30 January, 2012

Euthanasia should be banned across Europe, rules Council | CatholicHerald.co.uk

Euthanasia should be banned across Europe, rules Council | CatholicHerald.co.uk

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


It's a sad day for the Archdioceses of New York and Philadelphia as employees are charged with stealing millions from the Church to maintain their  lifestyle. The New York Times writes about a woman who accomplished the undertaking to maintain her daily New York life. The Philadelphia Inquirer posts an article about another who bilked another million covering losses she ran up at casinos.

I am not surprised people steal. No one who hears confessions for a living, be they priests, bartenders or barbers, would be shocked by such news. But there is something particularly odious about stealing from a Church. Whether it's emptying the poor box of coins or bank accounts with fraudulent bills, it's all stealing from monies given with the goal of helping the poor and educating the young. We sadly often applaud those who steal from the rich to give to the poor; from Robin Hood of film and legend to today's 'Anonymous' Movement  who hack computers to do the same. We all want to pull for the underdog in any David and Goliath struggle. We feel a certain vicarious satisfaction from their accomplishment. Yet this will serve to deaden our conviction that it is wrong to steal, irrespective of the wealth of the individual or victim. This is a necessary first step along a path which eventually leads to sin. It is a sad day indeed.

It can also be a life lesson. These women did not pull-off one giant heist. They began by nibbling away with small amounts, no doubt convinced that they would pay it back when their luck changed. They framed their acts, not as 'thefts', but as an advance on future salary or a loan to be quickly repaid. But, having been able to justify theft once as being a necessary evil, and given that the act occurred seemingly without consequence, they were inclined to fall into that sin again, and again, and again.... Eventually their self delusions cannot cope with the scale of fraud. They become driven to dig even deeper into sin in a futile attempt to conceal their crimes, trying to prevent finally falling into despair and disgrace.

Their fall demonstrates the danger we all face when we are tempted to sin. Satan doesn't suggest we commit BIG sins. He knows we're too smart to fall for that. He suggests that we commit small sins. Acts that we can 'justify' to ourselves to soothe our conscience. Eventually this leads us to confuse what we need from what we need, a culpable blindness that leads one deeper into larger mortal sins.

Another variation of theft is something many Canadians will face in the next few weeks as they file their taxes, a process that tempts some to claim deductions they are not entitled to. Things that others have a claim to from our own resources that we hide or refuse to pay. When we fail to pay our taxes, we are stealing from the public purse. It makes no difference if we get caught. It's stealing all the same. Nor can we claim it to be victimless crime. If we consider today's deficits in health care budgets which leads to the delay of necessary procedures, we can see the lie that no one is hurt by our falsely depriving the government of needed tax revenue.

As a smoker, (I know, I know... I'm planning to quit for Lent... hopefully for good this time) I refrain from purchasing my cigarettes from local native reserves despite the cash savings. To deny the province the tax revenues attached to the sale cigarettes is a morally questionable act – especially in times of deficits and cutbacks. Clearly it is by winning us through such mundane daily decisions poorly made that Satan tries to steer us off the path of salvation.

The Twenty-First Century Battleground: Man Against Helpless Child - Politics & Policy - Catholic Online

The Twenty-First Century Battleground: Man Against Helpless Child - Politics & Policy - Catholic Online

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

Thousands attack Christian homes, shops in Egyptian village : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Thousands attack Christian homes, shops in Egyptian village : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Benedict XVI: "Authority for Christians means service and love" - Vatican Insider

Benedict XVI: "Authority for Christians means service and love" - Vatican Insider

29 January, 2012

Is war in Iran inevitable? CNN gets five experts to assess current trends and offer their answer

What does the future hold for Iran? - CNN.com

How to Argue with a Madman (from GK Chesterton) ~ Canterbury Tales by Dr. Taylor Marshall

How to Argue with a Madman (from GK Chesterton) ~ Canterbury Tales by Dr. Taylor Marshall

The Issue of Morality: Do laws really decide right and wrong?

Almighty Minion: The Issue of Morality: Do laws really decide right and wrong?

Gay Won’t Go Away, Genetic or Not - NYTimes.com

Gay Won’t Go Away, Genetic or Not - NYTimes.com

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

Not a religious story... but Conrad Black's columns are always worth reading. Love him or hate him... he's one of the greatest minds today when it comes to analyzing the socio-political situations of our times.

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

27 January, 2012

More on the Vatican financial scandals

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


Vatican Diary / ViganĂ², the untouchable

BIG BLUE WAVE: Is is morally wrong to take a life? Not really, say two bioethicists

BIG BLUE WAVE: Is is morally wrong to take a life? Not really, say two bioethicists

Ten Tips for Successful Catholic Blogging

Shameless Popery: Ten Tips for Successful Catholic Blogging

Major victory for life in Europe: ‘Euthanasia must always be prohibited’ | LifeSiteNews.com

Major victory for life in Europe: ‘Euthanasia must always be prohibited’ | LifeSiteNews.com

Thought Experiment | Blogs | NCRegister.com

Thought Experiment | Blogs | NCRegister.com

25 January, 2012

Ottawa Catholic churches pray new cash handling rules will be a blessing after scandal | Holy Post | National Post

Ottawa Catholic churches pray new cash handling rules will be a blessing after scandal | Holy Post | National Post

Liam Neeson may become a Muslim, he says | Holy Post | National Post

Liam Neeson may become a Muslim, he says | Holy Post | National Post

Interesting Abortion video

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

This is a mixed blessing. On the one hand it is good to think that you can post or surf anonymously... but the fact that no one can actually makes it possible for me to eliminate comments from specific individuals and to protect from the blog from spam.  It has helped me to weed out trolls like our old friend of this blog, 'Johnny Vo'. Once I had his IP address, he could no longer get his hatred published here... a blessing for all concerned!

