understanding and sanctimonious face he could muster. When another CNN host brought in “Shea Diamond,” Diamond recoiled, proving that you can never be woke enough to please those who wield the power: “It’s She-ah Diamond. Put that on record. Yes, honey, it’s violence to misgender or to alter the name of a trans person, so let’s always get that right first.” As it turns out, you can even commit accidental violence at a CNN LGBTQ Town Hall. With that in mind, who is safe? Who cannot be convicted of “violence” under this definition and under a regime where these people run the show?

Beto hurried to assure the crowd that under an imaginary Beto presidency, religious institutions—including churches—who maintained the traditional position of all three major monotheistic religions (and other faiths to boot) would lose tax-exempt status, a policy that would deal a crippling blow to an enormous number of religious organizations. Beto was simply verbalizing what LGBTQ activists have been demanding for some time—and with his announcement, he shifted the Overton Window for the Left by making it acceptable to begin openly musing about the idea. This will become mainstream on the progressive Left, and soon. After all, their reasons to reject the idea are not principled, but strategic. It is a waiting game, nothing more. Churches would do well to begin preparing for this.

In one night, the Democratic candidates revealed who the new masters of their party really are, and there was almost nothing they were not willing to promise. Amy Klobuchar told a person identifying as “non-binary”—neither male nor female—that she would recognize a third gender marker on ID at a federal level (without explaining how she could sleep at night discriminating against the dozens of other genders.) A mother who brought her 9-year-old transgender child to the Town Hall beamed exuberantly as the crowd cheered wildly and Elizabeth Warren fell all over herself to show her approval of all of this. Later, Warren promised she would support federal funding for prisoners who wanted a sex change.

It was Warren, interestingly, who was the most brazen in showcasing the contempt this pack of presidential hopefuls feels for Christians and others who still hold to the traditional understanding of marriage. “Let’s say you’re on the campaign trail and a supporter approaches you and says, ‘Senator, I am old-fashioned and my faith teaches me that marriage is between one man and one woman’, what is your response?” a CNN host asked her. Warren was ready. “Well, I’m going to assume it’s a guy who says that. And I’m going to say to just marry one woman, I’m cool with that — assuming you can find one,” Warren said to loud cheers and applause from the crowd.

Get it? Only rubes, idiots, and incels could possibly believe what nearly everybody believed prior to the year 2000, including Obama, the Clintons, and nearly every other Democrat. These people pretend to want to persuade Middle America to join them on their runaway rainbow train, but that’s only because they don’t have power yet. Already, they’re committing to things that they would have denied under oath a very, very short time ago. The cultural ground is shifting under our feet, and the Democrats have now openly declared their allegiance. Sure, most of us suspected they were headed in this direction. But now, they’ve told us that they’re already there—and they’re going to cripple churches, mock Christians, and impose their agenda on us by every means they have available to them to drag us along with them.

And if their political prospects begin to surge, they may soon have precisely what they need to do so.

WATCH:

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Communist China is harvesting organs from religious prisoners, running concentration camps–while making deals with the West

By Jonathon Van Maren

Just as the Evil Empire was beginning to crumble and the Cold War was finally coming to an end with a victory for the West, the world was stunned when Communist China massacred students and other unarmed protestors in a brutal crackdown in Tiananmen Square. Many had hoped that Red China might slowly move away from totalitarianism and embrace Western ideals, and those hopes died with the dissidents who were gunned down in public and in full view of the global community.

Despite the fact that Red China had wracked up a kill count of somewhere around 65 million, had forcibly aborted millions of predominantly female children with their One Child Policy, imprisoned Christians and other religious minorities, and ran full-scale concentration camps for those the regime wished to oppress, the West decided to welcome China into the global community in the hopes that China could be moved toward democratic reform by prosperity.

