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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How the ruling princes of Liechtenstein defeated the abortion activists

By Jonathon Van Maren

As our rental car groaned up the steep mountain slope, I strained to see the landmark we were hunting for: Vaduz Castle, the permanent residence of the ruling princes of Liechtenstein. As we rounded a bend, it suddenly loomed up before us, a massive, sturdy structure, built to last centuries and the inevitable evils that history would bring. The ancient keep surged skyward, topped by steeple. First built in the 12th century, it was buttressed by an enormous circular tower topped by battlements and a more recently constructed roof. The first mention of this fortress was in documents in 1322, and it was partially destroyed in 1499 during the Swabian War. Since 1938, however, the 130-room castle has been closed to the public, and only the royals walk its halls.

Liechtenstein, a tiny German-speaking country landlocked between Switzerland and Austria, is both the world’s sixth smallest country and one of the wealthiest, a constitutional monarchy with one of the highest standards of living in Europe. The small city of Vaduz, which is nestled in a valley between gorgeous blue Alpine peaks capped with pure white snow, serves as the capital. When we arrived at the castle, we gazed down at the valley, a patchwork of sunlight and shadow cast by the billowing white clouds passing overhead. The fields were gleaming green, and the brown trees were just about to bud (“The trees are coming into leaf/like something almost being said,” as Philip Larkin once put it.) A handful of trees near the base of the castle were just beginning to bashfully display their white blossoms.

Driving from a meeting with ProLife Europe in Austria and heading to another with Human Life International in Switzerland, stopping in Liechtenstein had been one of my goals. Even as the battle to legalize abortion grips Northern Ireland and begins to stir in Malta, very few pro-life activists know that the tiny nation of Liechtenstein also prohibits abortion—it is illegal in almost all circumstances, with the possibility of prison terms for those who decide to perform them. To get abortions, women must drive, in total secrecy, to either Austria or Switzerland. Perhaps it is Liechtenstein’s size—160 square kilometres with a population of only 36,000 people–but abortion activists rarely seem to bother mentioning this pro-life country.

Perhaps that is because the royal residents of Vaduz Castle have thus far fended off all attempts to bring feticide to their nation. In 2012, Hereditary Prince Alois, a devout Roman Catholic, responded to a proposed referendum on abortion several weeks before it was scheduled to be held by announcing that he would exercise his royal prerogative to veto any change in law that relaxed restrictions on abortion. The referendum would have legalized abortion up until 12 weeks, as well as in cases of fetal deformity. Abortion activists, who had been confident that a referendum could produce the result they desired, were furious—it was the prince’s intervention, they claimed, which resulted in a vote of 51.5% to 48.5% to keep abortion illegal.

In response to the prince’s stand for the pre-born children of Liechtenstein, abortion activists launched a second campaign to target the 900-year-old dynasty, which has ruled the country ever since the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. In 2013, a citizen’s initiative to curtail the power of the ruling princes was put forward, proposing that their power to veto future referendums be limited or removed. Prince Alois was unapologetic, noting through his spokeswoman Silvia Hassler-De Vos that his statement had been a “clear signal that abortion isn’t an acceptable solution for an unwanted pregnancy.” If the citizens of Liechtenstein voted to limit his royal veto, he said, he would step down from his royal duties entirely.

The follow-up campaign resulted in a second bruising defeat for abortion activists. A full 76% of Liechtensteiners voted to uphold the prince’s right to a royal veto, thus reaffirming the previous referendum on abortion yet again and confirming that the status quo banning abortion in their country would remain in place. The Royal Family had stood firm in defence of the smallest and weakest citizens of their tiny country, and they had prevailed. In fact, they had prevailed so totally that the end result of the campaign by abortion activists had actually been a rousing endorsement of their right to veto any attempts to legalize abortion by a huge majority of Liechtensteiners.

The story of Liechtenstein’s royal princes and her pro-life laws is always one I have found very encouraging. I wonder how much bloodshed could have been prevented across the Western world if more courageous and principled leaders had simply stood up when the mob began baying for blood and firmly, with the strength of faith and conviction, told them no—and exercised the full extent of their power and authority to protect those they were obligated by oath to defend. The royal princes of Liechtenstein have shown the world what genuine leadership looks like, and I hope that their story will enter the annals of pro-life heroism.

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Alyssa Milano’s story about her two aborted children highlights how abortion is lethal selfishness

By Jonathon Van Maren

Since relaunching the #MeToo movement in October of 2017, Alyssa Milano has been popping up everywhere. A onetime TV actress and now activist, she showed up at the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, responded to state-level abortion restrictions by suggesting a sex strike (a proposal pro-life leaders heartily endorsed), and has campaigned against pro-life legislation. She appears to be extraordinarily passionate about abortion.

This week, the 46-year-old finally revealed the real source of her passion about abortion on her podcast, appropriately named Sorry Not Sorry: she had two children aborted in 1993, when she was in her twenties. Despite the shocking fact that she had two abortions inside a single year, Milano wanted her listeners to know that she does not regret her decisions in the slightest.

READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN AT LIFESITENEWS.COM

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Ford government takes aim at Internet porn in new sex-ed curriculum

By Jonathon Van Maren

As I noted back in March, the Ford government’s reboot of the sex education curriculum came with some good news and some bad news. I more or less concurred with the analysis put out by ARPA Canada at the time, which noted that this new system puts far more power in the hands of parents than the old curriculum under Premier Kathleen Wynne did, despite the fact that there were some obvious disappointments (gender ideology was delayed, for example, but not removed from the curriculum entirely.) Gender ideology is profoundly poisonous, and thus this curriculum is in many ways genuinely dangerous, as Barbara Kay’s recent analysis of the impact it is having on Canadian youth clearly illustrates.

With that said, I suspect that sadly, this is probably the best curriculum we can hope for from a government serving an aggressively secular public school system—and as I’ve said dozens of times on this blog, parents who wish to pass their values on to their children should not be sending their children to public school in the first place. The fact is that this curriculum is a direct result of feedback from parents across the province, and many of those parents have far more liberal views on these issues than social conservatives do. The premier himself is not a social conservative, and Patrick Brown successfully purged most of the social conservatives from the party before his own ignominious departure. Thus, the handful of improvements speak to the hard work of those social conservatives who are currently working at Queen’s Park.

The sex education curriculum was released today, and I had the chance to go through it in more detail this afternoon (the opt-out option for parents, which the Ford government is providing so that parents can avoid any part of the curriculum that they disagree with, can be found here—feel free to read it for yourself.) But I do want to draw attention to a couple of sections in the curriculum that were very badly needed, especially those on Internet pornography, which has been mainstreaming sexual violence among young people and purveying a poisonous ideology of sexuality for some time (a new study says that teenage boys are two to three times more likely commit sexual violence if they are consistently exposed to porn). This passage, for example, is excellent:

Teacher prompt: “Sexually explicit material is easily accessible and can be found in a variety of media, including social media, online games, music videos, movies, and pornography. This content can portray people and relationships in ways that are misleading and inaccurate, and can promote harmful gender stereotypes. It may not show people behaving with respect for themselves or their partners, or giving or respecting consent. What are some other ways in which viewing sexually explicit media can affect healthy development?”