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

Invitation to a Dialogue - Research and Its Risks - NYTimes.com

Invitation to a Dialogue - Research and Its Risks - NYTimes.com

24 January, 2012

Catholic Church Declares Support For Adult Stem Cell Research - Forbes

Catholic Church Declares Support For Adult Stem Cell Research - Forbes

Two women injured in Alabama: run-down abortion clinic has no gurney access | LifeSiteNews.com

Two women injured in Alabama: run-down abortion clinic has no gurney access | LifeSiteNews.com

Strongest solar storm since 2005 hitting Earth - The Globe and Mail

Cool! If the earth is being hit with all this radiation, will we soon to the emergence of super-heroes on the planet? As a comedian once said 'It's been 25 years since the accident at Chernobyl. Is anyone else surprised? Still no super-heroes?"


Strongest solar storm since 2005 hitting Earth - The Globe and Mail

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

It was not all that long ago that people being made to give up their heart, lung and kidney after registering as organ donors was fodder for improvisational comedy troupes like 'Second City'. 'Presumed consent' legislation put's some irony into the laughs they engender. Anything that brings that satirical scenario closer to reality is something that sends a chill down my spine.

-First, there was a strict prohibition on abortion. Then it was permitted in specific circumstances, before finally (through the fiat of the Supreme Court) any prohibition was legislatively erased.
-Gambling was illegal. The State introduced a 'one time only' Million Dollar' national lottery in support of the Montreal Olympics. Then every month... every week... every day... VLT's in towns and cities great and small.
-Sex was such a taboo subject that Dick van Dyck and Mary Tyler Moore slept in separate twin beds. Today sex on TV sells and is freely available everywhere.
-Divorces were rare and marriages were numerous. Today, marriages are becoming as rare as hen's teeth while divorce is widespread.

I am not arguing necessarily any of these made society better or worse. I only point to HOW each of these changes came about: incrementally but relentlessly, through an accumulation of small changes. Kind of like the piles of snow that are filling up our parish parking lot here in Mattawa. Think of it as a kind of chaos theory (butterfly cause hurricane, death and destruction) applied to societal conventions and structures.

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

23 January, 2012

Dissident Austrian priests plan to take 'Call to Disobedience' international : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Dissident Austrian priests plan to take 'Call to Disobedience' international : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

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

"An unborn baby’s heart begins beating 18 days after conception – a tiny heartbeat, a human heartbeat, and a vulnerable one. In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade made it legal to kill unborn human beings at any stage of development, at any time before birth, in all 50 states."



I appreciate that this is an American story, but the arguments it presents are equally valid in Canada too. It expresses as well what fires the passion of pro-life advocates world wide.

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

Excellent short reflection on the subject of the Sacrament of Confession

Hitting F5 on the Spiritual Life

Pope Reflects on Week of Prayer for Christian Unity | Daily News | NCRegister.com

Pope Reflects on Week of Prayer for Christian Unity | Daily News | NCRegister.com

U.S. economy may never return to glory days: Carney | CTV News

U.S. economy may never return to glory days: Carney | CTV News

22 January, 2012

Can Christians be nihilists? Not a chance!

Many believers argue that atheism is nihilistic.  Atheists respond to this contention as if it were a personal insult. This response naturally leads to an important question: What is Nihilism?

Existential nihilism is defined as "the notion that life has no intrinsic meaning or value, and it is, no doubt, the most commonly used and understood sense of the word today.” (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy) Put simply, nihilists deny ‘absolutes’ exist, at least in the moral, political or social spheres.

Theists disagree. They propose that such social constructs should be oriented towards their particular end which reflects an absolute good. Believers cannot hold to the tenets of faith while accepting the proposition that a society can be fruitfully nurtured without moral absolutes. They are by their particular natures, mutually contradictory propositions. The denial of the existence of ‘absolutes’ would vitiate the truth of God and His influence in this world.

The dividing line between theists and nihilists is whether such a thing as ‘absolute’ right and wrong exists.  Religions strive to make use of faith as a ‘compass’ by which to navigate cultures towards the ‘common good’ and to avoid the perils of ‘evil’.  By what ‘standards’ do postmodern nihilists  navigate  turbulent waters? The solution offered is to say that we will ‘know’ what to do based upon the situation of the moment, guided by some innate collective consciousness of what constitutes right and wrong.  Yet these human talents have failed societies and cultures time and time again.

When faced with the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, or  ‘ethnic cleansing’, can one  hold  a belief in an innate, universal understanding of right and wrong to protect and guide humanity if one rejects a belief an 'ultimate' right and wrong?  I realize that different participants in these slaughters claimed to be adherents of different religious faiths, but it was not religion that fired their conflict. It was ethnic and national passions that fueled these heinous crimes against humanity. Nihilists have nothing to offer in response to such barbarism.

Christians do. They believe that  a ‘Natural Law’ which God imprinted upon creation and written within our hearts exists. It imposes a higher authority than the State or tribal loyalty. It calls them to oppose such evils because God demands it, not because of some collective human consciousness forces it. Sacred scriptures and  corpus of theology provides a fount of wisdom and experience to assist believers in acting according to the prescripts of this natural law. It establishes that war can only be waged in defense of innocent life. It teaches that civilians are to be protected. It demonstrates that those whom the state describes as being the ‘enemy’ are actually our brothers and sisters, irrespective of any  detail that places them outside of a tribal or national group.