That, it goes without saying, has not happened. Instead, China represents a terrifying new form of totalitarianism: One that is creating wealth without freedom. As quality of life rises for many Chinese people, the Communist government is experimenting with unprecedented forms of surveillance that make dystopian films look behind the times, with everything from “facial recognition towers” (some of which are getting pulled down during the Hong Kong protests) to a “ranking system” that can essentially reduce you to a non-person if you manage to get enough demerit points from the regime.

It’s easy to forget how evil the Chinese regime is as our analysts and talking heads obsess over trade and tariffs and cheap junk they’re sending us from the underpaid labourers in their factories. On my LifeSiteNews podcast recently, pro-life activist Jason Jones told the brutal story of how Chinese authorities once rounded up dozens of pregnant Uighur women, tied them down, and subjected them to forced abortions. Similar stories were recounted in the recent documentary One Child Nation, which took a close, hard look at China’s One Child Policy. And then there’s stories like this October 5 report by Amie Ferris-Rotman in the Washington Post:

The women have found refuge from Chinese authorities across the border in Kazakhstan, their ancestral homeland. But they remain haunted by the stories of abuse they carry with them. Some said that they were forced to undergo abortions in China’s Muslim-majority province of Xinjiang, others that they had contraceptive devices implanted against their will while in detention. One reported being raped. Many said they were subjected to sexual humiliation, incidents that included being filmed in the shower and having their intimate parts rubbed with chile paste.

The allegations come as China expands a years-long crackdown on its Muslim minority, which includes not only Uighurs but also Kazakhs and other ethnic groups. While the experiences described could not be independently verified, local rights groups and lawyers say they are common — and reveal a wider pattern of abuse directed specifically against women, aimed at curbing their ability to reproduce.

In December 2017, Gulzira Mogdyn, a 38-year-old ethnic Kazakh and Chinese citizen, was detained in Xinjiang after a visit to Kazakhstan because WhatsApp was found on her phone. She was placed under house arrest and examined by doctors at a nearby clinic, who discovered she was 10 weeks pregnant. “Two humans were lost in this tragedy — my baby and me,” Mogdyn said during an interview on the outskirts of Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city…A Kazakh woman with close relatives remaining in China was forced to undergo two abortions, in 2016 and 2017, while living in Xinjiang, her lawyer said. Aiman Umarova, a Kazakh human rights advocate and State Department honoree, said her client is seeking refuge in a Kazakh city and does not wish to be identified for fear of retribution. Umarova sees the women’s stories as forming a pattern. 

“Sexually violating women, including stopping them from reproducing, has become a weapon for China against its Muslim population,” she said. The U.S. government and human rights groups estimate that between 1 million and 3 million Muslims have been detained in Chinese “reeducation camps” since 2017, most of them Uighurs. The Washington Post spoke with two men, including an Australian citizen named Almas Nizamidin, who suspect that their wives, both Uighurs still in detention in Xinjiang, were forced to terminate their pregnancies at a camp in 2017. 

Under China’s one-child policy, abortions and contraceptives were encouraged — and often enforced — by officials tasked with keeping the population down. Exceptions were granted for ethnic minorities, who were allowed one more child than Han Chinese. The policy was abandoned three years ago, but that has not prevented the recent move to curb ethnic populations, said Leta Hong Fincher, a scholar and expert on gender equality in China. “There is a clear tightening of control over the reproductive rights of ethnic minorities,” she said. 

In addition to mistreating detained women, rights groups and experts say, Beijing has pursued a campaign to erase Muslim culture in Xinjiang, by pushing interethnic marriages and sending Chinese officials for “home stays” with Muslim families, part of efforts by President Xi Jinping’s government to assimilate ethnic minorities. All of this amounts to genocide as laid out by the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, said Rushan Abbas, founder and executive director of the Washington-based Campaign for Uyghurs…Some allegations extend further back. After the Urumqi riots in 2009, which analysts say triggered the harsh security measures now in place across Xinjiang, ­Islamic studies student Ruqiye Perhat was held in various prisons for four years. 