This section, which also highlights the impact pornography has on young minds, is also quite good, especially considering the growing influence of what scholars call “porn myth,” which is an ideology porn users imbibe that persuades them that women and girls can be pushed after they have refused to engage sexually because that is what they “really want”:

Issues with the content of pornography include that it often portrays sexuality and relationships in unrealistic and harmful ways. It reduces people to sexual objects and is often disrespectful to women. This can also be true of video and online games. Also, pornography often shows sexual behaviours that are high risk for STBBIs. If a person sees pornography, it is important for them to understand that it may be showing things that are unrealistic, unhealthy, or harmful.”

Internet pornography is one of the primary threats to the health—especially the sexual health—of young people today. The fact that this curriculum addresses the threat of porn is a much-needed measure that will, hopefully, help to protect teens from the influence of this poisonous material. Again, this curriculum is obviously a disappointment to those who expected Ford to actually repeal and replace the Wynne curriculum. However, I do think we should recognize that it is an improvement on the Kathleen Wynne curriculum on several key issues that will likely have a real impact on the health of students.

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The sexualization of children has begun

By Jonathon Van Maren

Remember when LGBT activists used to get outraged at the insinuation that they would support the sexualization of children? Yeah, those were the good old days. These days, child drag queens are in, and everyone is loudly insisting that this is not horrifyingly creepy—and some activists are even gutsy enough to claim that drag is an utterly asexual performance (and who are you going to believe, them or your lying eyes?) Previous generations of drag queens would be stunned to hear this, but it is necessary to propagate this temporary lie in order to normalize this new manifestation of sexual freedom—the ugly corruption of innocent children. From The Metro:

A nine year-old boy has made his debut as his drag queen alter-ego at a pride celebration. Vincent Garcia appeared as DunkaShay Monroe at Los Angeles Pride in June, with the full support of his mother Elizabeth Leyva. DunkaShay donned a bronze sequinned dress, green wig, silver sneakers and rainbow-striped socks for the occasion after being inspired by TV drag contest RuPaul’s Drag Race. Her name was inspired by a song Vincent’s father sang to him as a child, and a tribute to silver screen icon Marilyn Monroe. And Elizabeth, 33, says she hopes she can set an example to other parents to be supportive of their children’s identity. She explained: ‘My message to other parents is not to be afraid of letting your children show you who they are.

‘People dismiss children a lot and tell them they don’t know what they want and are too young to understand – but they have their own minds, just like everyone else. ‘The worst thing you can do is shut them down and be small-minded. ‘At the end of the day, you should love and support your children 100 per cent, regardless of whether they want to be a doctor, a cop or a drag queen.’ Elizabeth said that Vincent began experimenting with her makeup and walking around their home in stilettos aged just two. She says that a few years later, Vincent came to her to say he thought he might be gay.

Vincent, of course, is still a pre-pubescent child—but his mother assured reporters that she took care that her son, who showed up to LA Pride in heavy makeup and a cocktail dress, was dressing in “age-appropriate” costumes. This, of course, is a mother who thought RuPaul’s Drag Race was “age-appropriate” television viewing for a child. As you can see, the goalposts are moving very rapidly, borne on the shoulders of activists who are racing away from any sense of normalcy and towards a culture where everyone—even children—are sexualized—and the only sinners are the prudes who disapprove of those feeding their children into the rainbow machine.

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For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.

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10,000 Australians march in New South Wales to protest extreme abortion bill

By Jonathon Van Maren

Earlier this week, nearly 10,000 Australian pro-lifers took to the streets to protest an extreme abortion bill that the government of New South Wales is seeking to ramrod through the State Parliament. Here is a good summary of this rally, where up to 10,000 people marched to protest abortion. I asked one pro-lifer who is working hard on the ground, Steven Buhagiar, what is going on Down Under in the battle for life. Here is what he had to say:

What should the international pro-life community know about what is going on in Australia right now?

The government is attempting to rush through an extreme abortion Bill through the New South Wales State Parliament. They succeeded in passing the Bill through the Lower House of the NSW Parliament and are seeking to do the same through the Upper House. The Premier who supported and voted for the passage of the Bill through the lower house, is now back-pedalling due to mounting pressure from the conservative members of the Liberal Party which has only just been re-elected into government.

The issue of ‘abortion’ was not mentioned during the election campaign or that it would be one of the first issues to be addressed in the new parliament. It took the State by surprise as the Bill was put together in a stealth manner with the aim to have it passed through both houses in 3 days.

The archbishop of Sydney is calling it the ‘Kill Bill,’ as that is what it will do. The supporters of the Bill have sought to have this Bill passed with deceitful actions and have sought to bypass [correct] parliamentary process.

The people are mobilising. Last night [August 19] we held a rally which drew around 7000 people, who rallied outside Parliament house. Leaders of multiple faith traditions as well as parliamentary leaders spoke out against the Bill with a good sense of unity prevailing on the side of life. Right now we need the international pro-life community to join with us in prayerful solidarity. In Australia, we are enheartened by the support we receive from overseas friends in the pro-life community. This is especially true in light of the Cardinal Pell decision which is a good indicator of where our society is heading

What is the current status quo regarding abortion in Australia?

As a background, here is the current status of abortion laws through the states of Australia. We only have 7 States/ Territories.

New South Wales:

Abortion has been a criminal offence in New South Wales since 1900 and remains in the NSW criminal code today. Unlawfully procuring an abortion is punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Last year a  Bill determing a 150-metre “safe access” zone around abortion clinics was passed in NSW. The Bill also makes it an offence to film or photograph staff or patients, without their consent and also to pray outside an abortion clinic.

Victoria:

Abortion is legal in Victoria in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. After 24 weeks, it is still legal, but requires the approval of two doctors. The doctors must agree it is in the patient’s best interests, based on her current and future physical, psychological, and social circumstances.

Abortion “buffer zone” laws passed in 2015 make it illegal for anti-abortion protesters to harass or film people within 150 metres of an abortion clinic.

Queensland:

22 weeks on request. 22 weeks to birth on a range of criteria including “social circumstances”.
Doctors with conscientious objection to abortion must refer anyway. No safeguards for women considering abortion (like counselling).

150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics. No provision to provide medical care for babies born alive in failed abortion procedures (babies left to die). No ban on partial birth abortions.

Tasmania:

Abortion is legal in Tasmania in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. After 16 weeks, it is still legal, but requires the approval of two doctors.

In recent months, pressure has been mounting on the State Government to improve access to surgical abortions in Tasmania, after the closure of the state’s only dedicated abortion clinic in January.
Since abortions can only be provided in the state’s public health system in extraordinary circumstances (eg in cases of foetal abnormality), the vast majority of women who access pregnancy termination services do so through the private sector. There are very few health professionals currently providing termination services in Tasmania.

South Australia:

Abortion is legal up to 28 weeks in South Australia if two doctors agree a woman’s physical or mental health is endangered by pregnancy, or if there is a risk the child is likely to be born with a serious abnormality.