Can all of these horrors be brought to the feet of atheists? Clearly not. Many who do not believe in God are as horrified when confronted with such human depravity as any believer. Nor can we say that all atheists are certainly knowing advocates of nihilism. Whether or not they accept the divine origins of the Natural Law, they are as capable as believers in accessing its knowledge and following its teachings. Neither can believers claim that they are immune from falling under the influence of propaganda the State wields when they try to whip up a society to attack another. But at least the teachings of faith offers a yardstick by which to measure the ‘rightness’ of such an act of war - a tool that is denied to those who do not hold to the existence of moral, political or social absolutes.

I Keep So Busy Workin’ for the Kingdom, I Ain’t Got Time to Die. A Meditation on the Readings for the Third Sunday of The Year | Archdiocese of Washington

I Keep So Busy Workin’ for the Kingdom, I Ain’t Got Time to Die. A Meditation on the Readings for the Third Sunday of The Year | Archdiocese of Washington

More space for the laity in the Catholic Church - Vatican Insider

More space for the laity in the Catholic Church - Vatican Insider

19 January, 2012

Incredible New View of Eagle Nebula’s ‘Pillars of Creation’ | Wired Science | Wired.com

Incredible New View of Eagle Nebula’s ‘Pillars of Creation’ | Wired Science | Wired.com

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

Ashes to Armaments Dust to Detonation – A Brief Essay on What NOT to do with Cremated Remains | Archdiocese of Washington

Ashes to Armaments Dust to Detonation – A Brief Essay on What NOT to do with Cremated Remains | Archdiocese of Washington

How Ratzinger Reacted to Becoming Pope Benedict

Shameless Popery: How Ratzinger Reacted to Becoming Pope Benedict

Gideon Bibles could face eviction from P.E.I. schools | Holy Post | National Post

Gideon Bibles could face eviction from P.E.I. schools | Holy Post | National Post

Cataract in a gravitational lens may be a tiny galaxy

Cataract in a gravitational lens may be a tiny galaxy

Pope Begins Week of Prayer for Christian Unity | Daily News | NCRegister.com

Pope Begins Week of Prayer for Christian Unity | Daily News | NCRegister.com

16 January, 2012

How Men React to Being Elected Pope

Shameless Popery: How Men React to Being Elected Pope

Coptic Christian Priest Prefers Martyrdom to Slave Tax in Egypt - International - Catholic Online

A MUST READ ARTICLE FOR ANYONE WHO DOUBTS THE PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS IS A REALITY!!

Coptic Christian Priest Prefers Martyrdom to Slave Tax in Egypt - International - Catholic Online

Harper warns of 'tough' economic choices in 2012 | CTV News

Harper warns of 'tough' economic choices in 2012 | CTV News

Colbert, comedy and the cross » GetReligion

Colbert, comedy and the cross » GetReligion

Science demonstrates the health benefits of an unborn child to its mother

Latest News | Youth Defence

When Did Christians First Call Themselves “Catholic”?

When Did Christians First Call Themselves “Catholic”?

Scientists reveal favourite ‘deep, elegant or beautiful’ scientific theories | News | National Post

Scientists reveal favourite ‘deep, elegant or beautiful’ scientific theories | News | National Post

More Catholics using Church court system to address their complaints!

CJOnline.com

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. | First Things

Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. | First Things

13 January, 2012

12 January, 2012

Is Being a Bishop Like Herding Cats? It Shouldn’t Be | Archdiocese of Washington

Is Being a Bishop Like Herding Cats? It Shouldn’t Be | Archdiocese of Washington

Prime Minister Harper speaks on the subject of the report on same-sex marriages

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/video/video-harper-mum-on-same-sex-marriage-issue/article2300060/

Two videos of novelist MIchael O'Brien: Catholic World Report

Michael O'Brien, as well as being an outstanding author, is a resident of the Ottawa Valley! I just thought he deserved some notice here, 'Where the Rubber Hits the Road'.

Two videos of novelist MIchael O'Brien: Catholic World Report

Who will take up the mantle of the church lady?

Who will take up the mantle of the church lady?

U.S. Supreme Court back church in landmark religious liberty case | Holy Post | National Post

U.S. Supreme Court back church in landmark religious liberty case | Holy Post | National Post

Thousands of gay marriages performed in Canada may not be legal, Ottawa says: report | News | National Post

Thousands of gay marriages performed in Canada may not be legal, Ottawa says: report | News | National Post

Book review: Ten Popes Who Shook the World | Holy Post | National Post

Book review: Ten Popes Who Shook the World | Holy Post | National Post

11 January, 2012

Pope Pius XII: Friend and Rescuer of Jews

Pope Pius XII: Friend and Rescuer of Jews

Religious freedom: Christians and lions | The Economist

Religious freedom: Christians and lions | The Economist

Bishops’ conference resettles 27% of refugees to US : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Another example of the RC Church putting 'its money where its mouth is.'

Bishops’ conference resettles 27% of refugees to US : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series #10 - Final post

Gentle readers,

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

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

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

Why?

Firstly, Mr. Clowes produces his anti-gay propaganda in the name of the pro-life movement and in the name of Catholics everywhere. Mr. Clowes’ affiliations are featured prominently in his bio.

Mr. Clowes cuts his half-truths out of “scientific cloth” and stitches them into a shroud to be placed over the civil rights of LGBT people. His article is not just an attempt at persuasion - it is propaganda. This anti-gay propaganda is frequently used by others as a weapon against LGBT citizens in their legitimate pursuit of civil rights. And this is all done in your name!

