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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Baptism-style ceremony for men who ‘transition’ to female? Why Church of England has imploded

By Jonathon Van Maren

December 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Each winter as the days get shorter and darkness falls earlier, I begin to look forward to my drive home from the office each day. Halfway home, I drive past a small white-frame church. It is an Anglican church built in 1854, now nearly surrounded by the ancient gravestones of those who once worshipped within its walls. As night creeps into the afternoon, the lights in the church come on, and the stained-glass windows glow a gorgeous gold, bathing the snow around the church in pale yellow light, casting an occasional flicker into the graveyard. There is something quietly beautiful about the sight every single time.

It is strange to consider just how far the Church of England has fallen since the days when this little church was built. Back then, Bishop J.C. Ryle was still preaching from his Liverpool pulpit. Rev. John Newton had been gone for scarcely forty years, and William Wilberforce for less than twenty-five. Back then, it was a church filled with many men and women who truly believed in the Scriptures, and many spent whole lifetimes bringing the Gospel message to the societies around them.

I mention this due to the fact that earlier this week, I spotted this headline in the Telegraph: “Church of England to offer baptism-style services to transgender people to celebrate their new identity for first time.” As it turns out, Canterbury’s rush to irrelevance (clerics warn that steadily plunging attendance numbers will only increase in the years ahead) now includes the bizarre heresy of creating a new sacrament, specifically tailored to celebrate the delusions of “sex-reassignment” surgery for “transgender” people.

The Church of England’s tailspin has been strange to watch, not because they are the first or the only mainline denomination to collapse under the weight of its own compromises. Here in Canada, for example, the United Church campaigned for legal abortion, celebrated the destruction of the Christian ethic of sexuality, and now has at least one atheist minister. They have been only somewhat jokingly referred to as “the NDP at prayer.” But the brazenness with which the clerics of the Church of England have spat on their own heritage has been jarring, to say the least. From the Telegraph:

New pastoral guidance, published on Tuesday, advises clergy to refer to transgender people by their new name, though it stops short of being a baptism. The guidance, which was approved by the House of Bishops on Monday night, also details how elements including water and oil can be incorporated into the service.

It also advises that as part of a special service, they can be presented with gifts such as a Bible inscribed in their chosen name, or a certificate. The guidance notes: “For a trans person to be addressed liturgically by the minister for the first time by their chosen name may be a powerful moment in the service.”

As a central part of the new service, called the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith, the minister lays their hands on the candidate or candidates, addresses them by name, and prays for them. While the Church is clear that this does not constitute a second baptism, it explains that the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith enables people to “renew the commitments made in baptism and in a public setting and provides space for those who have undergone a major transition to re-dedicate their life to Jesus Christ.”

It is understood that traditionalists in the Church blocked a change in the liturgy and stopped this from becoming a new blessing.

I wasn’t aware that there were many traditionalists left in the Church of England, perhaps with the exception of the British writer Peter Hitchens, who wrote a beautiful lament for his church in First Things some time ago:

Now it has almost entirely vanished. You can still catch it at Christmas in a village church when a small child with a strong country accent grapples for the first time with the nativity story in the King James Bible, and the music of the eternal flows into the silent building through his hesitating tongue. The tongue is a fire. Likewise, the voice of the dullest and most banal curate is forced to soar as he reads the unaffected, lovely, heartbreaking words of the 1662 order for Holy Matrimony, or its elegiac twin, the earthy, uncompromising burial service. But these treasures, intricate ancient workmanship polished in use to a soft, deep gleam, are now rarely heard. Blander, more diffident, and less disturbing rituals, substituting syrupy banality for alarming majesty, have replaced them.

When I was small, these lovely, disturbing things were normal. There were no alternative modern services or sensible, rewritten Bibles from which every trace of poetry had been carefully removed. There were no jolly modern hymns. The bloodthirsty, vengeful bits of the Psalms were still sung in the ancient monastic cycle inherited from the Romish past. Priests and ministers (the title depending on how Protestant they were) wore academic hoods and gowns to remind us that they were learned, thoughtful men. These flashes of red and blue were, in fact, their chief adornments, worn atop austere Calvinist black and white surplices. The cathedral into which we filed, sometimes twice a day, was both richly ornamented and austere, a combination I have found nowhere else and which satisfies a profoundly English desire for modesty and restraint, even in the presence of glory…

Those things are well and truly gone. A member of the same clergy that once presided over the majesty of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, with the transcendent tones of Zadok the Priest thundering through the cathedral until the pillars seemed to shiver, has now politely asked the faithful to pray that her great-grandson, Prince George, might become a homosexual in order to increase tolerance for the LGBT community. Earlier this year, Anglican clergy urged the British government to ban so-called “conversion therapy” for those with gender dysphoria, and announced their intention to attempt to recruit transgender clerics. And now, of course, there’s the new ceremony to celebrate one’s “new” gender.

READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN AT LIFESITENEWS.COM

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Some trans activists want to call women “bleeders” to be inclusive of “trans men”

By Jonathon Van Maren

Since the explosive rise of the transgender movement, feminists have discovered that intersectionality means that there is no such thing, technically speaking, as a “woman”—at least, not one that can be defined in any objective terms. Now, women can have penises, men can “chest-feed,” and a biological male can win female sports competitions (or even Woman of the Year awards for glamorous magazines). Those women who have objected to this have been demonized as “TERFS”: Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists, and subject to de-platforming as well as physical violence.

Since our elites have decided that men can also be women, the war of words has begun in earnest. A woman’s genitalia—and I’m not kidding about this—is now referred to by many trans activists as a “front hole.” And now, it turns out, women themselves have been reduced to a new, less than flattering term. From Pink News:

British comedian Cariad Lloyd has deactivated her Twitter account after anti-trans trolls attacked her for using inclusive language when talking about periods. Cariad Lloyd posted a tweet yesterday where she asked her followers to consider donating to Bloody Good Period, a charity that aims to eliminate period poverty.

In the tweet, Lloyd said: “Jane Austen was a Super Plus fan, Lizzie preferred a Mooncup + Emma didn’t leave Hartfield without her Thinx. But some bleeders in the UK can’t afford sanitary products, imagine the scandal at the ball!” She then asked people to consider donating to the charity this festive season.

However, she received backlash from anti-trans trolls online, who took issue with her use of the term “bleeders” rather than women.

Describing people who menstruate as “bleeders” includes all people who menstruate, which includes trans men and non-binary people.

Now, I wonder why women would get offended by being referred to as “bleeders”?

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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 Milo, Faith Goldy, and Mike Cernovich hate Dr. Jordan Peterson

By Jonathon Van Maren

Becoming a global superstar comes with perks, as Dr. Jordan Peterson is discovering. He is traveling the world, speaking on the subjects nearest and dearest to him, and millions want to hear what he has to say. In the process, he’s become a best-selling author, and quite wealthy to boot—and he did this by challenging political correctness and compelled speech and opposing the Trudeau government’s decision to enshrine the tenets of transgenderism into Canada’s human rights code.

Peterson has stated that abortion is “clearly wrong,” he’s triggered an interest in Christianity in tens of thousands, he’s held up tradition as something that should be respected and studied, he’s urged men and women to a monogamous lifestyle, decried pornography, and urged people to grow strong, stable families. He has offended nearly every progressive orthodoxy there is: the LGBT activists, the feminists, and the queer studies professors would love to have his head on a stick. But all of that, it turns out, isn’t enough for a handful of fringe commentators who feel that he has not paid nearly enough attention to them.

Faith Goldy has been relentlessly criticizing Peterson on Twitter, insisting that Peterson somehow “de-platformed” her after the organizer and the members of the free speech panel decided to rescind her invitation following her decision to have a friendly chat with the Daily Stormer podcast at the alt-right rally in Charlottesville. This is ridiculous for a few reasons, the first of which is that it wasn’t Peterson’s platform. The organizer, who I happen to know and spoke to just after the panel took place, had put an enormous amount of her own money into the event, and it was decided that having someone that had so recently made headlines for associating sympathetically with white supremacists would destroy the credibility of an event that was supposed to focus on free speech. (Ezra Levant, her former boss at The Rebel, recently noted on Twitter that her comments were so egregious that he’d fire her again today.)

This, of course, is obviously true, and Goldy knows it. And again, by complaining about the utterly predictable consequences of her own actions and chosen associations, she reveals that she doesn’t really care all that much about the causes she claims to hold dear. If she did care about the cause of freedom of speech (or the tremendous amount of work and money the organizer put into creating the event), she would have been more than happy to step aside (which she initially offered to do), since she is far too smart not to realize that her presence would have eliminated the intended impact of the panel. But instead, Goldy has apparently decided to make it all about her (just as she did with her campaign for the mayoralty of Toronto.)

Milo Yiannopolous is another increasingly marginal figure who has decided that Jordan Peterson is an enemy. He penned a truly awful foreword to alt-right author Vox Day’s recent screed condemning Peterson, sarcastically titled Jordanetics: A Journey Into the Mind of Humanity’s Greatest Thinker. It is a genuinely embarrassing piece of writing, in which Yiannopolous flounders about and essentially condemns Peterson for not being a huge fan of his, not defending him when he felt it was warranted, disagreeing with him on a few points, and, interestingly, having “killed” Goldy’s career, “unpersoning” her, and making her “untouchable.” Goldy tweeted the foreword with glowing praise, which rather surprised me, because it seems to be a tacit admission that her career has, in fact, been killed, which is inconsistent with the constant declarations of her impending arrival upon an incoming nationalist storm.

Yiannopolous, too, is obviously bitter. While Peterson went from eccentric psychology professor to a global phenomenon, Yiannopolous went from alt-light darling to dead broke and increasingly whiny, angrily writing to his fans on Facebook that, “You guys have no idea what I have sacrificed for you…I don’t advertise my selflessness, because I’m not a victim. But for the love of God show some recognition of what your front-line warriors have accomplished on your behalf, you entitled f****** babies.” And this from a guy who utilized his significant social media presence to present himself as the filthy rich Kim Kardashian of the right-wing, the unkillable superstar. But the truth is that Milo, too, was a one-man show, and that when people grew bored of the show and scandals brought about by his own bad judgement weighed him down, he instead decided to get angry at Peterson, because the professor’s fame has so wildly eclipsed his own.

Michael Cernovich, a far-right figure and InfoWars conspiracy theorist, also went after Peterson on Twitter, demanding to know when he became such a coward for apparently not defending those de-platformed by Twitter. It is strange to me that people are stunned that a man on an international speaking tour, in demand by millions, writing regular columns, and also attempting to have something of a family life, cannot keep up with everything going on, and that if he does not focus on precisely the same things that they do, it must be an indication of his lack of character. It would be funny if it wasn’t so stupid. Anyone who has ever done a lot of public speaking knows that at a certain point, your schedule just gets tight and you have to pick and choose.

It is not as if I don’t think that Jordan Peterson should never be criticized. I disagree with him on a very, very long list of very important subjects. It is that the criticism leveled at him by the washed-up figures of the alt-light, who have either self-destructed or ridden the Trump Train as far as it will take them and now have no idea where to go next, is both ridiculous and hilariously self-centred. Peterson is apparently a sellout because he didn’t defend a few fringe commentators who made bad decisions. He’s also a sellout because he joined a professional speaking agency as he shot to global fame. Then he was a sellout because he’s made some ill-thought-out comments about the Supreme Court. He’s a sellout because he’s not saying what they would be saying, if they had his platform and his influence.

But most of all, he’s a sellout for getting rich and famous and leaving them all behind.

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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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8th grade boy sexually abuses nieces after viewing porn on iPhone he got for birthday

By Jonathon Van Maren

December 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Earlier this week, I wrote a column on the recent news out of Kansas that the rates of children sexually assaulting children have been sharply increasing for some time, and noted that in the United Kingdom police have also reported this trend (40,000 instances in only a couple of years) as well. Shortly after it was published, I received an email from a mother who reached out because she had not seen this trend reported on anywhere else.

I asked her if I could share her story, as it is a powerful example of why we desperately need to be dealing with the pornography plague in our families, churches, schools, and communities. “I am not a writer,” she wrote back. “I am just going to put what’s on my heart. I just hope any of it is helpful to know how horrific porn is and the damage it does to children and families as it has done to ours.”

The first mistake, she wrote, was giving her teenage son a smartphone. “My big regret is giving our son an iPhone on his birthday during his 8th-grade year,” she said. “He wanted a phone so bad. My husband and I thought it was a good reward for good behavior. Getting ready to go to high school in a few months, his friends had one, he gave us no problems and was a very good student. He was so excited when he opened his gift. He even had tears. Little did we know, we would be all brought to tears because of the dangers of that phone.”

The pressure these parents were under is extremely common. I’ve frequently written that children should not be given a smartphone, even in high school (if at all possible), and many parents respond by saying that the requests for a smartphone from their children are relentless. Much of teenage social life now takes place in a cyber-world of social media that is only accessible via a smartphone, and thus children are desperate to obtain the device that gives them access to this world.

“I noticed shortly after my son received his phone that he was using it way too much,” the mother wrote. “I would have him put the phone [down], but soon he would have it in his hand again. I never let him go to bed with it. I kept the phone in our bedroom at night. I didn’t want him searching for things inappropriate, I remember thinking. Little did I know he was looking at porn.” From there, things went from bad to worse.

“That summer, we did not realize he was trying out what he had learned on these porn websites—sexual abuse—on my grandchildren,” she said. “Because he was a ‘responsible’ boy, his sisters, who are married, would have him babysit while they would run errands. I happened one day to drop in to visit and I rang the doorbell. My son answered the door and immediately went into the bathroom. My sweet granddaughter came up to me and casually said what my son had done to her. I immediately dropped to my knees and asked her to repeat what she had just said.”

That was the moment the nightmare began:

I could not believe what I heard her say. She repeated herself and I was stunned. I hugged her and then I heard the garage door start to open. My daughter was home. I grabbed my granddaughter and told her to tell mommy what she had told me. My poor daughter. The look on her face was horror, but she wanted to remain calm for her daughter. She immediately told her how proud she was in telling us what happened.

My daughter and I just looked at each other in total shock and disgust. What are we going to do? We kept saying that over and over. I told my daughter to keep her daughter away so she could not see me confront my son. Still in the bathroom, I calmly told him to hurry up, we needed to go home. He came out and I told him to get into my granddaughter’s room where this act happened. I shut the door and quietly but directly told him what my granddaughter said. He denied it, but I told him that four-year-old girls do not describe what just happened to her without it being done to her.