Abortions must be performed in a hospital (or prescribed facility) and the pregnant woman must be a resident of South Australia. In an emergency, these provisions may be waived.
Under South Australian law, a woman can still be charged for obtaining an “unlawful” abortion.

Western Australia:

Abortion is legal in Western Australia up to 20 weeks into pregnancy, though some restrictions apply.
Women must be given the opportunity to participate in counselling before a termination can be performed. Women under 16 years of age require one parent to be informed.

After 20 weeks, access to abortion is very restricted. A woman must receive approval from two doctors from a statutory panel of six (appointed by the Health Minister) who agree the woman, or her foetus, has a “severe medical condition” that justifies the procedure.

The procedure can then only go ahead in a medical facility approved by the Minister.

Australian Capital Territory:

Abortion is legal in the ACT, but it must be provided by a medical doctor in an approved medical facility.
The ACT Greens have recently pushed for women in Canberra to be able to order abortion drugs over the phone or through their GP to have at-home medical abortions. In the ACT, protest-free “privacy zones” were introduced in 2015, making it an offence to protest within 50 metres of an abortion clinic.

Northern Territory:

Abortion is legal in the Northern Territory up to 23 weeks of pregnancy with the approval of medical practitioners. For terminations up to 14 weeks, assessment by one doctor is required. After 14 weeks, approval from two doctors is required. Beyond 23 weeks gestation, the Pregnancy Law Reform Act stipulates that a pregnant woman’s life must be endangered for a pregnancy to be terminated.

What is public opinion on abortion like?

From a Galaxy Poll conducted April 2017, with results still most valid:

Most voters in New South Wales (56%) believe that an unborn child at 23 weeks of pregnancy is a person with human rights. Those who agree are more than double those who disagree (24%). A significant proportion of voters (20%) is undecided. This view is most commonly held by women and 18 to 34-yearolds (both 60%).

It is widely accepted by 81% of NSW voters that abortion can harm the mental and/or physical health of a woman. Females (83%) and those aged 18-34 years (84%) are the most likely to have concerns about the harm done by abortion.

More than one-quarter (26%) of NSW voters personally know at least one woman who has been pressured to have an abortion. 19% know one woman and 7% know two or more women who have experienced coercion. 29% of females and 30% of 35 to 49-year-olds know at least one woman who was in this situation.

More NSW voters (46%) support abortion for non-medical reasons than oppose (35%), but 19% are unsure – so there is no consensus on this question. This view is most commonly held by women (47%) and 18 to 34-year-olds (50%).

Half of the voters in NSW would not allow abortion after 8 weeks of pregnancy. This includes 15% who would not allow abortion after 5 weeks and 22% opposed to abortion at any time. 60% of NSW voters would not allow abortion after 13 weeks, 68% after 16 weeks, and 74% after 23 weeks. Only 5% support abortion at any time until birth. Women are most supportive of early gestational limits on abortion, with 66% of females opposed to abortion after 13 weeks.

There is widespread belief in NSW (90%) that before having an abortion a woman should have the right to receive independent counselling so that she can make a fully informed decision. Only 4% disagree.

Almost everyone in NSW (93%) believes that women should have the right to be fully informed of the risks of abortion and the support available to continue with the pregnancy. Just 3% disagree.

There is also strong support (80%) for a cooling-off period of several days between making an appointment for an abortion and the actual procedure. Only 10% disagree.

Almost two-thirds (65%) of NSW voters believe parental consent should normally be required for girls under the age of 16 to have an abortion. Support is strongest in the 50+ age group, with 70% agreement. Just 22% of all voters disagree.

Almost two-thirds (61%) of NSW voters support conscientious objection provisions allowing doctors and nurses to opt out of performing or participating in abortions. 17% are opposed, while 21% are unsure.

There is strong opposition to sex-selective abortion in NSW, with 83% of voters against this practice. Only 8% are in favour. Women (86%) and the 50+ age group (90%) are most opposed. Under the current law over 25,000 abortions are performed each year in New South Wales.

More than one-third (35%) of NSW voters would be less likely to vote for their MP if he or she voted in Parliament for decriminalisation of abortion. 19% would be more likely to vote for their MP in that case, while 15% were unsure and 31% took the position that the issue would not influence their vote at the next State election. This suggests a potential average swing of 8% against MPs who would vote for decriminalisation of abortion.

What can pro-lifers do to respond to what is happening?

We are using a Pray, Act, and Witness strategy.

We have a three week gap before the vote in the Upper House:

Pray

Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney said last night that we must continue to pray and fast that ‘God Power’ will convert hearts especially those in Parliament who will vote on this Bill and those who hold positions of influence and leadership. We can continue to pray personally in solidarity with the Archbishop’s request as well as organise parish based prayer such as eucharistic adoration and the public recitation of the rosary.

Act

Bombard the Upper House members with emails, calls and on site visits to express our opposition to this barbaric Bill. Lower House member and former Minister for Women Tanya Davies have said that we must act with respect but with courage. She said to especially let the Premier know that this is a Bill we wholeheartedly reject. This is not what the people of NSW want or will accept.

Also, we must send in any outstanding petition signatures that we have collected. To date, 70,000 petition signatures against the Bill have been collected and will be tabled ion the floor of the NSW Upper House.

Witness

Continue to witness publicly outside the NSW Parliament House and join is with the upcoming rallies which will take place again as the Upper House members prepare to vote on this Bill in three weeks time.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Public opposition to this Bill is fundamental as NSW is the last bastion against the onslaught of anti-life legislation which is plaguing Australia at this time.

It is essential that the people rise up in numbers against this Bill and to place ever mounting pressure on the members of Parliament that they in fact work for us, not us for them. They are meant to work for the good of society and not for its moral downfall.

If we don’t stand for this now, we must know that the anti-life legislation will not stop.

Euthanasia is around the corner and radical gender ideology will increasingly be foisted on our children.

We need to truly become in action, the pro-life generation.

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Visiting Heidi in Switzerland: How beauty and innocence captured the hearts of generations

By Jonathon Van Maren

We came upon Heididorf by accident, while searching for a hotel between my meeting in Salzburg and my meeting in Zug. My wife spotted the sign for Maienfeld first. Why was that name so familiar? Perhaps it was the landscape, with the Alpine peaks rushing skyward all around us, but it struck me suddenly: Heidi. Maienfeld was the village in Johanna Spyri’s 1881 Swiss classic, Heidi, which I must have read a half dozen times growing up. A few miles down the road, and another sign confirmed it—we were in Heidi’s country.

We swung into the village, a lovely collection of windy cobblestoned streets, spires, and little shops that were just beginning to close. Rustic wooden signs pointed us up towards the mountains, and we headed out of the village up the mountainside. We cut through the meadows and farms just settling in for the night until we reached a parking lot with a large billboard informing us that Heididorf, the “original Heidi house,” was a short hike away.

I hoisted our daughter Charlotte on my shoulders, and she began pointing at things and chatting with great gusto as we headed up the path. The air was crisp and cold, and a church bell somewhere in the village pealed out clear and strong, echoing across the valley. At one and half, Charlotte was too small to have heard the story of the little girl who moves into the mountain home of her grandfather in the Alps, a story that was, as Spyri put it in her subtitle, for “children and those who love children,” but she was fascinated by the sheep bleating in the green pastures. She baaed enthusiastically back at them, and they looked briefly bewildered.