Secondly, the Roman Catholic Church gives permission to Mr. Clowes to do this in 2 important ways:

• Sin of commission: when the Bishops of the Church engage in the public demonization of LGBT citizens, they are encouraging such propaganda. For example, His Excellency, Bishop Fred Henry, wrote the following in a “pastoral letter” to his diocese in 2005: “Since homosexuality, adultery, prostitution and pornography undermine the foundations of the family, the basis of society, then the State must use its coercive power to proscribe or curtail them in the interests of the common good.” His Excellency not only encourages the state to use unspecified coercive force against same-sex couples, but he also suggests an equivalency between adulterers, prostitutes, pornographers and homosexuals. No evidence is offered because none is available.
• Sin of omission: when the Bishops of the Church fail to correct or discipline members of the Church (such as Mr. Clowes or Bishop Henry) who engage in unfairly demonizing an entire class of citizens, they are adding to the scandal. They are turning a blind eye to a public activity carried out in the name of Catholics that is inherently dishonest.

When the Church participates in anti-gay propaganda, or when it allows anti-gay propaganda to take place in the name of Catholics, it is squandering its moral authority in the promotion of lies. It is fine if the Bishops choose to make principled anti-gay arguments in public, but when they engage in, or encourage propaganda, they denigrate their own moral authority. They close off the message of the gospel to LGBT folks and they close off the message of Christ to thinking people everywhere.

Now - I am not going to pretend that I agree with your Church on very much. In fact, I really don’t care about your Church’s mission to spread the gospel. Nevertheless, I acknowledge that your Church and its Bishops have a lot of influence over many people, and consequently the Church has the potential to use its influence to promote the common good. 

So why should you give a tinker’s hoot about this issue? Simple: If you care about your Church and its ability to do any good in the world, then you should insist that the public anti-gay statements of your Bishops are principled, fair, and factual. You should insist that every major Catholic organization and every major Catholic public figure avoids anti-gay propaganda….and when someone does sink to that level…that they are publicly rebuked as an example to all of the faithful. To do otherwise is to diminish the very moral authority that you require to fulfill your Church’s mission.

Forget that ends do not justify the means. Forget doing the right thing for its own sake. Forget the aphorism, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Simply remember this simple truth - when you lie and you are caught lying (and you have been caught in this case), you diminish yourself as much as your target.


Cheers…Martin

10 January, 2012

"The impalatibility of the popes" On the Ciaobellament of Doctrine | Crisis Magazine

On the Ciaobellament of Doctrine | Crisis Magazine

A Catholic physics joke

The hermeneutic of continuity: A Catholic physics joke

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series #9 More Clowe claims

Gentle readers,

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

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

This was taken from a February 1989 study published in the Journal of Sex Research entitled: “Heterosexuality, Homosexuality and Erotic Age Preference” by Kurt Freund et al.

While the quote is taken from a legitimate peer reviewed journal, the quote is entirely out of context. We have seen this tactic employed by Mr. Clowes before, and there is little reason to believe the rest of his quotes are not equally flawed. In fact, the study itself states the following on its first page:

“Homosexual males who preferred physically mature male partners, responded no more to male children than heterosexual males who preferred mature partners responded to female children.”

Got that? Ordinary gay men were no more attracted to children than ordinary straight men. 

So why is Clowes trying to create the opposite impression in our minds? 

We cannot attribute Clowes’ tendency to misrepresent study findings as some basic defect in his reading comprehension abilities. After all, the man holds a PhD from a reputable school. Certainly one of the most economical explanations is that this is a deliberate tactic on Mr. Clowes' part.   

So who is Mr. Clowes?

According to Human Life International’s website, he is a Director of that organization in charge of Training and Development Worldwide: http://www.hli.org/index.php/about/hli-experts/238?task=view

And who is Human Life International? According to Wikipedia, “Human Life International is an American-based Roman Catholic activist pro-life organization.”

Here is a senior officer of a Catholic organization and he is engaging in anti-gay propaganda. This is a clear cut case of propaganda, obviously designed to disparage an entire group of people in a way that is fundamentally wrong. One might even say that the “sin of calumny” is being committed by Mr. Clowes in the name of the pro-life movement and in the name of the RCC.

This suggests a few questions for us to consider:

Has the RCC publicly denounced this specific propaganda, or similar propaganda?

Has any Bishop of the Church EVER taken it upon himself to warn faithful Catholics about such “calumny”? If not, why not?

The RCC is normally quick to denounce Catholic individuals and organizations which stray from the path of Catholic teaching (especially when it comes to Catholic politicians who dissent on the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage). But where is the Church’s zeal when it comes to setting the record straight on anti-gay propaganda?

Cheers…Martin

09 January, 2012

The Reason for Our Hope: Digging Deep

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

The Reason for Our Hope: Digging Deep

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

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


Diplomacy might be analogous to baseball. That would explain how the US came to become the most powerful empire on the planet through the 20th century. But war is another game entirely. Just ask anyone player who succeeded in hoisting the Stanley Cup over their head. The lessons learned there are far more applicable to war than baseball could ever teach when it comes to making the decision to 'play ball' with the Americans in any future military adventures.


Fr. Tim


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

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

And now the war chant begin to build to a casus belli, the opening movement of a symphony that will climax with the kettle drums of war. I wonder how many people understand what's happening: that they are being seduced by a siren song that will lead again to spilled blood and coin, leaving both they and us weaker whether we win or lose? We almost participated in this dance once before to our regret when the US tried to convince us to join in the invasion of Iraq. We indirectly assisted the US by taking up their legitimate enemy in Afghanistan, freeing their forces for Iraq. Do we honestly believe that we will enjoy this performance any more than the last time if we join the US into another Middle Eastern country?


Just because we label it as a war against terrorism doesn't mean that we should all dance off to war against other countries. Neither Iran nor Syria have done anything to threaten Canada. Unless they do, we have no grounds to wage war against them. Yet, the signs are not hopeful as Canada begins to position her military resources to do just that.


