Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Still no LIFE in Witney


According to The Witney Gazette (and its sister publication The Oxford Mail), the wicked ‘pro-life’ campaigners are yet again attempting to victimise the poor, beleaguered and lily-white members of Witney Town Council. How in God’s name could LIFE be so unreasonable as to want to hold a rally on ground so patently unsuitable that it is normally only ever used to host sports events, fairs, the visiting circus, the Witney Carnival and The Witney Feast? What deluding demon has possessed them that they could be so unreasonable, selfish, and misguided?

And why, when they are told ‘No’ – and are given no substantive reason for this rejection beyond the fact that their presence might upset people – will they not just go away and bother someone else? By refusing to respond to letters, emails and phone calls, that is, of course, precisely what Witney Town Council have made it perfectly clear they want LIFE to do.

The last occasion the event’s organiser was able to speak to the Town Clerk, Mrs Sharon Grogh, was immediately after the meeting of the Amenities Committee in November of last year – where we now learn from the Minutes that the application was summarily rejected. LIFE asked at the time what the decision was, and they were told to proceed and obtain the relevant licences. Why was this? Why involve an organisation in hours of administration and additional expense if the application has fallen at the first hurdle? Why taunt people and waste their time in this manner? Perhaps we will never know, but according to the report in The Witney Gazette, Mrs Groth has now said that council regulations mean a decision cannot be overturned within six months of the ruling, which had affected previous appeals.

What previous appeals? Could she be referring to the numerous emails, letters and phone calls the organiser for the event subsequently made to the Clerk’s office? If so, what a pity she never saw fit to communicate this – nor, indeed, to communicate anything at all.

Mrs Groth did, however, inform the journalist, apparently by way of justification, that similar applications to use The Leys from the Steam Fair and Witney Music Festival have also been recently rejected. But she did not mention the fact that they were offered alternative sites, which LIFE manifestly was not.

So why the discrimination?

The reason is perhaps alluded to in the same article: “A lot of pro-life rhetoric,” says Green Party member Kate Griffin, “talks about advice and counselling, but what it comes down to is anti-abortion propaganda.”

Who is Kate Griffin, and why was she asked for comment? This is something else we may never know, but she appears to be speaking on behalf of the Council.

His Grace was widely criticised for his articles last week on this matter (here and here). ConservativeHome picked up on the story, and His Grace was dismissed by some for being (God forbid) ‘right-wing’.

Since when has defence of the unborn been a question of political polarity? Is it really a peculiarly Conservative pursuit to assert that the child in the womb should have rights. Why are ‘human rights’ for the living judged to be the enlightened settlement of the progressive left, but for the unborn they are the oppressive rhetoric of the regressive right?

Did you know that the UK aborted 26 babies since 2002 for no other reason than that they had a cleft palate? Seven of these were terminated just last year, suggesting an exponential increase. And these seven were just a few of the 2,290 children whose lives were terminated in 2010 because they were ‘disabled’. The full figures:


The Down’s figure is particularly disturbing, and the revelation that 181 children were aborted for no other reason than ‘a family history of inherited disorder’ (ie no discernible disability) and that one of these was terminated over 24 weeks, is chilling. What barbaric message are we sending to the disabled whom we generously permit to be born?


Anthony Ozimic, communications manager of the SPUC, comments:
"Between 2001 and 2010, the number of abortions on the ground of disability rose by one-third, 10 times that of abortions generally. It is clear that legal abortion is a system which discriminates, fatally, against the disabled.

Ann Furedi, the leader of the UK pro-abortion lobby, has today praised medics who abort disabled people, and described such abortions as couples 'los(ing)' a pregnancy. It is grossly misleading of Ms Furedi to imply that aborted babies are merely 'lost', as one might describe a miscarriage. Abortion is the intentional killing of a unborn child. It is medically unnecessary and ethically unacceptable. SPUC recognizes the profound challenge to couples who receive a diagnosis of disability in their unborn child, but Ann Furedi's comment is extremist.