A short hike brought us to a simple white cottage with a brown wooden roof and a pen surrounded by low stone walls containing a small herd of goats, who jerked their heads up to peer at us, their neck bells jingling. Nearby was a little wooden sculpture of the immortal girl clutching one of her pet goats, and her scraggly black hair looked as if it had been tossed and tangled in the sharp wind. For her part, my little girl promptly attempted to climb on top of Heidi’s goat, shaking her own tousled hair out of her eyes. At Heididorf, Charlotte was right at home.

The cottage in the Alps, the sheep and the goats in the pasture, the air so cold and refreshing you could almost drink it—it made the story come alive. The mountains were nothing short of magnificent, and it seemed as if God put the peaks in place to draw our eyes upwards and remind us of His presence. Heidi, who constantly reminded her friends to remember to pray, certainly felt it keenly. The beauty of Heidi’s story is much like other little heroines of literature, like Laura Ingalls Wilder and Anne of Green Gables: The simple things are placed firmly in the centre of life. Just a little girl and a little boy and wildflowers and goats and pure mountain air. This simple story has lasted over a century—right into the age of smartphones, when lives like this have virtually vanished.

There is something about Spyri’s story that draws out a nostalgia in its readers, even those who have never experienced the sort of things she describes, and makes them long for it. They feel, in some ways, like Heidi did when she returned to her grandfather’s mountain home after leaving to live as a companion for a sick girl in Frankfurt: “It was so lovely, Heidi stood with tears pouring down her cheeks, and thanked God for letting her come home to it again. She could find no words to express her feelings, but lingered until the light began to fade and then ran on.”

The excitement in Charlotte’s face as she frantically pointed at each new sight reminded me of how I felt when I first read the story. I remembered, too, finding a copy of Heidi Grows Up years later as a teenager, written after Spyri’s death by her French translator, Charles Tritten. It wasn’t a bad book, really, but the magic was gone—although I couldn’t tell if that was because Heidi had, in fact, grown up, and that the innocence and pure simplicity of children on the mountain had vanished with their childhood. I remember thinking that it was a shame that Tritten hadn’t just left Heidi where she belonged, with Peter and her grandfather and her goats, instead of forcing her to age like the rest of us.

I thought, as I carried Charlotte on my shoulders down the darkening path and she rested her cheek on the top of my head and heaved a contented sigh, that this was all going to be over too soon. That in a moment or two, she would grow up and the simple things would give way to the inevitable complexities of being older. And I was reminded of a few lines by Ezra Pound, which stick with me often:

And the days are not full enough

And the nights are not full enough

And life slips by

Like a field mouse

Not shaking the grass

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A few thoughts on the birth of our son

By Jonathon Van Maren

A child is an ordinary miracle, and I am thrilled to announce that my wife Charmaine and I were blessed with the arrival of a second one, a little boy to join our gorgeous little girl. He is already loved by his parents, his extended family, many friends, and his big sister, who sensed that the interloper was a ruse to distract her from coloring (her most recent obsession). It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to get to know our first feisty one, and we are looking forward to seeing who our little boy is, too. So far, he is simply content to sleep as long as he is in close proximity to his mother.

Those of you who read my column regularly will know that I spend quite a bit of time analyzing and reporting on the cultural decline that we see unfolding all around us, as we lustily trash everything from morality to reality. (Two or three generations without God, and we cannot even tell the difference between a girl and a boy anymore.) But I was reminded that there are still incredible blessings that we have today which did not exist for our grandparents. When our daughter was born, my wife lost a lot of blood and had to be rushed from the delivery room for emergency surgery. Fifty years ago, the doctor told me, she may not have survived the hemorrhaging. A century ago, it would have been fatal. There are moments when I am unbelievably glad to live now, in this time.

READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN AT LIFESITENEWS.COM

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New study says exposure to porn makes teen boys 2 to 3 times more likely to perpetrate sexual violence against girls

By Jonathon Van Maren

For the past several years now, I have been highlighting the connections between sexual violence and pornography in presentations, radio debates and interviews, one book, and dozens of columns. Most recently in this space, for example, I took a look at the stomach-churning new statistics that indicate that a quarter of women in the United States feel fear during intimacy due to the threat of porn-inspired choking. It seems like every month, new evidence that pornography is silently transforming our society emerges—and very few people notice, because very few people pay attention.

So I’d like to draw your attention to an important paper published last month in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, which is the official publication of the International Academy of Sex Research. As you can imagine, this is not a conservative or Christian publication by any stretch of the imagination, and so their recent findings on the connections between sexual violence and porn use among young people cannot be dismissed by the handful of porn defenders in academia who consistently insist (with a note of shrill desperation occasionally marring their voices) that porn is actually healthy—one clueless academic even suggested that porn might make one more feminist.

READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN AT LIFESITENEWS.COM

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American abortionist tells shocked BBC journalist that he’s killing babies

By Jonathon Van Maren

As the American abortion wars heat up on all sides — red states passing laws protecting life at earlier and earlier stages and blue states passing laws permitting the destruction of pre-born children in the womb at later and later stages — abortion has become a critical election issue. President Donald Trump and an array of other Republicans are targeting late-term abortion and describing the gruesome procedure in increasingly frank terms (“ripping the baby out of the womb of the mother”), while the Democratic presidential contenders are attempting to simultaneously support abortion until birth while declining to discuss what that means.

It is this ongoing battle that brought BBC reporter Hilary Andersson to the United States, and she crisscrossed America interviewing both pro-lifers and abortion activists for a July 22 thirty minute report titled America’s Abortion War. To her credit, Andersson was obviously attempting to be as fair as possible—she confronted politicians on whether they would prevent abortion in the case of rape, but also interviewed a pro-life activist who had adopted a girl with multiple health issues who had been conceived in rape, giving these “exceptions” a human face.

READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN AT LIFESITENEWS.COM

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Public schools are convincing kids they’re transgender–and then cutting their parents out

By Jonathon Van Maren

Over the past several years of writing on the subject of the transgender phenomenon, I’ve received many phone calls and emails from despairing parents. The details are always different, but the stories are always very much the same: Their child, often struggling with body image issues, autism, or mental illness, was persuaded by peers and the public school establishment that he or she—usually she—was transgender. Other possibilities are almost always rejected, and often the parents face threats from the school authorities or social services for not being “affirming” enough of their child’s desire to switch genders. The results are always heartbreaking.

One recent example was detailed this month in USA Today by Jay Keck, a suburban dad who lives just outside of Chicago. His nightmare began in April of 2016, when his 14-year-old daughter became convinced that she was in fact a boy—with the staff of the public school in Hinsdale District #86 emphatically endorsing this delusion and opposing Keck’s attempts to help his daughter every step of the way. In fact, the teenage girl, who had shown no indication of gender dysphoria or a desire to be male throughout her childhood, is on the autism spectrum—a fact her school ignored when she declared herself to be transgender after beginning to hang out with another girl who professed to be a “boy” trapped in a female body.

READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN AT LIFESITENEWS.COM

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Why do we hate each other so much?

By Jonathon Van Maren

On the heels of his 2017 book The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance comes Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse’s second book, Them: Why We Hate Each Other—and How To Heal. I genuinely have no idea how a busy senator has the time to research and write books this thoughtful and comprehensive, but Sasse has once again produced a volume that stares America’s current crisis right in the face—and attempts to end on an optimistic and productive note (although, just as with his previous book, his analysis is a tad too devastating to make his uplifting closing rhetoric particularly convincing.) In his latest offering, Sasse tries to explain why America seems to be coming apart at the seams.

One of the problems with today’s America is that despite our constant digital connectedness, we no longer have the community cohesion that we once enjoyed. We are now a more rootless people and, more shockingly, loneliness is markedly on the rise. In fact, says Sasse, saying that someone “died of a broken heart” is not only a literary device—rejection or loss can flood the body with stress hormones, mimicking the effect of a heart attack. Emotional stress also causes us to age faster, while positive social relationships are second only to genetics in predicting health and longevity. Those relationships are in shorter and shorter supply these days.

Loneliness, says Sasse, is one of the primary reasons that life expectancy is slumping in the United States, especially among men. A third of those over the age of forty-five now struggle with loneliness, and even the sharp rise in depression can often be attributed directly to this (people are more willing to say they are depressed than lonely). Men tend not to make friends as well when they are in their thirties, and thus social disruption tends to contribute to loneliness, as well. As a result drugs—including opioids—are often being utilized to replace the feelings people get from real friendships, relationships, or even sex. Every day in America, 116 people die from opioid overdoses.

There are countless factors to consider here. On the religious front, people stopped attending church altogether or began attending mega-churches that lack community. TV and broken families resulted in a decline in people eating together, families vacationing together, and visiting each other. Over the past three decades, the number of friends the average American says they can discuss intimate things with has gone down to less than two, and a quarter of Americans say they have nobody they can discuss important things with at all. In 1964, 77% of people thought most of their fellow citizens could be trusted. That number now sits around 30%–and drops even further when it comes to trust in government.

According to most scholars, there are three primary factors to success in life: Finish high school, get a job (any job, because working leads to more jobs), and get married before having children. Parents and family, it turns out, are the single greatest predictor of success–period. Sasse proposes four main drivers of human happiness, framed as questions:

  1. Do you have a family you love and who loves you?
  2. Do you have friends you trust and confide in?
  3. Do you have work that matters—a calling that benefits your neighbors?
  4. Do you have a worldview that can make sense of suffering and death?

Not so long ago, people took for granted that even if you were poor, you would still be able to answer in the affirmative to all (or nearly all) of these questions. For thousands of years, people ate, worked, worshipped, and communed together in tribes—and then the Industrial Revolution blew the village to smithereens, and our atomization has been progressing apace ever since.

And Sasse believes things could get much worse. Vehicle driving of some sort, for example, is the number one job in 37 of 50 states (including cabbies, bus drivers, and truckers, among others.) If the self-driving vehicle becomes a reality—and it very likely will—two thirds of these jobs could evaporate in the next decade. This, incidentally, is why Tucker Carlson has actually advocated that the government spike or slow this research, demanding to know why would we fund such a catastrophic upheaval in the lives of so many working men, upheaval that will in all likelihood lead to family breakdown. Many social psychologists are highlighting the fact that this shift will bring with it a staggering level of social disruption.

But Sasse believes that the predictors of catastrophe may be overstating things somewhat. After all, around World War II fifty percent of the population were farmers and ranchers, and today only 2% are. Despite this, agricultural output skyrocketed (although the more traditionally-minded might have a thing or two to say about factory farming.) Farm life largely vanished, but production did not. Although automation will continue to result in cataclysmic changes, Sasse says that the level of automation is somewhat exaggerated. The essential thing about work, he writes, is that it gives you a place in the world, it makes you feel needed, and it gives you a sense of worth. The specific kind of work is not as important, and he is convinced that replacements for the jobs that automation takes will come.

Aside from loneliness and economic upheaval, Sasse pinpoints the cultural toxin that he believes is torqueing much of America’s divisions: The media complex he refers to as “polititainment.” He recaps the already well-proven thesis that TV has made everyone dumber, and notes that politics has become entertainment for many people—a form of pro-wresting where people scrap for the camera before leaving for a few beers, a fake performance that satisfies the audience without actually accomplishing anything. People are using politics as a stand-in for the religious beliefs they abandoned, which has contributed to the fury and fervor with which people engage as well as the cults of personality that increasingly crop up around politicians.

The frenzied news cycle hasn’t helped. It is now possible to view world events unfolding in real time, and because of the Internet, everything seems much closer and more relevant than it ever did before. The business models of media organizations are also oriented towards consumers, with confirmation bias occurring as an inevitable result. Most people do not even fully realize that the news they consume generally confirms what they already believe rather than challenging it, and despite this fact 66% of Americans still believe that the media is doing a terrible job (while a majority of journalists, predictably, believe things are going hunky-dory.) Journalists inhabit bubbles even more airtight than those they serve—when Hugh Hewitt asked one New York Times editor on a TV panel if she knew any pro-lifers, the sputtering and stuttering response indicated that she most certainly did not.

Sasse says that not all journalist bias is intentional—because most journalists are not from certain areas of America, he writes, they simply don’t understand how to cover those areas. They are largely secular, and so they don’t know how to cover religion or religious liberty (many journalists are so disconnected from the world of believers that they do not even understand it as a valid concept.) And then, of course, there’s the infamous story of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, which featured horrifying stories of women being tied down and their babies aborted against their will, fetal beheadings, and more—but the media either ignored or minimized the story because it made the abortion industry look awful.

The contempt felt by conservative-minded people because of this overt bias has created a business boom for FOX News, which makes cash by the bucket using what Sasse calls “the polarization model.” He uses Sean Hannity, who earns forty million a year, as Exhibit A. Hannity’s shtick, says Sasse, boils down to a simple pattern: Liberals are evil, you’re a victim, and you should be furious. And because there’s always somebody doing something stupid, it isn’t hard to do what Sasse calls “nut-picking”—select an example of particularly egregious left-wing behavior, highlight it as a microcosm of the whole, and whip the audience up into a frenzy. People get intoxicated by anger, and come back for more. The media hosts get rich making people blow a gasket, and the more effectively they can demonize the other side, the better. Views—and clicks—are cash.

Deep down we all know this is a poisonous cycle. Everyone is trapped on a treadmill where they keep drinking it in and the media keeps pumping it out because it makes them rich and everything gets worse as a result. Sasse even cited conversations with media experts working with big cable channels that admitted that sometimes, making those who already hate your point of view hate you even more is a great way to drive clicks—and again, clicks are cash. On the right side of the spectrum, Sasse says that three of the top twelve conservative media hosts in the country told him that they only had to hit him so hard when he publicly opposed Trump because that’s what their audiences wanted—but that Sasse shouldn’t be offended, because it is all just a game. In short, many of the blowhards on TV—both Left and Right—are knowingly saying things that they do not believe simply to stoke anger and division for money. Destroying the nation’s social fabric pays well.