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

Don’t overlook Catholic Church’s virtues - KansasCity.com

Don’t overlook Catholic Church’s virtues - KansasCity.com

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

Gentle readers,

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

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

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

1. Fear – Fear of homos recruiting your children (in or out of the womb); Fear of homos destroying society, marriage, or the traditional family; Fear of homos attacking your religion; Fear of homos destabilizing the country; Fear of homos asking you out on a date; Fear of homos corrupting the courts by creating activist judges; etc.. Almost anything about homos can be feared, so just let your imagination run wild.

2. Disgust or loathing – The tried and true theme is homo sex (it is a real crowd pleaser). It is 100% icky and perverse and you can dwell on it endlessly. Be sure to frequently mention anal penetration, feces, scat, S&M, bondage, role playing, promiscuity, anal warts, gay bowl disease, gerbils etc… The list is really endless, but one word of caution – never ever mention that straight people do these things too. Keep it focused on those disgusting gay men – give the lesbos a pass…their sex is either titillating or boring depending on your audience. Don’t forget that pedophilia is also a great button to push for maximum “disgust”.

3. Anger – Best to use lots of words like: militant homosexualist; strident homosexual activist; strenuous objections. Phrases like “forcing their lifestyle down our throats”, “homosexual agenda”, or “same-sex attraction disorder” are also good. You can pretty much build up a head of steam about any theme: from pedophilia to pandemic AIDS, to economic ruin. Word of caution: never ever talk about homos as ordinary human beings with all the frailties and virtues of their fellow human beings. Keep it abstract and generalized for maximum impact. If you ever focus on a single one of them, make sure it is the most depraved example of a human being you can find.

Remember – when it comes to strong negative emotions, never be afraid to combine them. They work well in threesomes.

STEP 2: Support your strong negative emotional appeal(s) with lots of “facts”. Use tons of footnotes and references. More is always better. There are two basic challenges with “facts” however:

a) The challenge of choosing the right kind of “facts” for your intended audience. For example, if you are appealing to fellow believers you can never go wrong with scripture, church documents, or quotes from church hierarchy, or theologians. JP2 and BXVI are a rich source of material. If, however, you are appealing to a more general audience, I would strongly counsel you to use “scientific facts”. Nothing is as legitimating as science in our culture.
b) The challenge of finding “facts” for your intended audience. The good news is there is simply no end of “facts” provided you are not looking for the truth. Remember, you are not writing a scholarly article to defend a well reasoned thesis or theory. You are writing something that can be quickly copied and pasted into an online argument to shut down your opposition. It will take them days or even weeks to prove you wrong. By then, you will have waltzed off smugly into the ether. Some good sources of “scientific facts” are: studies from STD clinics; studies of incarcerated pedophiles; studies about the mentally ill, studies about HIV/AIDS (never use ones from sub-Saharan Africa as there are too many straights in those). Never be afraid to sprinkle in some discredited sources (e.g. NARTH or Dr. Paul Cameron) among the legitimate (but out of context studies). The discredited studies are not peer reviewed, but they are the juiciest. Just be cautious about using too many as someone may quickly debunk your arguments if they show your sources are severely biased. Lastly, you can comb articles in the gay press for statements made by real live gay activists. Some of them say some pretty silly stuff. Just make sure you set them up as representative of the entire LGBT community. Be creative. Never worry about context or balance and you will do just fine.

STEP 3: Conclude with “love”. Never openly hate the homos. Hate the sin and always “love” the sinner. Always refer to their behavior or lifestyle, and deny their so-called orientation. Tell your audience that true charity means telling homos the “truth”. Tell them the church believes they are intrinsically disordered, but you would never advocate “unjust discrimination”. Never ever define what kind of discrimination against homos that you regard as “just”. Be totally impervious to the hypocrisy and irony of your words. Pray for them, or at least say that you do.

Like anything, writing good anti-gay propaganda requires practice. Start by test driving your ideas at church socials (if people frown on it you are either in the wrong congregation or in the wrong denomination), and work your way up to family gatherings and public meetings. Encourage others and never be afraid to ask for help from such experts like Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, LifeSite News, Catholic Insight, or the CCCB.

Good luck and be prolific!

Cheers...Martin

08 January, 2012

Will the U.S. Supreme Court deal a legal setback to those adovcating for women’s ordination? | The American Catholic

Will the U.S. Supreme Court deal a legal setback to those adovcating for women’s ordination? | The American Catholic

The relentless drive towards euthanasia | CatholicHerald.co.uk

The relentless drive towards euthanasia | CatholicHerald.co.uk

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series #7 Some gay facts

Gentle readers,

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

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

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

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

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

First of all, none of the male faces shown to homosexual men and heterosexual women were actually below the age of 18. Got that point? Clowes has misrepresented the study by stating that the age categories were between 15 and 20 years old. Refer to Page 73 figure 1, which clearly indicates that the average apparent age of male faces in the youngest age category was 18.

Moreover, on page 73 of the study it goes on to state that: “Heterosexual men showed a strong sexual preference for young adult (twentyish) female faces and heterosexual women showed a strong sexual preference for somewhat older (thirtyish) male faces, as expected from past studies of heterosexual. The prediction that homosexual and heterosexual men would prefer younger partners of their preferred sex than would homosexual and heterosexual women was confirmed.”

In other words folks, both gay and straight men tend to like them young. There are all sorts of cultural and evolutionary explanations for why this might be, but there are no meaningful differences between the two groups of men.

Now why would Mr. Clowes fail to alert his readers to the finding that regardless of whether or not a man is gay or straight, he gravitates to more youthful faces? Why would Mr. Clowes get all confused about the age of the faces shown to homosexual men and heterosexual women? Why indeed.