There, the Uighur woman says, she was repeatedly raped by Han Chinese guards, resulting in two pregnancies. “Any woman or man under age 35 was raped and sexually abused,” she said through an interpreter from Turkey, where she now lives. Both pregnancies were forcibly aborted while she was in prison, said Perhat, who is now 30. Several female former detainees said they suspect that when younger and unmarried women were taken from their packed cells at night — to be returned the next morning or not at all — they were raped by guards.

“They’d come in and put bags on the heads of the ones they wanted,” said Gulzira Auelkhan, a 40-year-old woman in the Kazakh village of Akshi who spent 18 months in the camps. In May, an open letter written by a former guard at a Xinjiang camp appeared to support the women’s claims. His account, which was posted by activists, has not been independently verified. The ethnic Kazakh man, called Berik, said Chinese officers would watch women in their cells through a monitor before selecting one to take out. “There are two tables in the kitchen, one for snacks and liquor, and the other for ‘doing things,’ ” he wrote.

Other women contacted by The Post described widespread sexual harassment at the camps, echoing public comments last month by Sayragul Sauytbay, an ethnic Kazakh woman wanted by China for disclosing information about the camps. Kazakhstan allowed her to resettle in Sweden in June. Several said they were forced to shower and use the toilet in groups, in rooms outfitted with cameras. Auelkhan said female guards used chewing gum to pull on her pubic hair. Married women offered conjugal visits were ordered to swallow unknown pills afterward. 

Ground chile peppers mixed with water in small glass jars were given to several women before showering. Once naked, they were ordered by female guards to smear the liquid on their genitals. “It burned like fire,” one woman recalled. 

Asked to respond to the allegations, China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry referred The Post to a government paper released in August on plans to combat terrorism through education and training, including a section on “protecting trainees’ basic rights.” “You wouldn’t raise such questions if you had carefully read the white paper,” the ministry said in a faxed response. In July, when the United States was in the middle of a trade war with China, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Beijing’s treatment of Uighurs “the stain of the century.” But elsewhere, the response has been tepid. Even Muslim-majority countries have stood by China.

And this report in the Post isn’t even the most appalling information about the Chinese regime this month. That distinction would go to the Independent’s revelation that the Chinese government is cutting the organs out of prisoners while they are still alive in order to sell them for profit:

The Chinese government is harvesting and selling organs from persecuted religious and ethnic minorities on an industrial scale, the UN Human Rights Council has been told. Speaking at the council’s headquarters in Geneva on Tuesday, lawyer Hamid Sabi presented the findings of the China Tribunal, an independent tribunal on allegations of forced organ harvesting.

Mr Sabi told the council that UN member states have a “legal obligation” to act after the tribunal’s final report in June found that “the commission of crimes against humanity against the Falun Gong and Uighur [minorities] had been proved beyond reasonable doubt”. The China Tribunal was chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, a prosecutor at the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia who led the case against Slobodan Milošević, and heard evidence from human rights investigators, medical experts and witnesses.

It concluded that there was clear evidence China had been extracting organs from, and thereby killing, members of the Falun Gong spiritual group for at least 20 years, and that the practice was ongoing today. Detainees were “killed to order… cut open while still alive for their kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, cornea and skin to be removed and turned into commodities for sale”, the tribunal’s final judgement said. The tribunal said there was also possible evidence, though in less volume, of forced organ harvesting in detainees from the Uighur Muslim minority, as well as Tibetans and some Christian sects.

China’s campaign of detention and “re-education” of more than a million Uighurs in the northwestern Xinjiang province has gained significant international attention and condemnation. The tribunal found evidence they were “being used as a bank of organs” and subjected to regular medical testing. China has repeatedly denied the use of unethical organ transplant practices, and said that it stopped using the organs from executed prisoners in 2015. In a statement earlier this year, it accused the London-based China Tribunal of perpetuating “rumours”.