The other thing that is important to note is that there is now no “public square” per se—everybody tailor-makes their own public square that works for them, with social media algorithms helping things along. We can now be alone together, never having to share the same country, dwelling in a sea of bubbles. For example, Sean Hannity’s show is the most popular one on TV and only about 1% of the country watches it, with his second-place competitor Rachel Maddow getting well below that. The same is true for entertainment: TV shows like I Love Lucy used to get three quarters of the American population, but even the pornographic Game of Thrones is lucky to get within striking distance of 4% (and that’s good news for a change.) TV has placed politics and power at the center of American life, and it has become a reality show drama that everyone has joined—FOX, MSNBC, and CNN alike. Each network wants dramas of good and evil, and thus someone has to be evil. Demonization is part of the formula.

Sasse’s analysis of the public is perhaps even more devastating than he realizes. He’s not sure who is worse—the rage-addicted Americans, or the apathetic millions hooked on porn and Netflix. The most obvious culprit, he says, is the failure of one generation to pass their values on to the next, caught up in the consumer marathon and new technology and greed. To begin to address this limitless brokenness, he has a few proposals—although after reading a couple of hundred pages on the challenges we face, they seem as underwhelming as they do necessary. We should be setting tech limits, he notes, before tech takes over and destroys our lives. Children in particular should get virtually no screen-time—he highlights the fact that the very Silicon Valley experts who create this technology refuse to give it to their children.

Interestingly, one of the primary evidences of our collective addiction is the fact that people get so defensive when someone suggests that we limit our tech use. People now insist that they “can’t” get along without it, despite the fact that every previous generation did just that. Social media platforms are actually programmed to addict people, and a full 40% of Americans between the ages of 18 to 29 are now online constantly as long as they are awake. Technology is actually replacing people, porn is replacing sex, social media is replacing community, real life is being replaced by Second Life, and phones are even destroying sleep, which is essential to health and basic function. Social media is quite literally robbing us at our own request, as it takes us out of the here and now—the only life that we have. It makes us dissatisfied with what is ours, and it makes us miss what we should love. Smartphones reduce our freedom, as we feel compelled to be elsewhere.

If you boil Sasse’s solution down, it really is a simple one: We must return to the first things. Family, community, each other—we must realize once again that in a world of endless distraction, only turning our attention to those we should love (and must love better) can bring us any happiness. The source of joy is right in front of us, if only we put down our smartphones and shut our laptops and open our eyes. America’s challenges, Sasse says, are monumental—but an America that returns to the values of the Founding can yet rise to the task. And to that, of course, we can merely nod vigorously and pray that he is right.

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For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.

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Clinicians raise the alarm as number of Australian children identifying as transgender soars

By Jonathon Van Maren

Right across the West, rates of so-called transgender children are spiking. Back in March, I reported that the numbers of Canadian children identifying as transgender were soaring, with the CBC referring to “exponential growth.” In the United Kingdom, as I noted back in 2018, the government has commissioned an investigation into why the rate of children asking to physically transition into the opposite sex has gone up by 4000%. And in February of 2018, I took a look at sky-rocketing numbers in the United States, as well. This phenomenon has taken root wherever the LGBT movement has, and the rates of children with gender confusion are exploding.

Last week, I noted that experts are increasingly stepping forward to warn that this experiment is not going to end well—and now, Australian clinicians are stepping forward as their rates of trans kids beings to spike dramatically, as well. From The Australian:

Clinicians are calling for an ­urgent national inquiry into the safety and ethics of giving unproven hormone drug treatment to ever younger children who are confused about sex and gender. A detailed submission, arguing that risks including infertility and lifelong regret outweigh the ­benefits to trans children and teenagers, was sent yesterday to Health Minister Greg Hunt and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

The first national figures, ­obtained under freedom of information legislation from major hospitals in NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland, show 2415 children were referred for gender treatment between 2014 and last year, with a 41 per cent increase in ­Victoria. Girls as young as nine are ­believed to be put on “puberty blocker” drugs, and boys from about 11.

A poorly understood surge in children and teens identifying as transgender — especially girls whose body perception can be more fraught — has arrived in the past five to 10 years. The call for an inquiry by health sociologist Geoff Holloway, who wrote the submission, has been backed by 2019 Senior Australian of the Year paediatrician Sue Packer, Western ­Sydney University paediatrics professor John Whitehall and ­developmental psychologist ­Dianna Kenny.

“Who gave ethics approval for this treatment (at children’s hospitals) when it lacks any scientific basis and therefore is an experiment?” Professor Whitehall said. “We should give the psychiatry and psychology a full run before we start castrating children.”

The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, whose national standards for treatment of young people with bodily discomfort or “gender dysphoria” have been hailed as the “most progressive” in the world, has the biggest caseload in the country. It champions the internationally dominant ­“affirmation model” in which going along with the child’s wish to transition is often seen by clinicians, with good intentions, as compassionate and necessary.

The Weekend Australian put detailed questions to the hospital but was referred to the standards. The rationale for puberty blockers, claimed to be safe and reversible, was to give the child respite from unwanted development, ease suffering and allow time to sort out identity. Critics point out virtually all those on blockers go on to cross-sex hormones (and sometimes surgery), meaning an irrevocable transition to a medical approximation of the opposite sex. This makes them lifelong patients with a range of potential compli­cations and a high risk of infertility, clinicians say.

Professor Whitehall said there was no rigorous long-term evidence that puberty blockers were safe and reversible for younger children, and studies in adults and sheep suggested damage to the growing human brain could not be ruled out. The new standards flag the need for more research, “a comprehensive exploration” of a child’s history and fertility counselling. Professor Whitehall said informed consent was an illusion because children and teens could not grasp the life-changing ­nature of the decisions, even if gender clinics gave a more accurate idea of cost-benefit balances.

Critics say still-maturing young people are immersed in a world where many parents, teachers, clinicians, friends and social media are captured by emotive promotion of trans status, while activists try to suppress scepticism or inquiry as “hateful transphobia”. Dr Holloway, who says the role of culture in gender dysphoria is unmistakeable, said: “People who object to what’s going on, they can lose their jobs, quite apart from being ostracised. This is supposed to be a scientific ­endeavour, not a witch hunt.”

In Britain, the well-known Tavi­stock Gender Identity Devel­opment Service has come under scrutiny, with ex-staff saying trans lobby pressure has contaminated clinical decisions. The ­clinic is running “an unregulated live (hormone drug) experiment on children”, says Oxford University’s professor of evidence-based medicine, Carl Heneghan, who points to the scarcity, weakness and brevity of supporting studies.

Critics say the trans lobby has encouraged conflation of the biological fact of birth sex with changeable gender identity. Clinicians stress the suffering of gender-confused children is real, and requires a compassionate response, but they put the case for non-intrusive therapy to bring distorted gender ideas into line with the reality of biological sex, rather than a risky medical reinvention of the body.

Dr Kenny said she believed gender dysphoria was in part “a social construct … propagated through the processes of groupthink and social contagion”. Sceptical clinicians say the ­affirmation model too readily puts children on a path to medical intervention when evidence suggests the vast majority of those with early “gender dysphoria” will grow out of it, many emerging as gay or bisexual.