Is the intent to simply link gay men to children, and to do so in a way that looks scientific? If so…mission accomplished!

Cheers…Martin

Gentle readers,


07 January, 2012

Canadian TV ad warning of the dangers of euthanasia

Three Wise Men and Three Stooges | Crisis Magazine

Three Wise Men and Three Stooges | Crisis Magazine

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series #6 Are gays pedophiles?

Gentle readers:

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

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

This is a quote from:

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

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

Why? 

Because it tells us nothing about the general population of gay men. Dr. Blanchard’s entire study is directed at providing evidence to show a link between the fraternal birth order of pedophiles and sexual orientation in pedophiles. 

In fact, the study states on page 465 that:

“There were two sources of pedophilic patients: Male outpatients referred to the Kurt Freund Phallometric Laboratory of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health—Clarke Division (Toronto, Ontario) for psychophysiological assessment of their erotic preferences, and incarcerated male sex offenders undergoing assessment or treatment at the Sexual Behaviour Clinic of Warkworth Institution (Campbellford, Ontario).”

No matter how much contempt one may have for gay men, there is no way that these study participants could be regarded as a representative sample of gay men in general.

So why is Mr. Clowes so motivated to provide this quote?

Could it be that the quote mentions “homosexuals” and “pedophiles” in close proximity? Could it be that it mentions “homosexuals” and “pedophiles” in a scientific study (remember my earlier comments about the legitimating nature of science)? 

If one does not read the quote too closely, or if one does not understand the context of the quote correctly, then we might be tempted to think that there is an equivalency between “homosexuals” and “pedophiles”. 

Is this what Mr. Clowes is aiming at? Is he trying to elicit an emotional response of disgust from his audience towards homosexuals by linking them to pedophilia – over and over again – and in a way that sounds scientific?

So far, we have been unable to uncover a single shred of credible evidence that shows homosexuals are disproportionately pedophiles, or that they represent a material threat to children in general.

What do you think the odds are of that actually happening before we finish Mr. Clowes’ article?

Cheers…Martin

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

Gentle readers:

One of the reasons why anti-gay propaganda is so powerful is because it is relatively easy to make false claims, but it is much more time-consuming to do the heavy lifting necessary to refute those claims. Case in point – look at how long this series is relative to the brief section in Mr. Clowes’ original article that makes those claims.

Nevertheless, let’s examine another of Mr. Clowes’ claims to see how well it stands up to critical thinking. He states that:

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

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

For anyone with even a passing understanding of Kinsey’s work on homosexuals, they would already know about two of the main criticisms of that work:

a) Most of Kinsey’s homosexual subjects were from prison populations or were male prostitutes;
b) Men who volunteer to participate in a study on a taboo subject are likely to have a self-selection bias.

In 1948 very few homosexual men outside of prison, or a deviant subculture, would volunteer to participate in such a study. It stands to reason then that the incidence of pedophilia among such populations would not be representative of the general homosexual population. It would be like trying to understand the sexual practices of heterosexual married couples by surveying folks who frequented brothels. Both groups might be heterosexual in their orientation, and there might even be some overlap between the two populations, but you would not be able to draw too many useful conclusions about the former by studying the latter.

Should Mr. Clowes have been aware of this limitation of Kinsey’s work? Well if he was not aware of it, he should have been. After all, a basic search on Wikipedia would have quickly set Mr. Clowes straight on the matter.

So we now need to ask ourselves a couple questions:

Why did Mr. Clowes fail to disclose this information to his readers? Better yet, why did Mr. Clowes choose to use this suspect information from Kinsey’s work to support his argument in the first place?

Could it be that Mr. Clowes is an anti-gay propagandist?

We already have a few clues that this may be what is really going on.

Cheers…Martin

06 January, 2012

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

Harper decries threat of Iran conflict to world peace | CTV News

The drumbeat of war is getting louder...

Harper decries threat of Iran conflict to world peace | CTV News

Five observations on the new cardinals | National Catholic Reporter

Five observations on the new cardinals | National Catholic Reporter

Culture of life is winning, says Canadian Primate | LifeSiteNews.com

Culture of life is winning, says Canadian Primate | LifeSiteNews.com

Archdiocese criticized for implementing Courage : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

An interesting companion article to go along with Martin's 'Gentle Reader' Series.

Archdiocese criticized for implementing Courage : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Pope names Toronto Archbishop Collins new cardinal - The Globe and Mail

Pope names Toronto Archbishop Collins new cardinal - The Globe and Mail

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series #4 Getting down to specifics

Gentle readers:

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

The article makes the following statement:

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

Some context: NAMBLA is the North American Man Boy Love Association, and is a notorious proponent of pedophilia. The ILGA is the International Lesbian and Gay Association, which is member organization belonging to the United Nations. Mr. Clowes is clearly insinuating that pedophile rights are a central part of the larger gay rights movement.

While Mr. Clowes’ statement is “accurate” as far is it goes, it leaves out some extremely relevant facts in order to create a misleading impression, namely:

“ILGA does not advocate – and never has advocated - paedophilia in any way or form. ILGA has issued statements condemning all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation (regardless of the sexual orientation or gender identity of the perpetrator or the victim). ILGA has issued statements calling for the strengthening of the rights of children and young people, in support of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and condemning all forms of abuse (including sexual abuse), coercion, and exploitation of children and young people. The ILGA conference (the highest decision making authority) has passed a resolution categorically rejecting any attempt to promote or legalize paedophilia. 