But Sir Geoffrey, also speaking on Tuesday at a separate NGO-hosted UN event, said the evidence collated by the tribunal meant the international community “can no longer avoid what it is inconvenient for them to admit”. The organ transplant industry is estimated to earn China more than $1bn (£801.4m) a year, according to the tribunal. Sir Geoffrey called on the International Transplant Society and national medical associations dealing with transplant surgery to “face up to what is revealed in the China Tribunal judgment and act”. Some countries, including Italy, Spain, Israel and Taiwan, already have restrictions in place for those seeking to travel to China for organ transplant surgery.

And the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (Etac), which initiated the China Tribunal, said it expects a private members bill to stop unethical organ tourism will be tabled in the UK parliament in October. Etac is hoping its findings will prompt the Human Rights Council to open up a UN Commission of Inquiry into forced organ harvesting in China, said Susie Hughes, the organisation’s executive director. In his speech, Mr Sabi said that the targeting of minority groups for organ harvesting amounted to a “possible charge of genocide”, and compared it to other examples of mass religious or racial persecution in recent history.

“Victim for victim and death for death, the gassing of the Jews by the Nazis, the massacre by the Khmer Rouge or the butchery to death of the Rwanda Tutsis may not be worse than cutting out the hearts and other organs from living, blameless, harmless, peaceable people,” he told the Human Rights Council. “It is the legal obligation of UN Member States to address this criminal conduct.”

And so Red China, despite vicious persecution, horrifying human rights abuses, and gulags seething with prisoners, continues to rise as it becomes economically intertwined with the West. Mao was far more murderous than Stalin, and Chairman Xi Jinping makes Vladimir Putin look positively benign, but it appears that we’re going to largely ignore all of that. But, as Peter Hitchens points out in a brilliant set of columns in his book Short Breaks in Mordor, it will be interesting to discover whether China’s new hybrid model of totalitarianism-with-prosperity is successful. If it is—aided by Western interests increasingly married to Communist China’s—we will have entered a new and unpredictable era.

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Pedophilia advocate trumpets “drag kids” as a victory for his cause

By Jonathon Van Maren

Back in June, Matt Walsh of the Daily Wire wrote a savage column titled “Now the Left is Normalizing Pedophilia Right in Front of Our Eyes.” The growing phenomenon of so-called “drag kids,” he pointed out, is normalizing the sexualization of children, with “the ‘drag kid’ who posed with a naked man, and the ‘drag kid’ who danced at a gay bar while men tossed money at him” being two of many prominent examples. Most recently, one of the drag queens at Drag Queen Story Hour performed a stripping dance for children. Yeah, you read that right.

Walsh, of course, received immediate pushback, with some progressives even accusing conservatives who had the gall to condemn this public grooming of being the weird ones. There’s nothing sexual about this at all, they lied, and thus anyone who sees something sexual about stripper dances, posing with naked adults, and gyrating in outfits modeled after sexually provocative adult clothing is the one who should be ashamed for even thinking that this is inappropriate. It doesn’t matter how obviously grotesque the displays get—progressives will defend them. They’re all in, and they’re betting the kids.

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Religious conservatives who wait to have sex have the happiest marriages

By Jonathon Van Maren

One of the most consistently interesting things about our cultural debates surrounding marriage and sexuality is the resistance that many of those on the secular side of the spectrum exhibit towards the slowly growing mountain of evidence supporting the fact that our Judeo-Christian values are often essential to both social stability as well as personal happiness. While the soft-core porn mags sold at supermarket checkouts urge young men and women to engage in sizzling sexual experiments and public sex education teaches children to believe that anything is on the table, social studies tell us that we are robbing them of the future many of them desire—or will desire in the future.

Let’s take a look at just two recent reports. The New York Times, as The Blaze noted at the time, “caused an avalanche of anger” after they published a report by the Institute for Family Studies and the Wheatley Institution finding that “the happiest of all American wives consider themselves religious conservatives.”

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