I told him to get into the car and I told my daughter I would be calling the police. My son-in-law did. The police came to their home and said that they would be questioning our son in the morning. We called our priest to come and he stayed with us as we were in complete shock, horrified, and totally crushed. In the morning we took our son to the police station and told him to tell the police the truth. After he was questioned, the investigator told us that he would be going to juvenile hall and probably spend a few days there. He had turned 13 a few months before, and the district attorney was not going to let him go home…the DA wanted him to go to a state prison for juveniles, register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, and not get out until he was 25 years old.

At this point, the mother writes, she and her husband decided to fight for their son, as they felt he was a child and also needed help. They hired a lawyer, terrified of what might be done to their son by other inmates if he got sent to state prison:

It was a very long fight. In the middle of those ten months we found out that my son had molested two other grandchildren of ours. Our son did not tell us the truth, and we were so upset. We wanted to give up. We spoke to a therapist about what to do, and her referred us to a professional who deals with adolescents who molest other children. He assured us that this does not mean he will be a molester all his life…he said that porn was a big problem, and that this happens. He said that children who molest are afraid to try sexual encounters with kids their own age, so they try out what they learned in porn on younger children. He told us of adolescents that are in his practice now, and how they turned their lives around and became good citizens.

They hired a psychologist, who concurred with the therapist’s opinion. The district attorney, however, was determined to send the boy to state prison, and used delaying tactics as well as a “divide and conquer” strategy in the understandably crushed family. Eventually, the sentence was ten months in juvenile hall, and weekly therapy thereafter. But there are many others who remain registered sex offenders for the rest of their lives for horrific crimes committed when they were 12 or 13 years old. The impact of those events has irreparably changed the family:

We relive this nightmare over and over. We now have two separate families. By the grace of God our daughters are still in our lives. We were so fearful they would be estranged from us for fighting for our son…It has put a strain on our relationship, but we love each other and hope time will heal these wounds. They do not want anything to do with our son. Our daughters only come to our home when our son is in school. Their home is not a place they can just drop in as they used to do to hang out with us. They miss their home, but as long as our son is here they do not come over. I pray for healing.

This is not what I thought our family would be like. We are so proud of our family. My daughters each married awesome men and had beautiful children. We had such a beautiful life before this all happened. We cannot go back to the way it was. It is like a death. Truly it is. I miss our life before we bought our son an iPhone. My son will never own one as long as he is our responsibility. The Internet on our home computer is monitored also. Porn is an evil that tears family apart. I strongly recommend not letting children have an iPhone, smartphone, etc.

This is something that is not talked about. No one wants to talk about the horrors of porn. My husband and I suffer alone. It’s a very heavy cross to bear. Trying to be a mother/father to our daughters and our son, a grandmother/grandfather to our grandchildren, to make loving memories that as a parent or grandparent dream to have with their children/grandchildren are very tainted because of this scourge to our family. We pray one day for healing and forgiveness and reconciliation. If this can save families from dealing with what we are dealing with, it would help the bitterness we are experiencing.

I pray something can be done about the easy access adolescents have to porn. It should be as illegal as alcohol, drugs, etc. It is ruining lives.

READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN AT LIFESITENEWS.COM

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How one boy survived the Warsaw Ghetto and six concentration camps

By Jonathon Van Maren

After surviving six Nazi concentration camps and the Warsaw Ghetto, it is a miracle that Pinchas Gutter has lived to become 86 years old. Born in 1932 in Lodz, Poland, just a few years before the Reich that would murder millions of his people sent their servants tromping across the border in a blitzkrieg that was merely a dress rehearsal for things to come. He lost his parents in Majdanek. His twin sister perished, too. Gutter himself barely clung to life. Some days, he still cannot explain how he did—and why he is the only member of his immediate family to survive.

After being liberated by the Red Army in 1945, the orphaned Gutter was sent to Britain. In 1952, four years after the State of Israel rose from the ashes of the Holocaust, he joined the Israeli army, subsequently living in both Brazil and South America before immigrating to Canada in 1985. Like many other survivors, he didn’t talk about his experiences for years. For years, after all, nobody wanted to hear them. That, at least, has changed, and Gutter frequently gives lectures on what he endured, and has also been the centre of two films that focus on his life.

His incredible story has been noticed by men as prestigious as President Barack Obama, who noted during a speech at the USC Shoah Foundation that, “I think of Pinchas Gutter, a man who lived through the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and survived the Majdanek death camp…’I tell my story,’ he says, ‘for the purpose of improving humanity, drop by drop by drop. Like a drop of water falls on a stone and erodes it, so, hopefully, by telling my story over and over again, I will achieve the purpose of making the world a better place to live in.’ Those are the words of one survivor—performing that sacred duty of memory—that will echo throughout eternity. Those are good words for all of us to live by.”

Several years ago, I asked a veteran journalist at the Jewish Independent in Vancouver, where I was doing occasional freelance work at the time, what part of his work he valued the most. He didn’t even have to pause. It was the interviews with Holocaust survivors, he said. They had suffered and survived through one of the greatest human tragedies in the history of the world, and he was privileged to hear, first-hand, what they had seen and how they had emerged from the inferno. One by one, they are leaving us, he said, and memory will soon pass into history. To have the opportunity to speak with them is an extraordinary one.

I feel the same way, and it is why the time I have received from people like Pinchas Gutter is very precious to me. I remember, once, sitting in the lounge at Hillel at Simon Fraser University, and watching almost breathlessly as a beautiful, wizened old woman slowly rolled up her sleeve, revealing a faded but still jarring tattoo: Her Auschwitz number. When all those who had numbers preceding her had been murdered, it would be her turn. They never got to her, and so instead she was having coffee with us in an atmosphere so comfortable it seemed surreal, hearing stories that defied imagination.

Some time ago, Pinchas Gutter agreed to speak with me to tell his story. This is what he lived through, in his words.

When did the war start for you?

The war started for me almost the first day, when the Germans attacked Poland. We were in train going back home from a wedding, and the train would stop and would run into a ditch and then the train continue. We were fortunate that we were safe, I can’t remember that anyone was killed. I was a little boy going on 8 and I didn’t exactly appreciate what was going on–I didn’t look if anybody got killed. Anyways, that train was able to get to Lodz.

Things in Poland began to get bad quite quickly and as I understand, anti-Semitism was growing worse in Poland even prior to the war.

Jews came to Poland almost at the same time as Christianity, towards the end of the first millennium. After that what actually happened is that for quite a while there was a pagan worship in Poland, especially in Lithuania, which only became Christian around about 200-300 years later when the Duke of Lithuania married the Queen of Poland. Until about the 18thor 19thcentury, it was complicated. Real anti-Semitism started in 1919 when Poland regained its independence. There was one party in particular, a nationalist party, that wanted to [target] Jews. There were too many Jews, around 10-11 % of the population, [and] they wanted a nationalist Catholic Poland, and they didn’t actually like Ukrainians or Moldavians–they wanted to have a “clean” Poland. There were Jewish members of parliament between 1919 and 1939, there were Jewish senators, members of municipalities, mayors. I mean, it was a mixed bag, it was not just anti-Semitism.

When did Nazi anti-Semitism started after the 1939 invasion, in your memory?

Nazi anti-Semitism was already in place in Germany. In Poland it was a religious, ethnic kind of problem. Whereas in Germany it was different. My first contact with the Germans was within the week or ten days after they arrived. When the Germans attacked Poland, behind the troops came the secret service, the Gestapo, the SS–they came behind. They rounded up notables: they killed priests, rabbis and, anybody they saw [as] a resistance in future to their occupation. These elements might create problems for them, so they started rounding up people. There were lots of Germans living in Poland, ethnic Germans Polish citizens who were left over after Poland regained its independence. For example, in Lodz there were around 100,000 ethnic Germans, so they collaborated with them before the war, and they made up list, and my grandfather who was a president in charge of a seminary, teaching people to become a rabbi–he was one of those persons on the list, which they got from the council.

They came. We shared an apartment with [a door in between] because my grandfather was about 78 years old, so [when] they came to take my grandfather and they rang the bell, nobody was working because the war was going on. We were wine makers; my father was at home, and my grandfather was recuperating from a kidney operation, so he was on the bed. There was ring. My father went to open the door, [and] they asked for my grandfather. He took them to his bedroom. He was lying there, and they saw he is dying anyways, so we won’t bother to take him. They asked my father: Who are you? He said, I am the son. They asked: What do you do?

I am a winemaker, replied my father. Then they asked: Where do you make wine? They took him away and beat him almost to death and threw him in the corner, and they got the German military police to take all the trucks as they were passing by that street going to the front, to come and help themselves to thousands of bottles of wine. Wine which [was] maturing–they broke those, and they destroyed in 48 hours what had been there for 100 years. Then the caretaker went down to see my father, because he saw them taking him, [and] found him unconscious, bleeding. [He] risked his life because there was curfew–that’s how we learnt what happened. So, this was my first encounter with the SS, [the] two SS men who came to collect my grandfather. I was in the bedroom when this was happening.

And then things started to get worse. Jews couldn’t have bank accounts; their bank accounts were frozen. [If you] had a convenience store, or [were] a tailor, or if you were employed by [the] bank or police, all of these people lost their jobs and they were unemployed. You had to give up jewelry. Every day there was a new law. You couldn’t go to a park, you couldn’t use public transport. I mean, it just became impossible to really exist. And, of course, our wine making business was completely destroyed. Things were getting really from bad to worse.

They changed all the names of the street. Before all that my father had a younger sister living in Warsaw, and he felt that it would be better to be in Warsaw. My mother was blonde and blue eyed, she looked like a Scandinavian. She was very beautiful woman and she was quite tall, close to 5’11. We were twins–my mother only had two children. I had a sister, we dressed and went to the train station as Christians, and my father who couldn’t pass a Christian because he was dark and had a beard. He actually started walking and it took him two and a half months by smuggling, walking during the night or during the day, either friendly farmers use to hide him in the barn or he used to cover himself with leaves in the forest. It took him two and a half months to reach Warsaw.

And after that the Warsaw Ghetto was opened?

Warsaw Ghetto was only created at the end. It started moving in October, but they closed the wall, I guess, if I remember correctly, on the 1stof November. So, the whole of 1940, there wasn’t a ghetto–people lived all over, but things were just as bad in Warsaw. I give you an example of what happened: there were rations and people were standing in line waiting outside shops, when a Jew came to a line. Then the Polish Christians or the Germans that were there would kick him out or put him at the end, and [when] we got to the shop then there was very little left, or nothing left. And sometimes they would beat you up and just kick you out.

My mother had an idea. By that time there were around 16 or 17 people living in my aunt’s little flat, because other family from my father’s elder sister and their children, all came and stayed with us. My mother had a good idea; she gave me the money, and this little blue-eyed blonde guy who looked reasonably tall for his age would come and stand there and they would push the young guy in the front, and I would get in the shop, and I became the supplier of the food because I would go as a Christian person. And people didn’t know that whether I was German or Polish because I was blonde [and] blue-eyed, and the ideology of the Aryan is that you have to be blue eyed.

So this was how life was. I was never scared–I was always in the street, my sister was in the home with my mother, and I would see scenes like soldiers on leave, who use to have bayonets on their belt, they would take out their bayonet and collect some Jews and would try to scrape their beards with their bayonets, and take skin off. And then they would get girls around and make these elderly religious men dance like monkeys. People who would stop you, I mean any person who was not Jew could stop you and beat you, take everything out of your pocket, rob you, and you could not go to police and say that look I have been robbed. And I am talking about the beginning.

So how did the things go in the intervening period for your family?

Well, my father when he came, he found a little apartment. Unfortunately, he found [it] in a building where the front of the building had been destroyed during the bombardment of Warsaw in 1939. Polish buildings are quadrangles, with the courtyard in the middle. The front of the building was destroyed and rest was still there. So he found a little apartment with one little bedroom and one kitchen with a bathroom and hallways. He started–all he could do-[to] make wines, buying raisins from the black market. He could make wine from any fruit. He set up in the kitchen. I went running around Warsaw–that was before the ghetto closed–looking for empty bottles, which he would wash and he would make this wine in the kitchen and then people would order [it] because Jews would order for Friday night, you know, the tradition that you bless the wine and you bless the bread. And so people would order, people still had money. I would go around and deliver, he would deliver, and this is how we started making a living, and my mother found in the same street a kind of little window kiosk where she stood and was selling little cigarettes and sweets, and for about the time before the ghetto was closed and then after that she found it difficult to find something as everything was on black market.

I will give you an idea: our ration was just under 200 calories, something like 198 calories a day. You know what 198 calories a day is? I think even a Mars Bar is more than that.  Everything became a black market and people started to [get] hungry. They squeezed in 350,000 people, which lived in whole area of Warsaw, into about less than 4% of the actual area in the centre of town and they closed the walls. They setup a whole kind of Jewish government. We had a Jewish community council, we had Jewish police, Jewish prisons, Jewish prison officials. We had [a] fire brigade, [a] sanitary system built up by the Germans–except they could do nothing.

Every day [the] SS would come and call the chairman of the Jewish community council and ask what he wants and what he doesn’t want, [and] so started setting up factories from Germany both outside the Ghetto and inside it. They also asked for slave laborers, people who were taken out, thousands of men were taken out, working on roads–people who would never work like this, like lawyers, accountants, metal workers. They became like horses because they had to work on [the] road. They used human beings to pull rollers, and they would bring them back half-dead. They would not feed them properly. Things started getting really bad. We were forbidden to pray, we were forbidden to go to school, and things were–from the beginning of 1941–you started seeing dead people on the streets and as ‘41 went on, more and more people were pushed in the ghettos from surrounding towns. They did ethnic cleansing of all the towns that had Jews, brought Jews from Germany and from other places, and by the end of 1941, there were close to half a million people there.

Nobody knew the exact numbers, but they [say] anything [between] 400 and 800 thousand. And people were pushed, like in my very small apartment. My father used to bring people to sleep at night because they had no place to be. They opened up the halls, the synagogue, and people started dying by the hundreds daily. The Jewish burial society couldn’t cope with that, so they used to catch people in the streets and give them wheel barrows to take dead bodies from the street to a huge and enormous grave ditch. They were throwing them in like you throw garbage. If you had money, you could get a proper funeral with prayers, but if you had no money, you couldn’t. So things went from bad to worse. It was apocalyptic. There were lot of people who had both worked for Germans, Gestapo, who knew how to organize themselves, who were part of the black market, part of the administration, part of the Jewish police, part of all kinds of things. In the Ghetto you actually saw cafes where people were dancing and [drinking] wine and [eating] ducks, and [the] smell would come outside [where] people were dying of hunger. Typhoid started, TB started, and if you go to Jewish cemetery now, which was destroyed, there is a huge grave where 100,000 people were buried, who actually died in the Warsaw Ghetto.