The rush to puberty blockers disrupts this self-correcting process and often involves only a cursory examination of mental health issues, family trauma, ­autism and other factors that may predate the gender dysphoria, it’s argued.

“Far be it from anybody to say that there are absolutely no ­people in the world who are genuinely gender dysphoric and who find it impossible to live in their biological sex,” said Dr Kenny, a clinician who until recently was a psychology professor at Sydney University. “What I’m saying is it’s been massively and irresponsibly over-diagnosed … (these children and teens) are going to be irrevocably damaged by the treatment they received.”

Trans activists, of course, are dismissing these concerns, and I expect that a campaign to demonize these critics will be underway shortly. In the meantime, the experiment on the unsuspecting guinea pigs–children–will continue unabated.

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For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.

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Christianity created protection for children–and the Sexual Revolution is rolling that back

By Jonathon Van Maren

A half dozen times in the last couple of months, I have turned on the radio to a news station to discover an ongoing conversation about whether we should all give up having children in order to stave off the impending impact of climate change. Children, many of these radio hosts strongly imply, can be reasonably compared to pollution, and thus their very lives kill the planet. While we unfortunately have to put up with the people who are already here (and one gets the vague feeling when listening to these drones that they would be pretty big fans of another 1918-scale Spanish flu epidemic so long as it did not sweep their neighborhood), we can certainly prevent more people from showing up.

These conversations, invariably hosted by men and women who are unsurprisingly big fans of abortion, always have me fluctuating between relief that those expressing these sentiments do not want to have kids to pass on their poison to and pity that these people are robbing themselves of one of life’s most joyful experiences. That, and I always find it suspicious that the very people who constantly advocate taking care of the planet for future generations (and who can disagree with that?) also very much oppose having that next generation to begin with.

These anti-child sentiments—which have also manifested themselves in skyrocketing rates of couples choosing to remain deliberately and permanently childless and the trend of mothers coming forward to announce that they regret having children to begin with—have real consequences, of course. Our abortion rate tells that story. But these sentiments are also the logical consequence of a post-Christian culture. Our society doesn’t realize this (and wouldn’t like to admit it even if they did), but the idea that children should be treated with love and compassion is a particularly Christian one. I cover this in Chapter 5 of my 2016 book The Culture War to some extent, and Pascal Emmanuel-Gobry over at The Week put it beautifully a few years back:

We have forgotten just how deep a cultural revolution Christianity wrought. In fact, we forget about it precisely because of how deep it was: There are many ideas that we simply take for granted as natural and obvious, when in fact they didn’t exist until the arrival of Christianity changed things completely. Take, for instance, the idea of children.

Today, it is simply taken for granted that the innocence and vulnerability of children makes them beings of particular value, and entitled to particular care. We also romanticize children — their beauty, their joy, their liveliness. Our culture encourages us to let ourselves fall prey to our gooey feelings whenever we look at baby pictures. What could be more natural?

In fact, this view of children is a historical oddity. If you disagree, just go back to the view of children that prevailed in Europe’s ancient pagan world. As the historian O.M. Bakke points out in his invaluable book When Children Became People, in ancient Greece and Rome, children were considered nonpersons.

Back then, the entire social worldview was undergirded by a universally-held, if implicit, view: Society was organized in concentric circles, with the circle at the center containing the highest value people, and the people in the outside circles having little-to-no value. At the center was the freeborn, adult male, and other persons were valued depending on how similar they were to the freeborn, adult male. Such was the lot of foreigners, slaves, women…and children.

High infant mortality rates created a cultural pressure to not develop emotional attachments to children. This cultural pressure was exacerbated by the fact that women were more likely to develop emotional attachments to children — which, according to the worldview of the day, meant it had to be a sign of weakness and vulgarity. Various pagan authors describe children as being more like plants than human beings. And this had concrete consequences.

Well-to-do parents typically did not interact with their children, leaving them up to the care of slaves. Children were rudely brought up, and very strong beatings were a normal part of education. In Rome, a child’s father had the right to kill him for whatever reason until he came of age.

One of the most notorious ancient practices that Christianity rebelled against was the frequent practice of expositio, basically the abandonment of unwanted infants. (Of course, girls were abandoned much more often than boys, which meant, as the historical sociologist Rodney Stark has pointed out, that Roman society had an extremely lopsided gender ratio, contributing to its violence and permanent tension.)

Another notorious practice in the ancient world was the sexual exploitation of children. It is sometimes pointed to paganism’s greater tolerance (though by no means full acceptance) of homosexuality than Christianity as evidence for its higher moral virtue. But this is to look at a very different world through distorting lenses. The key thing to understand about sexuality in the pagan world is the ever-present notion of concentric circles of worth. The ancient world did not have fewer taboos, it had different ones. Namely, most sexual acts were permissible, as long as they involved a person of higher status being active against or dominating a person of lower status. This meant that, according to all the evidence we have, the sexual abuse of children (particularly boys) was rife.

Think back on expositio. According to our sources, most abandoned children died — but some were “rescued,” almost inevitably into slavery. And the most profitable way for a small child slave to earn money was as a sex slave. Brothels specializing in child sex slaves, particularly boys, were established, legal, and thriving businesses in ancient Rome. One source reports that sex with castrated boys was regarded as a particular delicacy, and that foundlings were castrated as infants for that purpose.

Of course, the rich didn’t have to bother with brothels — they had all the rights to abuse their slaves (and even their children) as they pleased. And, again, this was perfectly licit. When Suetonius condemns Tiberius because he “taught children of the most tender years, whom he called his little fishes, to play between his legs while he was in his bath” and “those who had not yet been weaned, but were strong and hearty, he set at fellatio,” he is not writing with shock and horror; instead, he is essentially mocking the emperor for his lack of self-restraint and enjoying too much of a good thing. This is the world into which Christianity came, condemning abortion and infanticide as loudly and as early as it could.

This is the world into which Christianity came, calling attention to children and ascribing special worth to them. Church leaders meditated on Jesus’ instruction to imitate children and proposed ways that Christians should look up to and become more like them.

Like everything else about Christianity’s revolution, it was incomplete. For example, Christians endorsed corporal punishment for far too long. (Though even in the fourth century, the great teacher St John Chrysostom preached against it, on the grounds of the victim’s innocence and dignity, using language that would have been incomprehensible to, say, Cicero.)

But really, Christianity’s invention of children — that is, its invention of the cultural idea of children as treasured human beings — was really an outgrowth of its most stupendous and revolutionary idea: the radical equality, and the infinite value, of every single human being as a beloved child of God. If the God who made heaven and Earth chose to reveal himself, not as an emperor, but as a slave punished on the cross, then no one could claim higher dignity than anyone else on the basis of earthly status.

That was indeed a revolutionary idea, and it changed our culture so much that we no longer even recognize it.

We have now exchanged the Christian revolution for the Sexual Revolution, and in this new revolution, children are an inconvenience. I fear that we are well on our way towards rolling back everything that we have grown to treasure. Sixty-five million butchered babies tell that story, and it is a bloody awful one indeed.

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For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.