In 1990, the ILGA World Conference in Stockholm adopted a resolution on the protection of children that stated categorically that “Every child has the right to protection from sexual exploitation and abuse, including prostitution and involvement in pornography”. This wording of the resolution is directly in line with article 34 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In 1994, ILGA expelled NAMBLA and two other paedophile groups at its World Conference in New York. These groups had joined ILGA at an earlier stage of ILGA’s development, at a time when ILGA did not have in place administrative procedures to scrutinize the constitutions and policies of groups seeking membership. At no time, however, did ILGA support or endorse their positions, and these groups were expelled precisely because their aims were incompatible with those of ILGA.”

Here is a reference to ILGA’s above statement: http://ilga.org/ilga/en/article/861

Already we begin to see that Mr. Clowes’ article may well be an example of grey propaganda.

Cheers…Martin

05 January, 2012

Conclave contenders: A list of Cardinals that might be the next Pope. Wonder why this popped up now?

The Tablet - Conclave contenders

Disgraced bishop Lahey may face Vatican discipline - Nfld. & Labrador - CBC News

Disgraced bishop Lahey may face Vatican discipline - Nfld. & Labrador - CBC News

Sweden Formally Recognizes File-Sharing as a Religion | News & Opinion | PCMag.com

Sweden Formally Recognizes File-Sharing as a Religion | News & Opinion | PCMag.com

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

Gentle readers:

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

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

Now I draw your attention to the following points:



1. Mr. Clowes' anti-gay claims involve social science and behavioural psychology.

2. Mr. Clowes is neither a social scientist nor a behavioral psychologist. In short, he is a civil engineer commenting outside his area of expertise.

3. While the article notes the fact that Clowes holds a PhD, nowhere does it disclose his area of expertise (you need to go to another website for that information).



It is a common trick among propagandists to misuse academic credentials in this way. Their intent is to lend a greater air of authority to what is nothing more than a very poorly reasoned opinion article.

If a PhD has written something, it means very little until we can understand if it is written in an area where the PhD has expertise. And even if it is within the PhD’s area of expertise, we should closely examine methodology, and logic etc…. Trust me, even when a PhD is not an active participant in creating propaganda, they are capable of error.

In any case, argument from authority is always an inherently weak argument - regardless of the authority.

Cheers...Martin

04 January, 2012

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

Now that the civil authorities have rendered their punishment, it is time for the Church to do the same. Lahey must now be punished for his crimes against canon law as well. Hard to see how this will be difficult for the Vatican to know which way to act. Let's just review the salient points:


1. convicted of possessing and importing child porn
2. admits to being in a gay relationship for the past 10 years
3. admits to having had multiple gay one night stands
4. had sex toys in his luggage when returning from a country noted for child sex trade
5. admits to a predilection for images that combine bondage and religious symbols


If he were just a priest, he'd be gone so fast he wouldn't know what hit him. It should not be any different for Lahey. He must be removed for every and any ministry.


The only question to be settled is does he get kicked out completely or will the Pope sentence him to a monastery for an enforced life of silence and separation from the world? The former would satisfy the desire to see him cut-off from any support from the Church, but the latter may be better at ensuring he NEVER has a chance to access pornography (or his lover) again. If he indeed is in a committed relationship, he might choose to leave on his own if the Pope were to send him to a hermitage. It all depends on how he views his obligations to celibacy and obedience as opposed to his commitment to his gay lover.


Fr. Tim


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

SNAP refuses to obey court order for abuse documents :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

SNAP refuses to obey court order for abuse documents :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Islamic Jihad in Africa: Nigerian 'Boko Haram' Issues Ultimatum to Christians - International - Catholic Online

Islamic Jihad in Africa: Nigerian 'Boko Haram' Issues Ultimatum to Christians - International - Catholic Online

Breaking Bad Liturgical Habits II | First Things

Breaking Bad Liturgical Habits II | First Things

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series #2

Gentle readers:

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

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

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

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

White Propaganda – this propaganda “…comes from a source that is identified correctly, and the information in the message tends to be accurate.” (ibid., p.8.)

Black Propaganda – this propaganda “…is credited to a false source, and it spreads lies, fabrications and deceptions.” (ibid., p.9.)

Grey Propaganda – this propaganda “…is somewhere between white and black…the source may or may not be correctly identified, and the accuracy of the information is uncertain.” (ibid., p. 13.) 

The above sub-categories of propaganda are useful, because some propaganda is relatively benign (e.g. national symbols such as flags are used by government to induce patriotic sentiment towards one’s country), yet other examples can be downright destructive. 

Emotion usually plays an important role in forming an individual’s attitudes and behaviours (notwithstanding the rational responses we tend to espouse when confronted by a challenge to our cherished attitudes). It is therefore little wonder that we find emotional appeals as the basic building block of propaganda. Good propagandists appeal first to emotion, and then provide the audience with a plausible rationale to paper over that emotion. The more negative the emotional appeal, the stronger and more plausible the covering rationale must be. 

To illustrate my point, let’s examine an article published on the website, Renew America. The article is entitled “Homosexuality and the Church Crisis “, and is written by Brain W. Clowes. It can be found on this link:

http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/abbott/100424

This article is a typical example of contemporary propaganda, and it is a good example of how Catholics are currently employing propaganda against gay men. Ostensibly, the article is a defense of Catholic priests and their role in the “sex scandal”. On its way to making some dubious points in defense of priests, it makes a number of anti-gay claims.

Firstly, the article links gay men to pedophilia. This is done to invoke the emotion of disgust in the minds of the audience. Interestingly, the author is not satisfied to simply raise the emotion of disgust. He is also quick to give his assertions an air of scientific validity by quoting a number of scientific studies. As I will point out later, the author fails to draw valid conclusions from a number of the studies.

Secondly, the article presents the audience with a ready-made set of “scientific” reasons that buttresses a negative attitude towards gay men. Nothing in our society is more legitimating than science, and consequently, this article is littered with scientific titles, terms, scientific studies taken out of context, and pseudo-scientific studies inserted where necessary.