What were your most vivid memories from that time?

The most vivid memory was the way my father and mother tried to protect us. I mean, I always think of my father as an angel with wings and he kind of tried to take his wings and put those wings around us to shield us from all these inequalities. This is basically, when I think about my time, you cannot even think, even if you were there. All this unraveled in July of 1942, when they said all these sick and unemployed people, hungry people—we are going sent you to a place with family, where we will give you 3 kilos of bread and jam for the journey, but you must come voluntarily. Trains and cattle trucks were there. And in the beginning, many people went voluntarily, but in a few weeks, we knew in the Warsaw Ghetto that by going, you were to be deported and travelling where there were gas chambers.

My father, because of the experience he had with Nazis, didn’t trust them at all. They played games, they issued documents, red document, green document, metal tag. They said that these people [were] not going to be resettled, then they would surround the street and tell everyone to come and show their documents and say that these documents are not valid anymore, we issued green documents and only those are not going to be resettled and everyone is going to be resettled. That’s it. We were always hidden, hidden behind walls behind cupboards. We managed to actually stay in the Warsaw Ghetto until the uprising on the 19thof April 1943. By that time, a lot of bunkers were built. Remember, I told you that the buildings were built and were destroyed and were in ruins and under those ruins, they built a bunker right underneath us and put in electricity, water, air vents through the ruins so that they aren’t seen from the street. They had two entrances, with the way you went in, kinds of steps down, and on the 19thof April when they [tried] to fetch people. The uprising started and we went down into the cellar, we were in the bunker, we were there for three weeks and we were discovered.

We went out, we were sent, instead of sending [us to] Treblinka–if I was sent to Treblinka, I wouldn’t be talking to you–I was sent to Majdanek. There men were separated from women, just like they did in Auschwitz. There were selections–I didn’t know then, but my father told me that I must say that I am five years older than the document I got, which I got after the war, because once they chose you as slave labor, you got documents, and it showed that I was born in 1927 instead of 1932, and that way I was standing with my father, as men, and not with children and women. My sister was separated [from us] and she ran towards my mother. When she saw her and hugged her [and] took her around, I suppose she was terrified, my mother hugged her and kept her. They were pushed towards [the] women with children. And since that time, I cannot remember anything about my sister, except that she had a long blonde braid.

Whenever I think of my sister Sabina, the first time I told this story, I broke down. Can you imagine somebody who has got a photographic visual memory and remembers everything from the age of almost two, [and] I can’t remember anything of my sister? She was born and part of me, and I can’t remember anything. Not from before the war, not during the war; except the place, Sabina, when I think of her now, all I see is a beautiful blonde braid. This was when I arrived in Majdanek and then they pushed us into a barrack to undress. We were naked. I said my prayers, because I thought we were going to be killed. I knew that’s what happened. We were running naked with our hands in the air, my father was running in front of me, and there was a man with white coat and he was pushing people right, left. I came into a room with shower heads, and I waited for the gas to come out, because that’s what we knew at the Warsaw Ghetto, that they kind of try to fool you by telling you that you are going to be disinfected but in the meantime, gas comes out and you die. But there water came out, and I was chosen to be a slave laborer.

That’s where you lost your parents?

 Yes, my sister and parents were killed the same day. I was looking for my father when I came out of that place, [and] the gas chamber was very near to the showers, and although it changed a bit because some of it was destroyed, if you go to Majdanek today you can actually see: On the one hand showers where people were selected to work, and on the other hand the gas chambers where people were murdered. I looked for my shower and for my father. I saw a man I knew from Warsaw, he used to come and sleep in our tiny kitchen, [and] I asked him where my father was. He didn’t answer, he just lifted his eyes to heaven and in such a way–that might this boy of eleven understand that his father was killed.

You were only a boy of 11 and lost your whole family. How did you manage to cope with things and survive in the way you did?

I don’t know, I ascribe most [it] to two things. Firstly, I was a religious Jew and I believed that Providence kept me. Because if I had to tell you everything that happened from May of 1943 to 1945, it would take me at least another hour, all the different camps I went through. I was selected to work in a–somebody wrote a book about it, he called it factories of death because people worked to death instead [of being] murdered immediately. I was in Buchenwald, loading huge steel goods onto wagons, I was in Theresienstadt; eventually I was liberated by the Russians on the 8thof May. But what kept me, I would say, [is] Providence and chance. It is impossible to believe that you can survive the things I went through. I was selected couple of times to be murdered, but I managed to hide because of the help of a Jewish police man, twice. Once one Jewish police man, the other time another Jewish police man saved my life by taking my rags off and dressing me properly when [during] the last selection when they were liquidating the camp.

Food was scare, you got very little rations, you worked 12 hours a day, [and] I had typhoid. I was then in a labor camp where I worked in an iron field, and that camp was a better camp, because it had a Jewish administration. Depending how good or bad Jewish administrators were, things were either better or worse. And at the end of 1944, they tried to kill the slave workers because they couldn’t replace them because all the Germans were being taken into the army. They already took 60-year-old men into the army, so they needed slave labor. We worked for a company that was owned by the German banks that exists today, it was an armament factory started before the war. Thank God I survived.

You were a survivor of five different camps?

When we had a roll call, the commander, who was an ordinary staff sergeant, an elderly one 50 or 60 years old, he said: Young people step out. Now young people never stepped out because they weren’t regarded as workers and they were murdered, but I stepped out–don’t ask me why–but I stepped out and he took me by the hand, took me to the kitchen, where the SS kitchen was, where they prepared food for the SS and the camp, and when you are working in the kitchen then you can eat. That built my strength so on the death march I managed to walk all this way. Fifteen hundred of us started and half of us, around 700, arrived at Theresienstadt around three weeks before the end of the war.

The thing you have often talked about is the cruelty, where the people who ran the camp attempted to dehumanize those in the camp, but somehow also became less than human themselves in many cases and ended up doing all sorts of horrifying things.

Absolutely. I will tell you about my welcome at Majdanek. The first night we were assigned a barrack and then we were given little bit of something to eat, and then soon lights were off and we had to go to sleep, and I was assigned a bunk at the bottom. I woke up in the morning, [and] I saw three young men hanging from the rafters and of course I was a little Hasidic boy and I knew nothing. I didn’t know what was going on, and I saw people committed suicide, but later on I was told, I wasn’t told the whole story.

They were murdered by the German criminals who were serving their time, they were brought from Germany to become in charge of a barrack. He had two helpers, they were kind of the overlords of the barrack and he was a sadistic man. I was told that he killed people at night, but the fact was that this was my kind of welcome. Then I was beaten by a couple so badly in Majdanek, and how I survived I have no idea. I was lying on a kind of little…anyways he came and asked me what I was doing and I said that I was told by the [commandant] to look after the cleanliness of the barrack, and I was just lying because you know I was busy with flowers and stuff like this, he started kicking me on my back side and he kicked me for about ten minutes and then he just walked away and I was bleeding, and then the bleeding stopped. After the war I had three operations because they found that I was badly injured, and to this day I actually suffer from it. Not badly, but I suffer.

It is hard for those of us who have never experienced these things to even imagine what you went through.

People always talk about Auschwitz–it was no doubt an execution camp–but Majdanek was also a working camp. Five fields, five kinds of separate fields and lots of the prisoners there were not Jews. They were prisoners of wars, Polish resistors, Polish people that were sentenced, and there was camps next to each other, one female camp. The majority of [the] guards were Ukrainians. According to what I saw and according to the suffering, Majdanek was one of the worst camps. For example, people who were gassed were killed, but people who were working were tortured on a daily basis. Instead of using road machineries they used human beings to use those rollers and make roads and make bridges and cement things, really very hard labor. And when they didn’t have anything to do–and I was once involved–they took us to a place where there was a huge mound of stones. We had to run about a kilometre to put these stones somewhere else. We are running with stones and while you are running, they are hitting you with rifle butts and whips, and what’s more, Ukrainian guards loved to kill people, but they didn’t kill them by shooting them only. They would split their heads with spades, if they didn’t like how you worked or if they didn’t like you. They would just take a spade and hit you, and every day when people came back from going to work, they would bring back half a dozen people that were killed while they were working.

You cannot imagine the cruelty and the torture that went on in Majdanek. In Auschwitz they never had such torture, they had a different kind of torture, a different kind of thing, but the Ukrainian guards who were the majority guards in Majdanek–they were so horrific that you cannot imagine. People are scared of going there because it gives you the [memories]. In certain camps you had “good” people who ran the camp, I am talking now about working camp. In Buchenwald, by the time I arrived the communist and left-wing German prisoners managed to take over the internal administration of prison, these were the German prisoners. I suppose it was already end of ’44, beginning of ’45. They kind of saw where it was going, so the left-wing Communists managed to take over the running administration and when they ran the administration, Buchenwald was terrible as there was no food. People were dying from hunger by the hundreds. You went to sleep with a thousand people and you wake up in the morning and you took forty to fifty bodies out to be counted and then taken to the crematorium.

Buchenwald didn’t have a gas chamber, but it had a crematorium to cremate remains of the people who died. All these things were going on all the time and it just impossible to believe. The only reason I survived that camp was because a Jewish police man who had a wife–Jewish administration had special privileges, so the Jewish commander of the women, she had a husband, her children, her mother and they had separate barrack, had plenty to eat and they were regarded as collaborated–but this Jewish police man had a wife who was dying with TB, and he also happened to come from Lodz and he knew my family. He told me that I must become a nurse. I worked for twelve hours, [and] when I came back I use to look after her, I would wash her, clean her. She was dying with TB. [I would] wash her clothes, wash everything that she was using like pillow cases, sheets and whatever. And he would give me extra food, and he saved my life at the end because I was sentenced to be murdered by the commander.

Then in the other camp for example, the commander of the camp was a wonderful man–he managed to keep the Germans and Ukrainians out of the camp and they never came inside. The camp was run by the Jewish police. Nobody died there–well that’s not true, one person died–but he died for his own faults because we were very near the lines of the trains that were going to Russia, with tanks and things and they were very heavily guarded by all kinds of people on the outside. We were very near to a main railway line to Russia. So, one person went too near to the wire [and] one of the guards from outside shot him, but apart from that nobody died in that camp and the food was much better, and winter came he got some tailors in the camp to cut some blankets and give them to prisoners because in winters Poland gets very cold, colder than Canada often. I remember, at one stage when my shoes were worn out, I had to put paper from cement rooms [in them].

 

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School conference secretly hands out gay-sex manual to kids…behind parents’ backs

WARNING: This report contains graphic descriptions of materials — and links to materials — that children in Alberta received at a school-facilitated Gay-Straight Alliance event. 

By Jonathon Van Maren

December 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – To the dismay of Education Minister David Eggen, Jay Cameron of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms revealed some disturbing information about the results of NDP’s policies at the Alberta Court of Appeals earlier last week. The government is insisting that parents should not be told if their child joins a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Club. JCCF, on behalf of 26 religious schools (including Christian, Sikh, and Jewish institutions) is highlighting the fact that parents must know where their child is being taken and what their children are being exposed to.

Cameron revealed to the court that children from one GSA were taken off school grounds by an adult known as a “facilitator”—the adult was not a school staff member, government employee, or even a parent of other children at the school. This “facilitator” took the children home. Parents were not informed—and under Bill 24, it is illegal for parents to be told. Another boy was taken to an off-site GSA conference, where he was given over 150 condoms, watched a demonstration on how to put on the condoms, given a 50-page flip book on how to have sex, and other extremely graphic materials.

Earlier this week, I received photographs [WARNING: Links lead to graphic material] of some of the materials given to children at a Gay-Straight Alliance Conference. They were given to me by a concerned third party, who received them from a parent. The cover of the booklet featured the title Explore the Wonders of Uranus, and depicted an enormous pair of buttocks with a rocket-ship shaped as a penis headed towards it. The rocket was being cleared for takeoff by an astronaut waving the LGBT rainbow flag. At the bottom of the page was the warning “Know Before You Go” with the link to an HIV prevention site, HIVCL.org.

The pages of the flipbook are extraordinarily graphic. Upon searching the Internet, we soon found the full materials easily available. When quickly flipped through, the booklet shows an adult man lying on his back in the woods putting a condom on, while someone who was presumably his gay partner waited for him to complete the task. 

The flipbook is described by its creators as “pocket-sized flip book that graphically models condom use between two men.”

Other material showed one man grasping the genitals of another with the intention of stimulating him, while two others showed men climbing atop other men in various sex positions.

These were explicit instructions on how to have various forms of gay sex, and these were being handed out to children without their parents’ knowledge. 

An encouraging leaflet from the BC Centre for Disease Control accompanied the graphic sex manual, noting that, “HIV and STIs are a reality. Condoms help protect against HIV and STIs. Have the confidence to be safe. Sex with a condom is still hot. Put it on, add lube, get it up! Keep it up, boys!”

The parent who provided the pictures of these materials to the third party stated that the child was given dozens of condoms along with this advice as well as a manual on precisely how to try different sex moves with members of the same gender.

This is truly inappropriate stuff, and it is disgusting that it is being provided to school-children. These graphic sex manuals amount to children receiving pornography from adults, with the Minister of Education David Eggen himself stating that parents cannot be told who these adults are, where they are taking the children, or that they are being given sex instructions and condoms and encouragement to experiment. Children are being put in danger, and Eggen and his fellow ideologues are fully aware of the fact that many parents would disagree with what they are doing, which is why the Crown Attorney asked the Alberta Court of Appeals to ignore information on what the children were being given and why the NDP government of Alberta passed a law stating that parents could not be told of their children’s activities.

These people have no business around children. Think about this again for a moment: Children are being taken out of school by people who do not work for the school and taken to the houses of adults or to conferences where they are given instructions on how to perform various sex acts—all without the knowledge of their parents, who are not permitted to know this is taking place.

READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN AT LIFESITENEWS.COM

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Thanks to porn, children are sexually assaulting other children at alarming rates

By Jonathon Van Maren

A grotesque report out of Kansas City recently has drawn attention to a problem that has begun to grow nearly unnoticed: The sexual assault of children—by other children. The Children’s Mercy hospital says that they are seeing “a disturbing trend in child sexual assault cases,” and that pornography has a lot to do with it. Heide Olson, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, noted that the number of offenders between 11 and 15 years of age is unprecedented: “I think [what] was kind of shocking to us all as we were collecting this data, is that almost half of our perpetrators are minors.”

According to the International Association of Forensic Nurses, Children’s Mercy is in the top five percent of hospitals across the United States in terms of the number of sexual assault victims that they treat—in 2017, they saw 444 children who had been sexually abused within the past week. The number of children rises to roughly 1,000 per year when the number of children who report abuse after five days is factored in, and the majority of the victims are little girls between the ages of four and eight years old.

Olson believes that this sort of sexual assault is “a learned behavior,” and according to one local news outlet reporting on the story: “Nurses are finding more and more that pornography is playing a role in these cases. That can include a victim being forced to see porn, a victim reporting that the perpetrator said they’d watched porn, being forced to do something shown in a pornographic video, or a victim being recorded doing a sex act.” Many young perpetrators admit that they are acting out what they have seen in pornography.

Due to children being exposed to pornography at younger and younger ages—Olson stated that it was common for children to see it at as young as four or five years of age—they are imbibing ugly and dangerous ideas about relationships. “We know that it’s probably multi-factorial,” she stated. “I think there are lots of things that contribute to this, but that is the question: How are we, as a society, failing in such a way that we have 11, 12, and 14-year-old boys, primarily, committing violent sexual assaults?”

Rene McCreary, the director of counseling services at the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault, concurs with Olson.

“What we are seeing is more and more kids that have sexual behavior problems and at the same time, more and more children that have access to pornography,” she noted. “Pornography is different today than it used to be. So, 80 percent of the 15-most-viewed films portray women being hit, spit on, kicked, called degrading names. The kinds of behaviors we wouldn’t want our children, or anyone, to act in. Pornography has become more violent.” She says 25 percent of all sex crimes are committed by minors.

This is not the first time that children assaulting children as a result of pornography has made the news. The Economist recently published a report indicating that pornography was spurring children (nearly always boys) to sexually assault other children (nearly always girls), and that experts were calling for access to pornography to be restricted as a result. In the United Kingdom, for example, the police apparently received nearly 40,000 reports of children sexually assaulting other children, including 2,625 alleged instances taking place on school grounds. Pornography is grooming boys to be predators, and girls to be victims.

READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN AT LIFESITENEWS.COM

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Victory: Bubble zone legislation in Manitoba defeated

By Jonathon Van Maren

I have written frequently that a key tactic of Canada’s progressive politicians is to demonize their ideological opponents in order to force their political adversaries into tough positions. Introducing so-called “bubble zone”legislation has consistently been one key way they attempt to do this. Former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne introduced this legislation in Ontario, revealing her political motivations for doing so when she refused to expedite the legislation in response to former Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown’s immediate, groveling acquiescence to her plan—this defeated her purpose of driving a wedge in the conservative base. Blatantly false claims about “harassment”in front of abortion clinics were made, although not a single example was ever highlighted—and as we all know, if there was an example of a pro-lifer behaving in such a way, it would be headline news for a week and would immediately trigger comment from every progressive politician in the country.

Rachel Notley and her beleaguered gang tried the same thing in Alberta—they know that they cannot beat Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party based on their economic record, and so they insisted that bubble zones around Albertan abortion clinics were essential, and that anyone who didn’t vote for such legislation was misogynist and supported harassing women. Kenney and his UCP comrades correctly identified this move as a political trap designed to change the channel, and incorrectly decided that people would be impressed by their political acumen if they decided to storm out of the legislature en masse every time the issue came up. Again, the Alberta NDP had no actual examples of “harassment” beyond a collection of people praying occasionally outside clinics. It was simply a cynical move to score political points while demonizing pro-life Canadians as a dangerous threat.

In Manitoba, at least, there’s good news on this file for a change. From CTV:

A private member’s bill to ban protestors around Manitoba abortion clinics and hospitals is not moving forward. The proposed legislation did not make it past second reading and was not supported by the PC government which has a large majority.

NDP MLA Nahanni Fontaine tabled the law because she said women and girls seeking abortions are at times subjected to bullying and intimidation by anti-abortion picketers. Premier Brian Pallister raised concerns the bill could infringe on people’s right to protest.

It is nice to see that there are a few conservative politicians who still believe in the right to freedom of speech and are willing to ignore the lies of politicians like Fontaine. The number of assaults on pro-life people—especially women—in Canada have been astronomical this year (numbering in the dozens), and even when videos of pro-choice men attacking pro-life women went viral, progressive politicians refused to address them—because such incidents do not suit the narrative they’ve invented for political purposes. To admit that pro-lifers are being attacked on camera and with frequency on Canadian streets is to admit that they have no such examples of pro-lifers attacking pro-choice people, and that they have been lying to the Canadian public to score political points.

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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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Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition: The Anthem of Pearl Harbor

By Jonathon Van Maren

On December 7, 1941, the American naval base at Pearl Harbor was smashed by a stunning attack at dawn. Japanese fighter planes came in waves, with bombs and torpedoes crashing into the ships and exploding into carnage and chaos. It was all over in ninety minutes, and the devastation was immense: 2,335 American servicemen had been killed, and an additional 1,143 were wounded. Eighteen American ships, including five battleships, were either sunk or run aground. A sleeping giant was rudely awakened, and it was a day, as Franklin Delano Roosevelt would so famously say, that would live in infamy.

In the days following the Pearl Harbor attack, a legend began circulating. As the servicemen were pinned down by Japanese planes, the story went, there was an army chaplain who circulated among the beleaguered defenders who were desperately trying to return fire with machine guns and any other weapon they could find. The men, it was said, asked him to say a prayer for them, and in response, the chaplain laid down his Bible, grasped one of the machine guns, and bellowed, “Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition!” The battle cry breathed courage into the hearts of the sailors, and they began to fight in earnest again.

A year later, the American songwriter Frank Loesser got hold of the legend and put the story to song, dubbing the chaplain a “Sky Pilot” and writing in part:

Down went the gunner, a bullet was his fate
Down went the gunner, and then the gunner’s mate
Up jumped the sky pilot, gave the boys a look
And manned the gun himself as he laid aside the Book, shouting

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition
And we’ll all stay free

Praise the Lord and swing into position
Can’t afford to sit around a-wishin’
[or Can’t afford to be a politician]
Praise the Lord, we’re all between perdition
And the deep blue sea

The song, like the Battle Hymn of the Republic before it, soon took on a life of its own, and sold over 450,000 copies in only two months. It became one of those patriotic war songs for both the men and women on the Home Front as well as those in battle, emphasizing the goodness of the Allied cause (and thus, implicitly, affirming the wickedness of the Axis powers.) As legends do, the story soon became accepted as something that had actually taken place during the hour and a half of horror when the Japanese rained hellish fire on the heads of the men at Pearl Harbor.

The truth, as it often does, differed slightly. The chaplain referred to as the “sky pilot” did in fact exist, and his name was Lieutenant Howell Forgy—but he had never actually picked up a machine gun. Forgy was aboard the USS New Orleans when the Japanese attack began. According to the officer in charge of the ammunition line, he heard someone say, “Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition,” and when he turned, he saw Chaplain Forgy walking along the line of terrified men, patting them on the back, nodding his encouragement. The officer noted that he himself felt tremendously comforted by the words, and turned back to the task at hand with vigor.

After the story turned to legend and was then rendered in song, those who remembered the actual event encouraged Forgy to step forward, but the modest chaplain refused. The legend, he thought, was far more useful as an inspiration for soldiers than what had actually occurred. While the press did manage to identify Forgy as the “sky pilot” and get much of the real story, the chaplain never spoke of it much.

After the war, however, Howard Forgy appeared on the popular game show “I’ve Got A Secret.” While there, he finally recounted his version of what had happened:

Well, I was stationed aboard the USS New Orleans, and we were tied up at 1010 dock in Pearl Harbor when we attacked again. We were having a turbine lifted, and all of our electrical power wasn’t on, and so when we went to lift the ammunition by the hoist, we had to form lines of men—form a bucket brigade—and we began to carry the ammunition up through the quarterdeck into the gurneys, and I stood there and directed some of the boys down the port side and some down the starboard side, and as they were getting a little tired, I just happened to say, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.” That’s all there I to it.

Forgy’s modesty is an example of a characteristic that defined so much of the Greatest Generation. Today, at the memorial for the 77th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, there were no survivors present. Five of them are yet living, but old age has made it nearly impossible for them to travel. This week also saw the funeral of World War II veteran George H.W. Bush, who tried to sign up to fight the day after Pearl Harbor, but was turned away because he was only seventeen years old.

They are almost all gone now. We must honor them and learn from them while we can.

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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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The BBC is worried that Tumblr’s new ban will cause a porn shortage

By Jonathon Van Maren

When I first spotted the link on Twitter, I thought it might be a joke. Unfortunately, it was not: The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has actually published a column titled “Tumblr’s porn ban abandons the marginalized.” While “Tumblr has a major porn problem” which includes “images of child abuse,” the writer mourns, the site has also “long offered something different, and important.”

By which he means different and important porn. The “marginalized” must have access to pornography that suits their tastes. It is, presumably, a matter of social justice. From the once-prestigious BBC:

Founded 11 years ago, Tumblr is a platform where users can publish text, images and videos quickly, as well as share and comment on other submissions. The site’s popularity peaked in 2014. Yet as its use dwindled, its reputation as an alternative corner of the internet grew, not least as a place to find unique adult material.

Unlike typical pornography sites, which overwhelmingly cater to men, and serve an often narrow definition of what is attractive, Tumblr has been a home for something else – content tailored at vibrant LGBT communities, or for those with tastes you might not necessarily share with all your friends.

If society deems it acceptable for any porn to be on the internet, then that acceptance must surely be inclusive. Unlike most of those other sites Mr D’Onofrio speaks of, Tumblr has been a space where different body types are sexually celebrated, not degraded.

In 2015, Cosmopolitan described Tumblr as a place where women “can explore their sexuality with the support of women without judgement or fear”. It argued that Tumblr’s design seemed to cater to different physical need: offering a slow, building stream of visual and emotional content – rather than the instant video gratification of sites designed with hurried male audiences in mind, fast-forward button and all.

Many on Tumblr have been fearing a porn ban since the network was acquired by fading web giant Yahoo in 2013. That time, the adult content was allowed to remain. But in 2017, when Yahoo was acquired by Oath, the digital arm of telecoms giant Verizon, the writing was on the wall.

“I had feared this day would come,” wrote one user, who runs a fetish account, in response to the chief executive’s message on Monday. “I’m so sad to see this happen, and can’t believe I’ll be losing this blog. I honestly don’t know what I’ll do without it, but I truly hope that the kinky community comes up with a new place for us all to get together and share.”

…That change means marginalised people, those who are all-too-used to being ostracised in their offline lives, now face it in their online space too. Some of the internet’s most-needed communities are now homeless.

This article is stupid and delusional for a long list of reasons, the most prominent of which is the idea that any and all types of pornography are not easily available on the Internet. It is quite literally known as the Rule of the Internet: If you can conjure something up in your mind, no matter how perverse or perverted or wicked or bizarre, you will be able to find Internet pornography of that precise conjuration. I recognize that social justice warriors enjoy fantasizing about nonexistent oppression, but the idea that some communities face a porn shortage is simply ludicrous.

I debated a queer studies scholar, Dr. Annalise Trudell, on the Andrew Lawton Show last year, and she made much the same argument as the writer of this nonsensical news article. I pointed out the connections between pornography and sexual violence (which she affirmed), and highlighted the fact that the mainstreaming of sexual violence in our culture as the result of pornography was profoundly harmful to our social fabric and our relationships. Again, Dr. Trudell agreed, but said that the sort of porn that she liked—feminist, LGBT sort of stuff—was necessary. When I asked her why, she explained that queer people needed this porn to figure out how to have sex. That, apparently, was what she had needed it for.

Jessica Powell has also chimed in over at the New York Times, penning a column titled “The problem with banning pornography on Tumblr.” She concurs with the BBC, mourning the loss of same-sex smut that has apparently until now enriched the lives of many. It is a sign of just how crude and pathetic our culture has become that an imaginary porn shortage has become, to some, an issue of “social justice.”

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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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A teenage girl and her friends are suing their high school over transgender bathroom policy

By Jonathon Van Maren

Earlier this year, I interviewed Sohrab Ahmari, a writer over at Commentary magazine, on the story of Alexis Lightcap. Alexis is a 2018 graduate of the Boyertown Area High School in Pennsylvania, and she and several other students have recently asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their student privacy lawsuit after fighting their school on their transgender bathroom policy. The students are being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, America’s most distinguished defender of religious freedom.

Alexis penned an editorial for USA Today last week explaining her decision to take her school to court:

Few students ever dream that they’ll sue their high school. But that is exactly what several of my peers and I had to do.

Our school is Boyertown Area High School in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, and my reason for suing was to restore the bodily privacy we used to enjoy in locker rooms and restrooms on campus. Now, we have asked the Supreme Court to review our case. 

I’m OK with the school district’s desire to hear voices other than mine on this issue. But I have a voice, too — and Boyertown officials have little interest in my perspective. They didn’t even bother to tell me or the other students that they changed school policy to allow students to choose their locker rooms and restrooms based not on their sex, but on their beliefs about their gender.

The moment I walked into our girls’ restroom and found a boy standing there, I turned and fled — the school’s surveillance video caught me running out. I tried to get the attention of administrators to explain to them how uncomfortable — how scared — I felt sharing the girls’ restroom with a boy. They wouldn’t listen. The principal simply wrote down my concerns on a Post-it note and said he’d contact me soon. He never did. Students deserve security, parents deserve knowledge

My parents were no less shocked by this new policy. Boyertown officials kept it a secret from them, too. The administrators never sent home a memo saying that, from now on, our school locker rooms would be open to students based on what sex students believed themselves to be.

Instead, our parents first learned of the policy when I found the boy in the girls’ restroom, and when others, like my classmates identified in the suit as Joel Doe and Jack Jones, were changing clothes in the boys’ locker room and looked up to find a girl changing clothes beside them.