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Abortionist & assisted suicide practitioner terrifies Holocaust survivors by sneaking into Jewish nursing home to kill patient

By Jonathon Van Maren

On June 29, 2017, Dr. Ellen Wiebe and a nurse slipped into the Louis Brier Home and Hospital, an Orthodox Jewish nursing home in Vancouver. The nursing home forbids the killing of patients, and so Dr. Wiebe, a renowned abortionist who also dabbles in assisted suicide, had to hide her lethal drugs and other equipment in large bags so they would not be detected. The two did not announce themselves at the front desk, but instead made their way to the room of Barry Hyman, an 83-year-old man suffering from lung cancer. Hyman had requested assisted suicide, but the nursing home does not permit patients to be killed by medical practitioners on-site. Wiebe ignored the wishes of the home’s board and leadership, sneaked into the home, and gave Hyman a lethal injection in the presence of his family. Hyman died, and she left.

An uproar broke out when the staff and residents of Louis Brier Home discovered what had happened, and an official complaint was brought against Wiebe to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia. That complaint was dismissed on July 5, 2019, with the College claiming that Wiebe did not break any regulator’s rules due to the fact that Hyman fulfilled the eligibility criteria for what is now referred to as “MAiD”—medial aid in dying, a phrase that helpfully disguises what is actually taking place. According to the Globe and Mail: “The case could have important implications for physicians, grievously ill patients and the religious hospitals and nursing homes across the country that banned doctor-assisted dying on their sites after the procedure became legal in 2016.”

“It was what I expected,” Wiebe said smugly of the decision—her clandestine foray into a religious nursing home to kill a dying old man was, in her words, “the right thing” to do. David Keselman, the chief executive officer of Louis Brier, was extremely upset with the decision, and noted that “his organization has tightened its credentialing and privileging process to prevent others from following Dr. Wiebe’s example.” The college, he said, ignored the fact that Wiebe had caused enormous distress to others in the home by her actions: “We have quite a number of Holocaust survivors in the building. This is a huge concern…as this came out, it created a very significant level of anxiety and chaos, specifically for those individuals.” Wiebe doesn’t seem to particularly care about this, however, stating that she hopes her actions help others with a similar lack of conscience to “feel confident that they can do the right thing, which is to honour their patients’ wishes as much as possible.”

It is not surprising that Holocaust survivors would be disturbed by the thought of a physician creeping into their nursing home with bags of lethal drugs to kill one of their fellow residents, regardless of the fact that this was requested by the man’s daughter. Prior to the Dutch legalization of assisted suicide in April of 2001, the last Western nation to commission its physicians to engage in killing was the German Third Reich, and the horrors perpetrated by the Nazi doctors highlighted to the medical establishment why it is such a dangerous thing to permit medical practitioners to end lives. Now a doctor who also destroys life at the beginning of life’s spectrum not only ended the lives of one of their residents by lethal injection, but did so against the will of the nursing home that they trust to keep them safe. It takes a particularly cold-blooded individual to claim that introducing fearful flashbacks into the twilight years of aging Holocaust survivors is “the right thing to do,” but Ellen Wiebe is one such person.

I hope we do not get desensitized to these stories too quickly. Some day very soon, the last of our Holocaust survivors will leave us, and their stories will pass from memory into history. Will we still have the capacity to recognize what they see, I wonder? Will we still feel a chill run down our spine when we hear of a doctor creeping into a Jewish hospital with a bag of lethal drugs to dispatch an old man, or will the fact that such things now happen in cities with familiar names like Vancouver not bother us anymore? The generation that saw the world convulsed by evil ideologies is entering eternity, and the upcoming generations they leave behind inspire little confidence.

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For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.

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Why is Andrew Scheer breaking his promise to parents who send their children to religious schools?

By Jonathon Van Maren

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has clearly been getting some very bad advice lately. Although he holds many socially conservative values himself, it appears that the voters that Scheer is most willing to shove off the platform after a bit of Liberal criticism is social conservatives. From iPolitics:

The federal Conservative platform for the 2019 election will not include a tax deduction for parents who send their kids to private and independent schools, iPolitics has learned. A spokesperson for Andrew Scheer confirmed in an email statement that the Tory leader would not move ahead with the tax credit because of the large budget deficits recorded by the Trudeau government in recent years.

“As a result of Trudeau’s budget mess, Mr. Scheer will not move ahead with the tax credit for independent schools at this time,” Daniel Schow told iPolitics.

During the 2017 leadership campaign, Scheer promised to offer a $4,000 income tax deduction for parents who send their kids to private schools. In recent weeks, the Liberals and other critics have raised the plan in warning against voting for the Tories, arguing the tax credit would cost billions of dollars per year and was an unnecessary subsidy to already wealthy parents.

Andrew Scheer courted social conservatives during the leadership race, and he needs their support in swing ridings across the country if he wants to become prime minister—especially with Maxime Bernier’s PPC candidates taking advantage of the fact that Scheer’s inner circle seems determined to ignore social conservatives and their concerns. Social conservatives supported Andrew Scheer because they were convinced that he genuinely shared many of their concerns—after all, he sends his own children to a Christian school. With this new move, however, it appears that Scheer’s team is establishing a very dangerous pattern: Throwing his own supporters under the bus due to Liberal pressure.

Scheer may have won the leadership, but he hasn’t won the PMO yet. If he wants to get there, he is going to need social conservatives to turn up and vote. After a decade of disappointment with Stephen Harper and other leaders who wanted them in the tent but off the platform, many social conservatives have told me that Scheer’s willingness to abandon his own campaign promises to them are making them consider staying home come election day. Trudeau certainly isn’t getting their vote—but it isn’t a sure thing that Scheer is going to at this point, either.

Take a moment this weekend to call or email your local Conservative candidate and let them know what you think about this latest broken promise. If Scheer and his advisors don’t hear from us, they might remain unaware of the electoral consequences of their actions.

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Annual online porn consumption produces as much carbon emissions as the nation of Belgium

By Jonathon Van Maren

I’ve spilled gallons of ink over the past several years urging people to kick their porn habits for a host of reasons: It kills marriages, mainstreams sexual violence, causes erectile dysfunction, and tears at our social fabric. But for those of you with a more environmentalist bent, it turns out that there’s another good reason to turn off the filth faucet: to save the planet.

I’m not kidding, either. According to recent research, compulsive porn use and Netflix binge-watching are enormous contributors to pollution.

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Most non-white Canadians oppose the LGBT agenda–and Trudeau thinks they’re “intolerant”

By Jonathon Van Maren

If you listen to Canada’s progressive political parties, you would think that social conservative views are virtually extinct in Canada. According to Justin Trudeau, Canadians are lockstep behind his agenda, and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer should be hanging his head in shame for refusing to revel in the sexual exhibitionism of the Great White North’s fabulous Pride Parades, which now consume much of the summer.

Scheer’s consistent lack of attendance at these events, Trudeau and his obedient minions chirped to the media, is a profound insult to Canadians. “It’s just unfortunate that there are still some party leaders who want to be prime minister who choose to stand with people who are intolerant instead of standing with the LGBT community,” he told a gaggle of appreciative reporters solemnly.

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