Most readers will not actually check each reference in the article to ensure that the studies which are cited in fact support the conclusion being drawn. The propagandist counts on this fact – otherwise why list studies that do not support your conclusions, if not to give your article the veneer of “truthiness”? Those folks who rely on such articles as a reasonable basis for their own anti-gay bigotry (after all bigots are only those folks without good reasons for their opinions), should not be judged too harshly for not checking the individual studies cited. In fact, the anti-gay propagandist is relying upon this common behavior.

This article is a great example of grey to black propaganda. Most of the sources are credible studies, however, the conclusions drawn are entirely invalid.

Lastly, Mr. Clowes’ PhD features prominently in the article, however, the fact that his PhD is in Civil Engineering is not disclosed in either the article, or on the Renew America website where it is printed. 

The anti-gay claims in the article are designed to support the alarming proposition that “…there is indeed a very strong link between male homosexuality and child sexual abuse.”

Please ask yourselves this question: if the scientific evidence was so clear cut that gays are overwhelming pedophiles, and they are a significant threat to our children, then why would secular courts and governments appear to be utterly unaware of this fact? Why would world renowned medical research clinics, such as the Mayo Clinic, clearly state that the studies referenced by Mr. Clowes in his article, in no way implicate gays as being disproportionately pedophiles?

Outrageous or extraordinary claims require credible evidence. As I will demonstrate - none is to be found in this article – notwithstanding the article confidently suggests the opposite.

Cheers…Martin

03 January, 2012

Rebuilding From the Ruins: Cardinal O'Malley on the 2002 Boston Sex-Abuse Scandal and Aftermath | Daily News | NCRegister.com

Rebuilding From the Ruins: Cardinal O'Malley on the 2002 Boston Sex-Abuse Scandal and Aftermath | Daily News | NCRegister.com

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series #1 Anti-gay propaganda

Gentle readers:

Is all external criticism of the LGBT community necessarily inspired by bigotry, intolerance, or homophobia? Of course not. No community (regardless of its identity) ought to be exempt from principled criticism. This much I think we can all agree upon.

In fact, the LGBT community is often critical of its own individual leaders, organizations, trends and movements. Vigorous (if not sometimes rancorous) debate and criticism is a hallmark of many North American LGBT communities.

What I want to explore in this series is not:

principled criticism of the LGBT community;
poor (but well-intentioned) arguments against the LGBT community; or, occasional rhetorical flourishes that sometimes unfairly criticize the LGBT community.

What I want to explore is much more insidious. It is something that is structurally and systematically supported by many Catholics and the Church itself. What I want to explore is as corrosive and as unfair to LGBT citizens, as it is to Catholics. What I want to explore is anti-gay propaganda.

Members of the LGBT community are often told that Catholics love them (but that Catholics hate their sins or “lifestyle”). Members of the LGBT community are often told that Catholics and the Church believe that LGBT citizens ought to be treated with respect, and protected from any “unjust discrimination”.

What makes this message ring hollow to so many LGBT citizens is that while the Church officially proclaims its “warm and fuzzy” message of love and respect – it simultaneously permits and enables vicious anti-gay propaganda. If someone truly loves me, if someone truly respects me, if someone truly wants to protect me from unjust discrimination – then the most basic way for them to begin to show that to me is to refrain from telling deliberate and vile falsehoods about me.

In this series I will not only examine a typical example of contemporary anti-gay propaganda, but I will also deconstruct it, show you how it is deliberate, and more importantly, explain to you why I think the Church is destroying itself by facilitating the production of this stuff.

I invite your considered comments along the way.

Cheers…Martin

02 January, 2012

Propaganda: Gentle Reader Series - Introduction

I introduce to the blog today what will be a series of posts written by a frequent commentator, 'Martin'. They grow from a discussion that developed between him and 'Paul', another regular contributor here on the subject of homosexuality and the gay agenda. Paul takes the orthodox Christian perspective. Martin is a vocal proponent for the gay cause.

This particular discourse saw Paul make certain claims about the gay culture, claims that he supported by evidence drawn from a website (RenewAmerica.com) which promoted the published findings on the subject by a Dr. Brian W. Clowes, PhD.  Martin's keen eye noted this credit and researched Clowes, only to discover that he certainly holds a doctorate from a reputable US school... in Civil Engineering. Clearly, he argued, Clowes qualifications were in a field of study that didn't provide any credible justification for his expertise regarding the issue of homosexuality.

After pointing this out to Paul, he began to write a series of comments, addressed to the 'Gentle Readers' of this blog, in which first he lays out an explanation of the nature and power of propaganda, explaining along the way how Clowes' 'research' in particular, as well as other organizations that promote traditional sexual mores such as RenewAmerica in general (including the Catholic Church in its teachings) are utilizing these deceptive and discredited techniques. Along the way, Martin poses a series of questions/challenges to those of us who are proponents of the traditional position to assess if the foundation upon which we've rooted our convictions are as pure and sensible as we think it is.

I am not saying that I agree with Martin on the greater issues of the morality or appropriateness of the gay culture. I do not. However as the webmaster and host of this blog I take questions he poses seriously.  I would rather be wrong on an issue than be right for the wrong reasons. Even a broken watch is right twice a day, but that doesn't mean it's any good at keeping time.

Martin's red flag about the seduction of propaganda merits attention no matter what one believes. For that reason, I asked his permission to package his comments together into this series which I've titled, 'Propaganda:The Gentle Reader Series'. I will post one column for each of the next few days. Feel free to join the debate. Your comments are (as always) welcome 'Where the Rubber Hits the Road'.

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