Hollywood movies and TV shows try to make that kind of moment seem funny. But in real life, it’s embarrassing and unnerving. Locker rooms and restrooms are supposed to be a refuge for students, and adults, too, for that matter. As a woman, I go through those doors looking for privacy — not to find a guy looking back at me as I’m changing my clothes.

As a former foster child who bounced around through the system, I know what it’s like to be seeking an identity and trying to come to terms with who you are. As a black girl who grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood, I know what it’s like to be treated unfairly, picked on, and made fun of by insensitive people. I won’t accept anyone being bullied or discriminated against — and that absolutely includes my classmates experiencing gender dysphoria. They deserve our love and support. Even so, my privacy shouldn’t depend on what others believe about their own gender.

Why is it so hard for school officials to understand that young girls care about the privacy of their bodies? It’s natural for us and our parents to worry about who might walk in on us in a vulnerable moment. The school bureaucracy has no right to say my privacy is irrelevant.

I had once lost my voice in the foster care system. And I was once again losing it in my own school: School officials withheld information from me and my parents, then silenced me by ignoring my concerns. Fortunately, my parents also taught me to speak up for myself, and I found my voice through this lawsuit.

I recently graduated from Boyertown Area High School, so I’m not taking this stand just for myself. I’m speaking for my friends and my little sister, all of whom are having their privacy interests ignored by their own school — a school that should be protecting everyone’s privacy. That’s not fair to them. And whether school administrators intend it or not, their secrecy and silence create the distinct impression that they aren’t really interested in fairness at all.

Schools can and should be compassionate in supporting students who experience gender dysphoria. So should other students. But a truly fair and genuinely compassionate policy doesn’t have to be kept secret from students and parents. And an effective policy would be one that secures the privacy of every student — which is nothing more than what every parent and student has a right to expect.

Trans activists like to pretend that what they are demanding is eminently reasonable. They insist that nobody gets hurt by affirming the so-called “right” of a trans person with a penis to enter the girl’s bathroom—and they attempt to silence those girls who speak up to say that their safe spaces are being eliminated.

This is why the radical feminists and the trans activists have been increasingly facing off: Because if the trans activists get their way, they will eliminate all-female spaces by redefining “female” out of existence. Thus, women will be forced to wax male genitals if those males claim it is a “girl penis.” Rape victims will be forced to tolerate men in crisis shelters. And high school girls will have to accept males in their bathrooms.

The rights of women, it turns out, mean nothing to trans activists. They deny that there is any objective and biological definition of what it means to be a woman in the first place. In short, they have defined women out of existence.

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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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Doing pro-life work in Ghana

By Jonathon Van Maren

As a pro-life activist working in North America, I’ve been long fascinated by the work done to fight abortion in other countries—especially places that are radically different than the West. Recently, I did an interview with Richard Sempala on his pro-life work in Uganda, and I’ve taken another look at pro-life work in Africa with this interview with 39-year-old Edward Obeng-Kwakye, who runs a pro-life organization in Ghana.

He has seen both terrible and beautiful things: A dog worrying at the corpse of an aborted baby tossed in the trash, and little babies who would have shared a similar fate if pro-lifers had not had the opportunity to help. Pro-life work in Africa is often challenging and difficult, and those who commit to this work need an extra dose of courage and commitment. Edward answered my questions earlier this fall.

What is the situation regarding abortion in Ghana?

The situation regarding abortion in my country Ghana can be found in our constitution. Section 58 of the Criminal Code of [the] 1960 constitution makes abortion a criminal offence in Ghana.

Many women in Ghana [have] engaged in unsafe abortion. Some mothers prepared herbal concoction and gave it to their pregnant daughter as a means of terminating the pregnancy. Adding [to] that, when the situation become worse, they then sent them to hospital for medical care–and that can be too late. The end result may be death.

Most hospitals in my country have witnessed several instances where the wombs of many young girls had been highly infected and rotten, thereby compelling doctors to remove babies through a procedure know as a total hysterectomy.

The best advice to this is that our parents should draw their daughters closer to them and monitor their movements, as most of the young girls indulged in illegal abortion through the advice of their peers.

As pro-life leader in my country, Ghana, we need to put effort into very comprehensive, nation-wide anti-abortion awareness to achieve great impact regarding abortion. I started this campaign some years ago, and we have able achieved great impact. In the year 2015 -2016, when we started nationwide campaigns, we couldn’t tour all ten regions of Ghana but we were able to save some voiceless unborn babies from abortion.

Here are the statistics for Ghana from 2009 to 2017 below:

YEAR RATE
2010 10,785
2011 16,185
2012 17,145
2013 18,156
2014 ——
2016 15,325
2017 53,114

 

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

My name is Obeng-Kwakye Edward, and I am 39 years old. I am Ghanaian and married to my beautiful wife, Patricia Hanson (now Mrs. Obeng-Kwakye) with three kids: two boys and one girl. I am also a social worker and philanthropist. I am full of the revelation of knowledge of redemption and living the redeemed life. I have five siblings, made up of four brothers and one sister. I am now fully an orphan. I lost my mum about twenty years ago and just last year also, my daddy passed on. As an orphan, I’m fighting for the right of our voiceless unborn babies, orphans and needy children, single mothers, and giving hope to unplanned for pregnancy mothers and needy in our society.

How did you get involved in the pro-life movement?

My involvement was a call, and this happen through a dream I had about eighteen years ago. I am very happy to be still making impact in many people’s lives today. I’m also very blessed to approach others for this call in to this ministry for LIFE. After the dream I visited one of my uncles and found a book by Shari Richards of ultrasound images, and after going through the book, I found much information and this book and video, Window to the Womb.  This is the first powerful video I watched. I made a request and Shari Richards sent me many videos, books, handouts, baby’s clothes etc., and this is how Ghana Pro-Life got started. After I was trained myself, I had opportunity to minister to youth camp meetings and it was blessed by God.

I had my first radio interview at Mercury FM at Kumasi, Ashanti Region of Ghana. And that led me to many radio and television programs, schools, churches, and open and closed air programmes. I initiated Anti-Abortion Campaign-Ghana, so we had several programs and lack of funds–we were not able to complete all ten regions of Ghana and requests started coming in for pregnant daughters who wanted to keep their pregnancies if we might help them with food and shelter. I was willing to help but nobody was willing to donate to enable us to help these pregnant ladies to choose life against abortion. So that led us to established OBENG-KWAKYE FOUNDATION and registered at Department of Registries General of Ghana with Certificates as well as a Board of Directors. So now, we are doing whatever we can to give hope to voiceless unborn babies, needy pregnant mothers, and support orphans and needy kids.

We have able to get many volunteers nationwide who are supporting us to counseling and many things in support of LIFE.

What is the pro-life movement in Africa like?

The pro-life movement in Africa keeps improving every day through due to great men and women working around the clock to provide for and educate our ladies on the risks involved in abortion. And that keep us on the road to save more lives from abortion. We are all doing our best to save more lives.

What sort of work do you do?

We create awareness through presentations in schools, churches, radio and television stations, open and closed air, and one-on-one awareness creation.

We work to give support for mothers facing unplanned pregnancy, give HOPE to single mothers, support orphaned and needy children, give HOPE to our voiceless unborn babies facing abortion, and visit hospitals to meet the needs of new mothers at various homes etc.

Is Ghana a pro-life country, in your experience?

Yes and no, because the law permits abortion in many cases of rape, incest, if the life of our ladies is in danger, or if there is risks of fatal abnormality. Our president and our health ministers have involved many organizations such as Marie Stopes etc. to take up facilities to full operation to kill our future generations, especially our voiceless unborn babies.

Now, I can boldly say that the rate abortion figures are going up every day in my country, Ghana–we are edge of becoming abortion country.  But is not too late to gain our respect back.  We have to reduce the rate by putting more effort into nationwide anti-abortion campaigns to end abortion killings in Ghana. Through this, Ghana can become a pro-life country.

What are the major challenges the pro-life movement in your country faces?

There are many challenges facing the pro-life movement of Ghana. We don’t have equipment and materials, there is a lack of training, housing vocations training, financial support, and we don’t have an office–we just operate from my home. Right now we have 60 pregnant ladies nationwide.  We have to provide housing for them and be able to monitor them daily for their medical care, because some of them are as young as fourteen years old. There is no place for them to stay. This also causing a lot of problems for us. How can I travel for about 4 hours to check on some pregnant ladies and come back? Where is the financial support?  It is hard to do all of this alone with little support from volunteers and my family.

Could you share some stories from your work with us?

One morning I was invites to speak to a youth breakfast meeting. It was blessing to be in the mix of youth. The program was a blessing to that meeting, and just I closed from that meeting, I saw some young ladies fighting to draw closer and I found out that she was pregnant and had been there to take some water to go and sell to enable her to gain some profit to buy food. I found out that she was three months pregnant and had not been able to go to the hospital. I invited her home and led her to hospital for medical care and took care of her until she gave birth to a baby boy, and she named her baby after me. There are now 65 babies named after me, and that baby is now three years old and has started school to enable her mother to work.  My approach was blessing an at the right time to save a life. I have many stories to share, and some will make you cry.

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Public executions and religious persecution: An inside look at life inside North Korea

By Jonathon Van Maren

Growing up, Hyeonseo Lee was sure she lived in the best country in the world. Her family seemed well-to-do, and she was very patriotic—she knew the song “Nothing to Envy” by heart. She remembers vividly the moment she realized that not everything was as it seemed. It was the crippling famines of 1994-1998, when between 240,000 and 3.5 million people died of starvation. It was then that Lee finally realized that North Korea might not be what she had been told it was.

She had witnessed public executions from a very young age, but it was the scenes of suffering and dying in the wake of massive food shortages that seared themselves into her memory. Outside a train station, she saw “a woman…lying on the ground apparently dead, with a starving child in her arms staring at her face. Nobody helped them, because they were so focused on taking care of themselves and their families.” Her mother received a letter from the sister of one of her colleagues which stated that, “When you read this, all five family members will not exist in this world, because we haven’t eaten for the past two weeks.”

To many North Koreans, Lee included, this disaster was an indication that their Dear Leader—Kim Jong-il at the time—was not capable of all that he said he was. Although the subjects of the Hermit Kingdom were largely unaware of the causes, it was economic mismanagement (augmented by the collapse of the Soviet Union) and a series of droughts and floods that triggered the famines, and North Korea’s government was simply unequipped to respond effectively. Their incompetence and the fragility of their regime was abruptly exposed: They could not even prevent their own people from starving to death in the streets.

In 1997, with the famine still underway, Hyeonseo Lee fled the country, crossing the Yaku River with the intention of obtaining a college education in China and returning. Instead, she ended up living in hiding under several different false identities in China for a decade before entering South Korea and applying for asylum-seeker status. Upon finding that her family was suffering enormously for her escape, she returned to China to help her family escape North Korea as well, eventually assisting them on a more than 2,000-mile journey though Communist China. The escape was rife with danger, and she had to pay several bribes when family members were arrested. In the end, they reached South Korea and safety at last.

In 2015, she published a memoir titled The Girl with the Seven Names, detailing her experiences growing up in North Korea and the details of her harrowing escape. She was kind enough to join me to discuss life inside the Hermit Kingdom.

What was it like to grow up in North Korea? According to your memoir, you have some very mixed feelings.

Actually, until I knew the real world, until I knew the outside world outside North Korea, my country was paradise, although we suffered a lot. I didn’t know that we were suffering because I never tasted freedom or democracy, and I could compare no country with my own country.  So, we had really an oppressed life, we lived like in a prison. Since we did not know anything about the outside world and the regime told us that we were the most happy human beings, that’s what we just believed.

Because we were a divided country, separated [from] South Korea, the regime told many bad things about the outside world, like America or capitalist countries–that there are many dying in hospitals, or there are people who can’t pay for their tuition so they can’t go to school, they didn’t even know what a school looked like. Or we were shown pictures where people had no shoes or clothes, and they were wandering in winters. Whenever we saw that, we felt that we were really lucky to have the Dear Leader because at least I had a shoe and we didn’t have to suffer that much, [and] we were not suffering under the colonization of America. The regime told us that the reason for poverty is that America is colonizing, and that they are killing innocent people. That’s why we were so proud of being born inside North Korea.

You write in your book about how North Korea bred paranoia and cultivated a culture of informing on your neighbors, reporting these tiny infractions, but that because this was normal you still felt as if you had a normal childhood.

Yes, as I said, everything in North Korea that was normal, I later found to be totally crazy, because [I grew up in an] environment where we witnessed public executions, and whole families disappeared in middle of a night if they made a mistake by saying wrong things. So, I experienced my friend’s father’s whole family disappearing in the middle of the night because he had said something wrong. It felt horrible. Even when I was young, my mom told me that I should be careful about what I am saying outside and to not repeat the words that I hear at home. Usually because kids made a mistake of repeating the words outside that they heard at home and caused big problems.

That’s why in North Korea we couldn’t trust anyone. Even between husband and wife, because at the divorce they could tell the government about the other person’s behavior. We could only trust parents and siblings, that’s all. The environment made us like that. We have a self-criticism sessions in North Korea, I guess the only country to have this ridiculous system. Every Saturday all of the country from the school kids to [the] grandmothers, every farmer, every company, every diplomat, every person has to attend this session every Saturday as [a] North Korean citizen. During this we have to criticize each other, we must criticize. Instead of giving other people compliments or kindness–we never learnt that–we learnt only to criticize each other. If I don’t criticize other people then I would get into trouble, so we must criticize. During that session we learnt that if we saw something that is not correct, we have to tell this to the government. We thought that’s the way you are loyal to the government. That’s why we never felt guilty. In that environment we were completely ignorant.

You wrote that public executions were mandatory even for the children?

Yes, I witnessed my first public execution when I was seven. Actually, it was quite early age. I didn’t even know when I saw it that it was a public execution, because I never knew about that. It was [my] first experience, and then I was just shocked to see that a man was hanging by his neck under a road bridge. In North Korea we have a lot of shooting in public executions. At that time I saw it was hanging, but now I assume that by this time hanging must have disappeared. The regime was often worried that not many people [would] attend public executions–the reason that they are having public executions is to show people that if you make same mistake or if you are against the regime or government you will be killed in exactly the same way. That’s the message they wanted to [send].

That’s why they made it mandatory for every school, every company to watch these public executions. Many people were killed for many absurd reasons, like a person who killed a cow, or a person who stole a rice from a factory or a farm to feed his family, smugglers, fortune-tellers, homosexuals, and defectors like me. People who saw the public executions were usually terrified. Right now when [the] regime kills people they are using rifles, and also machine guns. What I saw was a rifle at a time. It’s insane. Many people fainted at the sight. These public executions kept constantly reminding people that I should not do anything like this or I will be killed.

What sort of things could get you executed in North Korea?

These days they are killing a lot of high-ranking officials. It’s not a very different story, even during Kim Il Sung and also our second dictator Kim Jong Il, we also saw that they killed many high-ranking officers. The regime, when they kill high ranking officials, they kill on purpose with all pain on their body. Because, for example in 1995, during mid-1993, we had a big famine in north Korea and many people suffered. The regime had to kill somebody to put all the blame on somebody, and they killed in public execution the Minister of Agriculture in North Korea, and then they said that the reason farms in North Korea didn’t have much productivity, the reason was him, and he was a southern spy. He put something destructive in the farms, so we have the situation right now that everyone had to suffer. Then people believed it was crazy that such a high-ranking official [could] be a spy.

Even today, they put all guilt on somebody and then that person is executed. These days they are also killing defectors, including defector’s family. Defectors who are caught in China are not executed in public–the ridiculous thing is that they can be tortured and imprisoned and then the worst thing is that they can be sent to political prisoner camp. The defectors who are caught on their way to South Korea, it’s obvious that they are trying to go to South Korea and not China, then there is no doubt that they will be in political prison camps and then public execution. So that’s the situation and the Chinese government keeps sending defectors back to political prisoner camps.

It has been reported in the news over the past couple of years that Christians in North Korea are being executed for owning Bibles. Of course, religion in North Korea is quite rare. Did you know anyone in North Korea who was religious?

When I was growing up, we never knew about religion. I didn’t know that religion existed in this world. I didn’t know who God was. I thought that God was Kim Jong Un or Kim Jong Il–not only me, all the citizens [did]. I think more than 90% [of] citizens believed them to be god. Then, they were all gods. Sometimes we saw foreign movies. The regime sometimes showed us Chinese movies, or Indian movies, or sometimes some outside movies. And then they would cut a lot of scenes; if there were lot of God or cross symbols or love scenes, they were cutting them in middle of the movie. So we could see clearly that [a] movie scene was cut out and then connected with different scene.

It’s really common, so that’s why when I came in 2008, even though I lived in China for ten years, but when I arrived in south Korea, I saw a lot of Red Cross signs on the top of the buildings, a lot of Red Cross signs. I [thought], that’s the only sign that showed in North Korea, the hospital sign. That’s why I thought why there are so many hospitals in South Korea; too many, I found. Later, I found that they were not hospitals, they were churches.

We didn’t know anything about religion, but some outside people knew that in North Korea, we have some fake churches in Pyongyang that are made by the regime for the propaganda to show a different side to visitors: That they have freedom of religion, that we have Christianity. In essence, all the workers there were North Korean agents, seriously trained. Some of the outside people got confused; they thought that they are real churches. How naïve. We told them that they are not real churches. This is the reality.

You say that you grew up in North Korea during the famine in the early 1990s, and yet you say that some of your happiest memories are from North Korea. How did you manage to stay happy going through such awful time?

Because I didn’t suffer personally. In North Korea we have a sort of hierarchy system, so from the moment I was born I realized that I was lucky [with my] nice family background. So it depends, because of our grandparents’ background. We were divided into three different classes inside North Korea.

That’s why I feel like why other people suffered and I didn’t. I didn’t see that problem that much but when we had big famine from 1995, [at] that time I saw so many people were suffering, even some of my friends, at that time I slowly began to learn the reality inside North Korea. I was really sad to see that. Even in 1997, I saw people dying on the street. And I’d [read of] people dying in the movies or novels but I could never imagine that people in my country can die of starvation.

So that’s the main reason that made me cross the border to China, because as I said in my book, I read a letter from a woman whose five family members were dying of starvation. They didn’t have food for weeks. It was the first time for me, it was really shocking for me. Then I saw the mother and baby dying in front of the train station. I was living just next to the border. The border town [was] usually [a] nice life compared to other people, especially because of my father and mother’s job, I never experienced money problems. I was living on the border just next to China, [and] our televisions could pick up Chinese signals and then I watched, even though it’s illegal in North Korea–if you are caught you will be severely punished. It completely transformed my life. To me China looked awesome, much more rich than North Korea. While I saw people dying in street, at night from the Chinese TV what I saw was completely colorful and different.

And even [though] I was living right next to the border, we had lots of power shortages. We were living in blackout at the time. Even today nothing has changed. China never had power shortages. Every night they had light, including street light. So everything at that time changed, while many people left the country [due to] starvation because they knew that if they lived here they would die. So die in North Korea, or die while crossing or die in China—it was not a big difference for them. But I wanted to see the differences. I don’t know If what I saw on Chinese TV was real or fake, [but] because of watching Chinese TV there was a strong desire to see the outside world and it made me cross the border. But at the time I did knew that It would be the last meeting with my home town and that I would be separated from my family for so long.

How did you escape North Korea?

Most defectors crossing the border have to take huge risks with their life. I even saw, living next to the border, that some people drowned in the water and the dead body was flowing down the river during the famine, and if we [went] early in the morning to the border because my home was right next to the border and opened the door, we could see that dead bodies were covered with straw bags. I crossed the border during the winter time. We had a frozen river, so I [could] cross the river to China. The military border guards were guarding the area very severely, [but] because I was living right next to the border, we had a really good relationship with border guards, they were like my uncles or elder brothers.

They slept in our house, we shared meals together, it was like a family. They could never imagine that I wouldn’t come back to North Korea. Even I couldn’t imagine [that]. So it was really easy compared to other defectors, but as I described in my book, when I crossed, at that moment I wore very fancy shoes. I didn’t know at that time the meaning of escaping the country, or refugee. Because we never learnt those words, like human rights, democracy, freedom, refugee. I thought I would be coming back soon, but that was the last meeting. Then I crossed the frozen ice.

And how did you get your family out? Once you got out of China, you decided to try your mother and brother get out. How did that happen?

Yes, because I had been separated from my family for [so] long, although I had a difficult life for my long journey. It’s like roller coaster. The reason [I] did not give up in the long journey, [was] because of the hope [of] meeting my family one day. So in 2008, when I finally found my freedom by seeking asylum in South Korea, then I just learnt that my family had many problems because of me. My mom’s friend was spying on her for six years–she was reporting everything about my mom; daily life, daily schedule. All [the] neighbors were spying on my mom, so my family was like in prison. My mom always told me she was [very] stressed living in such an environment and because [they were] defector’s family members they had severe problems. They were under threat to be sent to the countryside near the mountains, where it is extremely difficult to survive. In the year 2009, we had the same problem: my family’s name was on the list to [be] banished to countryside, which means leave and die in the mountains. They can’t survive.

So at that time I took huge risk by bringing them out. The second reason was that I wanted to show my mom and my family that there was another world in this world, a beautiful free world. I just wanted to show them, that’s why I made this huge decision. It’s not easy for us–we are not travelling to the next city [or the] next province. Actually, you know, when I was writing this book, the most difficult part for me was when I described how I took my family out of North Korea, because this story is not like 15 years ago or 20 years ago. It’s just a few years ago to me. Every single step in China was so painful to us, because the Chinese government severely watched, searching for North Korean defectors in every bus, taxi or in the trains. If we were caught, we obviously knew what was going to happen to us because I [had a] South Korean passport at the time so if I was caught, I would be publicly executed inside North Korea, and because of me my family would be in political prison for their entire lives. We were painfully aware of the situation. Every single step was like being killed when we encountered Chinese police. I felt like if I died myself, its ok. But I can’t see my family have problems in front of me. We are lucky that we united, but what if were unlucky like other defectors who are caught? Because most of the defectors are caught in China, and then they are in huge trouble. That’s why it’s a painful memory.

One final question. Moving from North Korea to rest of the world, what was the hardest thing to get used to?

To get used to democracy, freedom, [and] capitalism is really the most difficult thing for all North Korean defectors, because we grew up in a Communist society, which is completely controlled by the regime. We never had any freedom. We never made any decisions for our life–all the time the regime made [decisions] for all North Korean citizens. So we lived like human robots, we just go there, go here. But when North Korean people have freedom like in South Korea, we don’t know where to go because we have never tasted so much freedom. That’s why when we have so much freedom, suddenly we don’t know where to go, because we need somebody’s hand to help to give us a direction because we were never trained to make a decision ourselves. Suddenly we come from communism to capitalism and the economy that is huge. Many people don’t even know how to use a subway, they don’t even know how to take a bus. That’s the real issue for North Korean defectors. So, my answer is we never enjoyed freedom. We need a lot of time to get used to it. That’s why now many North Korean defectors in South Korea are having hard time.

But what makes things most difficult is the prejudice. We were separated from South Korea for seven decades, and for that time North Korean people were completely forgotten by South Koreans, and then [when] we arrive in South Korea, we kind of become outsiders. And that’s why many North Korean people, when looking for jobs, have to hide their identity even in South Korea. This is the reality right now, so that’s what makes it difficult and that’s why suicide rate in North Korean defectors is so high when compared to ordinary South Korean citizens. It’s hard for me, because it’s hard for North Korean citizens to get freedom. We know how difficult it is to get to South Korea–we have to give everything, even our life. But the reality in South Korea is very different, and therefore many people get depressed and then some of them [commit] suicide. I feel really sad for the reality, but as times goes by, right now the situation is getting better. Until a few years ago people thought that North Korean people are horrible, but right now, because more North Koreans want to share their story, and when they hear our story, they are crying with us because they know how hard it is for us to get to freedom and they feel sympathy. Yes, the situation has changed from past–but not completely.

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Alberta court hears that children were taken out of school by “facilitators” to Gay-Straight conferences without parental knowledge

By Jonathon Van Maren

This will come as no surprise to anyone, but as Alberta’s religious schools battle it out with the NDP government over Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs and the government’s demand that parents not be told of their children’s activities at schools, it turns out that the government is again lying to parents and to the public. Licia Corbella has been doing a magnificent job of covering this story for the Calgary Herald, and on December 4 noted that there were some “shocking revelations” on Monday at the Alberta Court of Appeal:

Jay Cameron, a lawyer with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) and the appellant in this case, revealed evidence that shows children in one GSA were taken off school grounds by an adult “facilitator” who is not a staff member at the school and doesn’t even have children attending the school. The facilitator took children to the facilitator’s home and to other schools with GSAs, driving them in a personal vehicle without the parents’ consent or knowledge. As is mandated under the Alberta government’s Bill 24, it is against the law to inform parents of their child’s involvement in a GSA.

You don’t have to be an applicant in this case to be alarmed by such revelations.

The JCCF is appealing a ruling by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Johanna Kubik, who ruled on June 27 against granting an interim injunction that would have stayed sections of the school act prohibiting principals from using their discretion to tell parents about their child attending a GSA. They also sought to prohibit Alberta’s Minister of Education, David Eggen, from defunding or de-accrediting schools for non-compliance with GSA legislation.

Cameron also told the three Appeal Court Justices — Chair Frederica Schutz, Bruce McDonald and Dawn Pentelechuk — that in another case, a 13-year-old boy who was a member of a GSA was taken off school grounds to a GSA conference.

The boy was told that “his mother would not know if he attended a GSA conference and miss all of his classes,” said Cameron, who is representing 26 religious schools, including Christian, Sikh and Jewish schools, that object to the secrecy provisions of GSA legislation, arguing that it violates two sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms — Section 7, which only permits interference with a parent’s role after due process, on a case-by-case basis, and Section 2, the fundamental right to freedom of religion.

Cameron pointed out that at the off-site GSA conference, the boy said he “watched a demonstration on how to put a condom on a banana; he was given materials with a space ship shaped like a giant penis with a caption “explore your anus”; (and), he was given a 50-page flip book with step-by-step instructions on how to have sex, with what appears to be an older individual,” Cameron told the court packed with about 60 people inside the room and another 60 outside, where the proceedings could be followed on a screen.

Court heard the boy was also given 153 condoms. Cameron said the boy did not learn about sexually transmitted infections at the conference but had to learn that information from his mother once she found the graphic materials in his room.

The Crown objected to that evidence being considered in the appeal. Later, Crown attorney Kristan McLeod told the court that parents are supposed to be told when their children are taken off school grounds. And therein lies the rub of this legislation. There are no controls over what materials are provided and by whom or even whether kids can leave the school without parental consent.

“It is our respectful submission that young children should not be provided with graphic flip books on how to have sex; there is a line between where that is appropriate and where it is not and right now there are no parameters,” Cameron added.

He pointed out that parents need not be religious to believe “it’s wisest not to have sex at an early age with multiple partners” and that the GSA legislation, as it stands, jeopardizes the safety of Alberta’s children, especially the most vulnerable, and undermines parents’ ability to support and protect their own children.

All of the justices repeatedly asked questions of the Crown about Eggen threatening schools with having their funding and accreditation removed, if they don’t comply with Bill 24.

Justice Kubik had ruled back in June that there was no evidence that a school’s funding or accreditation was at risk. Clearly, now it is. One of the intervenors in the case, lawyer Brendan MacArthur-Stevens, made many compelling points from the opposite point of view.

“Many students will have joined GSAs over the past year in reliance on the enhanced privacy protections the legislation provides,” he said on behalf of the Calgary Sexual Health Centre.

“Pulling the rug out from under these students and temporarily stripping these enhanced privacy protections away . . . would be grossly unfair to this vulnerable population,” he argued.

In other words, those who are advocating for a system in which children can be pulled out of classes, without the knowledge of their parents, and taken to conferences with sexually explicit materials and even instructions, are arguing that it would be unfair to those kids for parents to informed in case those parents might disagree with such goings-on. Additionally, the government is saying in court that parents should be informed if children are taken off school grounds, but it is their own legislation that has ensured parents are not told. And then there is simply the fact that that an adult “facilitator” of a Gay-Straight Alliance Club is taking kids out of school without their parent’s knowledge and at one point took a child to his or her home. That is appalling.

Corbella followed up with a report on December 5, noting that teachers and principals who attended the Alberta Court of Appeal hearing are pointing out that the government is giving “inaccurate” information in court about how Gay-Straight alliances are governed. Alberta’s NDP government, she wrote, appears to be providing conflicting information:

During the hearing, Crown attorney Kristan McLeod told the three justices that the only thing schools are not allowed to share with parents is who is attending a GSA — a club that must be established at a school should a student request one.

“There is not secrecy around the establishment of GSAs,” McLeod told justices Frederica Schutz, Bruce McDonald and Dawn Pentelechuk in a courtroom packed with about 60 people inside and another 60 watching proceedings outside the courtroom.

“Parents are allowed to find out about which activities their GSAs are engaging in,” said McLeod. “Schools and teachers are allowed to control what those activities are. There needs to be parental notification about any off-school activities, whether there needs to be vetting of any materials being distributed, what the activities are. The only thing that is not allowed to be disclosed is whether or not a child is attending a GSA.”

That, however, is not what the legislation says, it is not what the Alberta government said in response to a question on the issue Tuesday, it is not what government documents — particularly what has been dubbed the Rainbow Reprimand — state, it’s not what Education Minister David Eggen has repeatedly said and it runs counter to evidence provided to the court on Monday and by numerous teachers and principals.

Section 16.1(1) of the School Act states that if a student asks to set up a GSA, the principal of the school “shall immediately” grant permission and “is responsible for ensuring that notification, if any, respecting a voluntary student organization or an activity referred to in subsection (1) is limited to the fact of the establishment of the organization or the holding of the activity.”

“There’s a flaw in the law,” said Jay Cameron, a lawyer with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which is representing the 26 schools in the appeal. “What’s happening on the ground is that the legislation restricts the information parents are told about their children. Principals can’t tell parents that their kids are attending a GSA conference off of school grounds without informing the parents that their child is attending a GSA.”

In the colour-coded government document sent to schools whose safe and caring policies do not comply with Bill 24, on Page 5 (just one of numerous examples) the government highlighted in green a school policy that reads: “Planning of events (including invitation of outside speakers) and notification about activities to be undertaken will be in accordance with the usual practices and responsibilities of the school.” (The bolded portion was highlighted to be removed.)

…Two teachers from a central Alberta Christian school told Postmedia on Tuesday that a “field services manager” who was working with them in an effort to help their school become compliant with Bill 24 told them that the information the school can share with a parent is “limited to the fact of the establishment” of the GSA. Postmedia heard a recording of the conversation.

Only in the case of a student being in dire risk of harm could any information be shared with parents, the field services manager said during an almost two-hour telephone conversation that was taped in July. If a teacher or principal defies this legislation, they can have their certification to teach stripped.

When asked to clarify what can or can’t be divulged under Bill 24, a spokesperson with Alberta Education wrote Tuesday: “All the information you’re looking for can be found here: https://education.alberta.ca/gay-straight-alliances/what-is-a-gsa/.”

The pertinent sentence states: “Clarifying that parental notification around courses of study, educational programs or instructional materials does not apply to student organizations or activities, including GSAs and QSAs.”

“There are no exceptions to the requirement that principals restrict info from parents, except that a club has been established in the school. That’s it,” confirmed Cameron.

If what the Crown attorney said was actually the case, Cameron says, there would be no need for his clients’ legal challenge. 

It is significant that the Crown attorney is misrepresenting the government’s policies and their practice in court: It indicates that the government has perhaps realized that the results of their policies are indefensible. Which Albertan parent is going to be comfortable discovering that their child was taken off school grounds without their knowledge or permission (which is apparently not needed) by a stranger who is not employed by the school and taken to that person’s house, or to a sex conference in which pornographic instructions on different sex acts are given? Which parent is going to believe that they should be specifically and explicitly cut out of the information loop when decisions about their child’s wellbeing and sexual education are at stake?

The NDP government will probably try to write off the instances provided by JCCF as aberrations, but the truth is that they are the logical consequence—if not the intended consequence—of Bill 24. Education Minister David Eggen and his ideological cronies want children to be given the sort of sex education they see fit, and they do not want any interference from the parents. They are giving children sexual information, and in some instances even pornographic material and sexual instructions, under the guise of protecting children from their parents. They are gaslighting Albertan parents, and they must be stopped at all costs.

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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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Trudeau’s Liberals change their “abortion attestation” for the Canada Summer Jobs Program as election year looms

By Jonathon Van Maren

Election year must be coming up: The Liberals are actually admitting that they were wrong for a change. It turns out that the backlash from religious groups over the ideological purity test they inserted into the Canada Summer Jobs Program has worried them a lot more than they were initially willing to let on, as they have now announced that they will be changing the attestation so that they specifically target pro-life organizations rather than anybody who happens to be pro-life. From the Canadian Press:

Contentious wording in Ottawa’s summer jobs program that tied pro-abortion beliefs to funding eligibility is being dropped after a backlash to what was styled last year as a values test.

Instead, the federal Liberals have re-tooled the 2019 version of the Canada Summer Jobs program to require applicants to declare they don’t work to infringe on any Canadian’s legal rights.

Wording on the application for the 2018 version of the program required groups to say neither their core mandate nor the jobs being funded actively worked to undermine constitutional, human and reproductive rights.

Labour Minister Patty Hajdu says the change — made after informal consultations over the past few months — should clear up concerns from faith-based groups who expressed outrage over this past year’s requirements.

“They felt this was about their values and beliefs and not about the jobs and the performances of the students in particular roles and we took that to heart,” Hajdu said in an interview.

“We’ve been working on making sure we do what we intended to do, which is to stand up for the rights of Canadians…but that we also work closely with faith-based groups and others so that they can see how they themselves would fit into this program.”

Additional changes have been made to the program’s eligibility criteria to disqualify any project or summer job that tries to restrict access a woman’s ability to access sexual or reproductive health services. Other disqualifying traits include jobs that restrict the exercise of human rights or that discriminate based on sex, religion, race or ethnic origin.

“This is a program about quality jobs for kids, so we shouldn’t be asking kids in any circumstance to do work that would put them into a position to have to undermine or restrict the rights of others,” Hajdu said.

There’s a few things to take note of here. First of all, Trudeau and Hajdu initially responded to backlash from faith groups by stating that nobody should have any problem signing off on their attestation, so just shut up and take the money already. Clearly, the diversity and volume of the response to this condescension caused sufficient concern; the hubris of the Liberal government precludes a predilection to learning feedback from groups of Canadians—pro-life people, for example—that they obviously disdain.

Additionally, it will be interesting to see how the new attestation, which is obviously worded to target pro-life organizations that have previously taken advantage of this program, will be laid out. Hajdu and Trudeau may not know this, but pro-life organizations are fighting for human rights—they simply believe that the right to life is the first and most inherent of all human rights, rather than the intentionally vague phraseology of “reproductive rights” that the Liberals use in order to avoid using the term “abortion” so often. The crux of this entire debate, after all, is about human rights and who is entitled to them.

In fact, the demand on employers to sign off will apparently be removed entirely, Hajdu has said. It will instead be up to Service Canada—the government—to decide who is eligible for funding and who is not. That way, the Liberals can avoid denying funding to any group likely to incur public sympathy, and can quietly refuse any organization that they deem to be unworthy, or working against one of their ideological causes. They are obviously taking no chances with their political damage control.

The Liberals are obviously attempting to clean house before 2019 arrives. With the carbon tax fight, the oil pipelines dead, and manufacturing jobs being lost, the last thing they need is for Canadian faith communities to stay angry at them, which is why they’ve attempted to make nice and hope that everyone forgets about their cockup come next fall. Their arrogance ensured that they did not see the backlash coming—Justin Trudeau consistently responded to questions about the abortion attestation with whinnying indignation, as if he couldn’t believe anyone would even dare to question him on such an issue—but in the end, they were forced to at least partially back down.

There are still multiple challenges to the Liberal government’s values test before the courts, and Hajdu would not comment on their status.

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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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Kids are turning to blackmarket sex-change hormones for secret transitions

By Jonathon Van Maren

December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As the number of children identifying as transgender skyrockets—over 4000% in the United Kingdom—experts are beginning to highlight the fact that the relentless promotion and mainstreaming of gender identity theory is triggering a social phenomenon. In fact, many children are not even willing to wait for an overly-willing gender identity clinic to take them on—an investigation by the Daily Mail has indicated that a black market for sex change drugs has sprung up on the Internet.

The Daily Mail found in the investigation, released on December 4, that they could quite easily purchase a “range of transgender medicine,” without any questions being asked, for as low as only twenty-five pounds. There are no age-checks on those attempting to buy hormone drugs online, and there are apparently an enormous number of online forums where children can explain to each other how to order the drugs and which pharmacy sites are best to use.

In their investigation, for example, the Daily Mail found that they could purchase a package of “male hormone blockers” with an “ordinary bank card” from a pharmacy in Thailand with a price tag of only thirty-four pounds, postage included. The pills were labeled as containing “natural oestrogen to promote transgender breast growth.” It took the investigator less than a minute to find the pills online, and there were no age requirements or prescriptions needed to order them.

It wasn’t just one online pharmacy in Thailand, either. The Daily Mail found another site in India where they found that they could purchase “sachets of testosterone gel” called “Cernos,” which was being marketed as “transgender hormone therapy for females transitioning to male.” On the order form, the site did warn that the impacts of these easily-purchasable pills on girls, such as achieving a much lower voice, are “irreversible once they develop.” An American site based out of Florida offered the Daily Mail Triptorelin, which “acts on the pituitary gland to pause sexual development in boys and girls reaching the early stages of puberty”—for only twenty-five pounds.

Even more sobering is the fact that these companies are cashing in on the transgender trend because it pays: With the proliferation of “transgender celebrities” on YouTube, Tumblr, and Reddit, transgenderism is becoming a social phenomenon, which children thinking that it is “cool” to become transgender. Some experts warn that children are being persuaded in discussions in online chat rooms that they are transgender, even when they are experiencing perfectly normal teenage angst. As a result, the waiting lists for gender clinics are enormously long, and children are seeking ways to begin transition on their own.

Children are not only purchasing these drugs on their own—something even transgender activists say is extremely dangerous—they are having older teenage friends purchase the drugs for them if they run into any problems. One mother who believes her son was brain-washed by online transgender propaganda found pills he had ordered from an American online pharmacy in his bedroom. He had ordered “the female hormone oestrogen” and had begun to develop breasts. They had simply been mailed to the local post office, and he’d collected them on his own. The drugs were so cheap, the mother said, that he could have purchased them with “his birthday money from Granny or pocket money.”

READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN AT LIFESITENEWS.COM

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Politics should be put aside in the face of death

By Jonathon Van Maren

One of the most dispiriting aspects of the polarization that has gripped America is the pettiness and the meanness that seems to have accompanied it, on both the Left and the Right. Nowhere is that meanness and that pettiness so prominent as in the ugly responses to the deaths of prominent Americans, which have devolved from moments of solemn reflection on both the lives of the departed as well as our own mortality to an opportunity for snarky partisan sniping or expressions of hatred.

I realize that this is not an entirely new phenomenon. From H.L. Mencken to Christopher Hitchens, there have always been those who found pleasure in mauling the still-warm bodies of their ideological foes. But with social media, it does appear to have become more widespread. When Billy Graham died, LGBT activists celebrated and reminded mourners that a dead homophobe was not such a bad thing. When Vietnam War hero John McCain died, many took the opportunity to fixate on his political opposition to Donald Trump. And of course, the media stokes the fires of partisanship by heaping praise on the deceased for the express purpose of bashing the living, emphasizing their unspoken belief that the only good Republican is a dead Republican.

But I find such political games to be an utterly inappropriate response in the face of death. I thought former Bush speechwriter Christopher Buckley (who is certainly no Trump fan) responded beautifully to NPR’s Scott Simon when the host asked him to contrast the two men:

SIMON: But, you know, you would have dinner with President Bush. You would talk about things. Did – can we draw distinctions between the kind of president he was and what we see in the country now?

BUCKLEY: Oh, Scott, there will be time for that conversation. And I’m sure it’s being held. And of course there’s – we’re in a very different world now. But I think George – I can almost hear George Bush right now saying, now, now, let’s not have any of that. 

It is not just the Left that is guilty of this meanness. Earlier this week, I drove to Washington DC to pay my respects to President Bush, who was lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda. Several people made comments on my social media about Bush, demanding to know whether he was sufficiently pro-life (he was, for the record), complaining about his dislike of President Trump, and making other comments that utterly ignored the fact that a World War II hero who became one of the youngest pilots in the US Navy and the last soldier-statesman of the 20th century has just passed into history and into eternity.

Can we not pause for just a moment and remember his courage, his service, and his family? Must we be so small and mean? Does death not have the power to make us fall silent for even a single moment of reflection? The sight of former Senator Bob Dole, a World War II veteran of the European theater, struggling to stand as he was helped to briefly rise from his wheelchair and salute the casket of his fellow war hero and friend: Those moments, those symbols should bind a nation together and unify. Surely here is something we can all agree on: That regardless of who he voted for, or what political disagreements you might have had, a great patriot has fallen—and at least for today, that is all that needs to be said.

It was also true for the passing of Senator John McCain. I was no great political fan of his (and only saw him once.) But he served courageously in war, and refused to accept an offered release from the notorious Hanoi Hilton as long as American servicemen who had been imprisoned longer than he remained behind bars—and he did so with broken bones and under what would become savage torture. Surely the recognition of great deeds in the service of America takes precedent over the regurgitation of political squabbles at a moment as solemn as death? Surely acts of valor overshadow a political difference, and not the other way around? The fact that political disagreements cannot even be put aside in death, and not even for men who served heroically in their nation’s military: It simply seems unAmerican.

Some things should transcend politics. Solemnity and reflection in the face of death is one of them. Courtesy and decency towards the deceased and their families is another. If that cannot be mustered, the gift of silence should suffice.

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Justin Trudeau’s rhetoric hurts Canadian Christians

By Jonathon Van Maren

Attacks on freedom of religion and freedom of conscience are a near-constant in Canadian news cycles of late, from physicians fighting in court for the right not to refer for procedures they find immoral to religious schools battling the government in court to maintain the independence and integrity of their institutions. Many religious views have been recast by many progressive politicians and academics (with the obedient acquiescence of the media) as hateful and even vicious, and as such it is open season on those who dare to hold these views and worse, speak of them aloud.

So I am not surprised that a recent study by the Angus Reid Institute in partnership with Cardus, a conservative think tank based out of Ottawa, indicated that only 59% of Canadians say that religious freedom makes our country a better place, leaving a full 41% that presumably feel that religious freedom makes our country a worse place, or at least feel ambivalent about a fundamental freedom. Ray Pennings of Cardus broke it down recently in the Hamilton Spectator:

While a clear majority sees the benefits of religious freedom, it’s curious that more of us aren’t enthusiastic about this fundamental human right. What’s at play here?

There are likely several factors, including a hardcore secularist viewpoint, though this remains a minority view in Canada.

The same survey used a series of measures to classify Canadians among three categories — those welcoming of faith in public life, those who are unsure and those hostile to it. The proponents of public faith are the largest group at 37 per cent, while the other two weigh in at 32 per cent each. Only 31 per cent of the group hostile to public faith say religious freedom makes Canada better. An almost equal proportion says it makes Canada worse.

Clearly, hardcore secularism contains a fervent opposition to religion and its free expression.

Related to that secularism could be prejudice against public displays of faith. Indeed, half of Canadians say they’re uncomfortable with religious garments or symbols in the workplace — something that disproportionately affects Muslims, Jews and Sikhs. Such discomfort may translate into lower support for religious freedom.

Still, that’s not the whole story. Could it also be that some Canadians feel that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ guarantee of religious freedom doesn’t adequately protect them? If so, their answer about religious freedom may reflect their judgment on the effectiveness of Charter protections.

Seven in 10 Canadians say they feel the federal government respects their religious community. And almost six in 10 say Canadian society either makes room for their faith and values or has little impact on them…Now the bad news: Christians don’t fare as well. Overall, Catholics and other Christians feel less respected by government and less welcome in society than non-Christians do.

But it’s Canada’s evangelical Protestants who feel especially marginalized. They’re the most likely to say the feds disrespect them, with four in 10 evangelicals saying so. And just over half of this religious minority says society shuts them out. They may not be enjoying all the benefits of religious freedom.

This finding is unsurprising given the news of the last year:

  • Evangelicals and other Christians bore the brunt of the federal government’s Canada Summer Jobs fiasco, which filtered out grant recipients based on their beliefs. Legal challenges are ongoing but haven’t borne fruit yet.
  • The evangelical Trinity Western University in B.C. faced discrimination by several law societies opposed to it setting up a law school — discrimination that the Supreme Court of Canada eventually upheld.
  • And in Alberta, it’s mostly evangelical schools that are threatened with the loss of funding over an ideological disagreement with the provincial government.

But could there also be some amnesia about the fundamental human right of religious freedom?

What many may not realize is that religious freedom is not just for the religious; it benefits everyone. It protects the ability of the religious and non-religious to act according to their deepest beliefs — informing our freedoms of speech, association and assembly. More Canadians need to see and understand this connection.

The fact that they don’t, of course, can be tied to a number of things. Traditional Christian views are now considered to be widely “offensive,” a word now frequently used to justify censorship. People are simply less tolerant of being exposed to ideas they dislike, and less willing to engage in discussion. Our current prime minister’s rhetoric doesn’t help: Justin Trudeau has consistently condemned traditional Christian beliefs as “unCanadian,” helping to cement the idea that Canadian Christians are somehow less Canadian because they are Christian.

It is fascinating to me how such an ahistorical view can be so consistently propagated. Canada was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and this fact was once widely known and understood. Just ten minutes away from my house in Brantford, Ontario, for example, is the oldest surviving church building in the province, constructed in 1785 by the British Crown and given to the Mohawks under the leadership of Joseph Brant for their services on behalf of the Empire during the American Revolution. Once referred to as St. Paul’s, it is now known as the Mohawk Chapel, and the remains of the warrior Joseph Brant rest beneath an ancient gravestone surrounded by a black iron fence just outside the little white-frame church.

You cannot drive anywhere in this country without encountering evidence of Canada’s Christian heritage. The aging churches, the moss-covered Celtic crosses in the graveyards, the religious nature of the cenotaphs and memorials to the fallen. By the new standards of Justin Trudeau and his ideological fellow-travelers, the men and women who built this country are somehow less Canadian than they are because they believed different things about the fundamental nature of life and family. This view cannot be defended, and therefore it is easier for Trudeau and those like him to instead respond to disagreement with sneering and condescension.

In the broad sweep of Canadian history, I would prefer to stand with those indomitable and hard-working men and women of faith who held to the traditions of their ancestors and thousands of years of revealed truth rather than a man who chases the progressive absurdities of the current moment and sneers at the noble generations who believed things he cannot understand.

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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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Paying final respects to President Bush in the Capitol Rotunda

By Jonathon Van Maren

Hundreds of people were waiting to enter the Capitol through the Visitor’s Centre in lineups that would eventually stretch into the thousands by 8:30 PM on Monday evening. There were families with young children who were already sleepy, tugged along and borne by parents who wanted the experience for them—they would understand one day. There was a Muslim family just a bit ahead of me in the lineup, and a group of young Jewish men sporting yarmulkes a few dozen people behind me. Marines, naval officers, and soldiers were wearing their full dress uniforms. Young couples huddled together in the chilly evening breeze. All were waiting to pay their respects President George H.W. Bush as he lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda.

The flags have not only been lowered to half-mast on government buildings and on the poles perching atop the Capitol’s gleaming white dome this week. In the nine hours it took me to drive to Washington, D.C., I saw the Stars and Stripes respectfully lowered in front of town halls, grocery stores, and car dealerships. In New York State, huge Jumbotron billboards alongside the I-90 featured the late president’s face and noted his lifespan: 1924—2018. The services he rendered to his country in those years were detailed briefly on the back of a simple memorial card handed out later by a young female staffer to those waiting in line to sign the book of condolences:

President of the United States 1989-1993

Vice President of the United States 1981-1989

Director of Central Intelligence 1976-1977

Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office to the People’s Republic of China 1974-1975

Ambassador to the United Nations 1971-1973

United States House of Representatives 1967-1971

United States Navy 1942-1945

It took several hours to slowly shuffle into the Capitol, where two more lineups awaited: one in the atrium of the Visitor’s Centre, and another just before the escalators leading into the Capitol Rotunda. Finally, we ascended the stairs and entered the silent hall where the late president’s flag-draped coffin rested on the Lincoln catafalque, a wooden platform robed in black that was originally built for Abraham Lincoln’s casket after his assassination in 1865. As people entered the Rotunda, many eyes seemed instinctively drawn upwards to the ceiling of the dome, where one of the strangest scenes in American iconography is painted: The Apotheosis of Washington, which depicts the first president in Heaven among the angels.

The sight of President George H.W. Bush’s casket was profoundly moving. One of the last members of the Greatest Generation, he had tried to enlist the day after Pearl Harbor, but was turned back for being too young. He returned to join the US Navy when he turned 18, flew 58 combat missions, was shot down over the Pacific, and had to be rescued by a submarine. Now, the coffin containing his remains was flanked by a stony-faced honor guard made up of representatives of the different branches of the Armed Forces. As a young man, he had fought the Axis Powers. As commander-in-chief nearly fifty years later, he had skillfully handled the implosion of the Evil Empire. Now he is gone, and there are very few like him left. An era is slowly but inexorably passing from memory into history.

The arrayed coffin was another sobering reminder, too—a testimony to our collective mortality. Even a man who reaches the pinnacle of earthly power in his lifetime must eventually die and be consigned to the earth. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Statues of many great men who departed long ago looked on: Grant, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Hamilton. The Rotunda is a place where the full force of the historical symbolism marshalled on solemn occasions such as these is palpably felt, surrounded as you are by the great paintings of John Trumbull of defining moments in America’s past: the Declaration of Independence, the Embarkation of the Pilgrims, the Surrender of Lord Cornwallis. For a moment, time almost seems suspended as the Past waits to accept another into the pantheon of great Americans who have gone on before.

It was silent in the hall as people clumped in front of the casket, some lost in thought, some with heads bowed, some praying. One elderly woman crossed herself, her eyes moist. Several others were in tears, as well. The only sound that interrupted the sober reflections and paying of respects was the click of photographers’ cameras, as photojournalists lurking at the edges attempted to capture the farewells. One elderly fellow nearby had squeezed himself into a campaign sweatshirt from the 1988 presidential campaign. “I’m not quite dead yet,” he told someone proudly as he shuffled out of the Rotunda and down the stairs. One by one, we took our leave.

As I stood in the final lineup to sign the book of condolences, I found myself caught again by the thought that in only a few years, there will be no Second World War heroes left among us. It was speaking to veterans of that conflict at a Pearl Harbor memorial in 1991 that George Bush gave what I have always thought was his most eloquent speech. “Look into your hearts and minds,” he told the assembled crowd, his voice cracking. “You will see boys who this day became men and men who became heroes. Look at the water here, clear and quiet, bidding us to sum up and remember. One day, in what now seems another lifetime, it wrapped its arms around the finest sons any nation could ever have – and carried them to a better world.”

I left the Capitol just after midnight, and still more people were joining the lineups to pay their respects to a president that history has already been kind to. He lived his life with courage, integrity, and decency, and in death, a grateful nation is pausing to remember, reflect, and do him honor.

Members of the public view the casket containing former President George H.W. Bush’s remains as he lies in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Monday night.

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The pro-life legacy of George H.W. Bush

By Jonathon Van Maren

December 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – With the passing of President George H.W. Bush, the last president to have served in World War II, there has been an outpouring of bipartisan sympathy. President Trump has declared December 5 to be a national Day of Mourning, and ordered all the flags to half-staff for 30 days. Obama and Clinton both spoke kindly of their predecessor. And at the Capitol, thousands of people are still lining up to file past his casket and pay their respects. As Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention noted: “George H.W. Bush was one of this country’s best presidents, and one of the best men to ever serve as this country’s president. He served with character, integrity, and competence. We will miss him more than we even realize.”

Not all are treating the departed president with kindness, of course. Gay activists have been taking the opportunity to speak savagely of him, just as they did when Billy Graham died earlier this year. The accusations are standard: They claim he was not committed enough to addressing the AIDS crisis, he spoke of homosexuality as “not normal,” and opposed gay parenting in even stronger terms, stating that, “I can’t accept as normal [the] lifestyle of people of the same sex being parents. I’m very sorry. I don’t accept that as normal.” Even though he and Barbara attended a much-publicized same-sex union in 2013 as witnesses, Bush still clung to his beliefs, telling his biographer in 2015 that although he had “mellowed,” he had not changed his mind: “Personally, I still believe in traditional marriage.”

On abortion, too, Bush’s record is unacceptable to progressives: He became powerfully pro-life. He is often not recognized for this due to the fact that his position evolved over time—he was pro-abortion when he joined the Ronald Reagan ticket in the leadup to the 1980 election, and had said as much publicly. He joined Reagan for several meetings with pro-life activists, and listened quietly and carefully. It was Dr. Jack Wilke of National Right to Life who knocked on his hotel room door on the campaign trail shortly after he became Reagan’s running mate, and asked Bush if he could sit down with him and explain the pro-life position. Bush agreed to have his secretary set up a meeting. Wilke informed him that he’d like to have at least four hours, and noted that Bush would need pro-lifers to get elected. Bush agreed to have Wilke come up to his house in Maine to give him a presentation.

On a beautiful summer morning in 1980, Wilke later recalled, he drove up to the Bush compound in Kennebunkport and spent two and half hours going through a slideshow, the projector sitting on the coffee table (and Barbara in the next room). At lunch, Wilke asked Bush directly where he stood on the pro-life issue. When I came in this morning, he told Wilke, I was not on your side. But I think you’ve changed my mind. Bush committed that day to supporting the overturn of Roe v. Wade, and when Wilke challenged him to share that promise with several pro-life activists who joined them for the afternoon, he willingly did so. And as president, his Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to overturn Roe at every opportunity. (Most notably, his Attorney General Dick Thornburgh asked the Court to overrule Roe in its landmark 1989 decision Webster v. Reproductive Health Services.)

Bush 41 was not always adept at addressing the pro-life issue—his verbal mishaps were as famous during his career as his son’s would be a decade later—and as such, he was sometimes more persuasive by making the issue personal rather than abstract. During the October 13, 1988 debate with Michael Dukakis, he explained how one of his grandchildren—his son Marvin Bush and his daughter-in-law Margaret adopted two children—informed his position on abortion. “I think human life is very, very precious,” he noted. “And look, this, hasn’t been an easy decision for me to meet. I know others disagree with it. But when I was in that little church across the river from Washington and saw our grandchild christened in our faith, I was very pleased indeed that the mother had not aborted that child, and put that child up for adoption. And so I just feel this is where I’m coming from. And it is personal. And I don’t assail [Michael Dukakis] on that issue, or others on that issue. But that’s the way I, George Bush, feel about it.”

Bush’s pro-life position fit into his desire for a “kindler, gentler” nation—Karl Rove noted that he was horrified when he discovered that abortion was becoming increasingly common. “Bush’s mind worked by drawing on deeply engrained principles, and he constantly sifted information,” Rove recalled. “This made him open to profound growth. He read that the number of abortions in D.C. had eclipsed the number of live births. This callousness toward life deeply disturbed him and he began moving more firmly into the pro-life camp. It wasn’t as if he were at one point on the continuum one day and at the opposite point the next day. He had a constantly engaged mind, a habit he passed on to his children.”

As president, Bush upheld the Mexico City Policy, and vetoed an entire Labor-HHS spending bill when Congressional Democrats attempted to loosen the Hyde Amendment restrictions on abortion funding—and according to National Right to Life, he would veto a total of ten bills that lacked pro-life protections like Hyde—an enormous change from his co-sponsoring of Title X in Congress. Although he was supportive of contraception, he vehemently opposed abortion, including in his collection of correspondence All the Best. In a 1989 letter, he noted that, “If there was an issue in the campaign that was clear, it was the abortion question. My opponent strongly supported the ‘choice’ position, and I strongly supported the ‘life’ position. I am not ‘imposing’ my views, because I clearly stated them in running for office, and I am not about to change. I strongly support family planning and have always favored disseminating information on birth control. I do not favor advocating abortion in any way, shape, or form.”

Bush would also release annual Sanctity of Life Proclamations, which he used to promote the pro-life ethic. In his January 11, 1991 Proclamation for National Sanctity of Human Life Day, he noted that: “My Administration has championed compassionate alternatives to abortion, such as helping women in crisis through maternity group homes, encouraging adoption, promoting abstinence education, and passing laws requiring parental notification and waiting periods for minors.” He also enacted legislation that banned NIH funding for the use of fetal tissue, and appointed Justice Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court—although David Souter would later prove to be an enormous disappointment, just as Reagan’s appointments of Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy would be. It continues to be a singular tragedy that pro-life Republican presidents have appointed the very justices who have upheld the legality of abortion.

READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN AT LIFESITENEWS.COM

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