The figures on teenage abortions reveal the failure of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy inherited from the Labour government. The government must cut its ties and deny funding to those groups which share responsibility for that failure, most notably Brook and the Family Planning Association."
Janet Thomas of No Less Human, a group which represents disabled people, sent her reaction to the SPUC:
"No Less Human sometimes hears from mothers who, after a diagnosis of disability for their unborn children, are put under great psychological pressure to have an abortion. These mothers are not treated with compassion by the medical profession, because they have not made the ‘politically correct’ choice; they suffer greatly for the remainder of their pregnancies. It is not surprising if many women succumb to the pressure to have an abortion. One mother, who spoke to our coordinator Alison Davis, who has spina bifida, told her: 'They told me that my baby has spina bifida, but no-one will tell me what spina bifida is!' Real knowledge of disability and contact with disabled people is not part of the decision-making process once a pregnant woman is given the news of her baby’s disability. In fact, a very black view of the child’s future is usually painted. One of our members was told that her baby would have a head like a banana and would not survive birth. He has now grown up, moved into his own flat and is training for a job."
Witney Town Council may not want to hear about such things, but, frankly, this is England, where the right to speak out and protest peaceably are fundamental to our liberty. The Witney Gazette have said:
The idea of an anti-abortion rally being held in the town may disgust some, but we think, in principle, it should be allowed to go ahead. There may be disagreement about the pro-life group and its message, but freedom of speech trumps that.
Indeed it does.

And if Witney Town Council do not change their mind, it may be time to assert a little ancient liberty.

90 Comments:

Blogger D. Singh said...

‘“A lot of pro-life rhetoric,” says Green Party member Kate Griffin, “talks about advice and counselling, but what it comes down to is anti-abortion propaganda.”’

Given that these pre-born children are fully human (and therefore members of our community); can you imagine if the following were said:

A lot of anti-slavery rhetoric talks about advice on escaping… but what it comes down to is anti-slavery propaganda.

A lot of anti-human-trafficking rhetoric talks about advice on escaping… but what it comes down to is anti-human-trafficking propaganda.

A lot of anti-gender selection rhetoric talks about advice and counselling but what it comes down to is pro-female propaganda.

What Witney Town Council is actually doing is silencing and disenfranchising those who dare to speak up for those who are appointed to die.

If Witney Town Council has said that their decision is the end of the matter then I do hope LIFE submits an argument to the Commissioner for Local Government who is obliged to consider launching an investigation into the council’s decision-making process.

6 July 2011 at 10:38  
Anonymous Jack Flash said...

Life must not give up. They must continue to fight to be heard on behalf of those who have no voice.
If the planned event offends some of the residents of Witney then so be it.
It appears that once more a council has become infatuated with its own power.
Maybe it's time to hold a new election in Witney. You don't let your dogs do as they please, you train them to do as they're told.



Jack.

6 July 2011 at 11:01  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Witney Town Council is a civil parish council.

If anyone thought to ask "Does the Parochial Church Council, or its members have a view about 'time to assert a little ancient liberty', and have they any influence", it would be tactful to notice, as interested parties will doubtless be aware, that the Parish is in the throes of an Appeal for the Restoration and Renewal of St Mary’s Church. Patrons include the local M.P., Mr David Cameron.

[According to its website 'The Parish of Witney has a Team Rector, a Team Vicar and two Associate Priests, three of whom are women; and three of the six officers of the Parish of Witney are women.]

Does participation in a Church of England Parish such as this count as ipso facto "right wing" or "left wing", and is that relevant?

6 July 2011 at 11:28  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Respect Mr AB Cranmer.

6 July 2011 at 11:57  
Blogger Owl said...

Excellent post YG.

6 July 2011 at 12:01  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

Having had this application turned down has HG any information from LIFE as to where they have arranged the alternative venue for their birthday bash?

6 July 2011 at 12:12  
Blogger The Gray Monk said...

Perhaps the most telling aspect of this bizarre refusal by Witney Council is the 'Green Party' spokesperson's apparent dismissal of the foetus as "goods" which may be disposed of at the whim of the mother and the pro-abortion NHS.

The aborting of children simply because they 'might' be disabled also suggests that this political agenda may be not far from recommending the abortion of children with a genetic disposition toward conservative values and politics.

I commend to all readers a book entitled "Fool Britannia" - I have found it an eye opening experience!

6 July 2011 at 12:47  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Gray Monk – interesting remarks.

On this issue the Left label those who defend life as ‘right-wing’ whilst the Left are hardly ever referred to as pro-death.

One of the strategic aims in this debate has to be to project the Left (pro-death) as Fascist.

If a ‘crimo-genic’ gene was discovered would that justify killing pre-born babies?

What if that ‘crimo-genic’ gene was found amongst a certain section of the community?

6 July 2011 at 13:06  
Anonymous Budgie said...

An unborn child is human (what else could it be?) and alive (which is why an abortion is considered "necessary" by some).

The problem with abortionists is they are primitives who, because they cannot see the child's development in the womb, say: "lalalalala, not listening, it's not human, it's not alive, so we can get rid of it if we want".

All humans develop this way; it is a continuum from implantation to death. It is a condition of being a viviparous species. Moreover a born baby is as wholly dependent as his unborn sister.

Unfortunately, the politically correct statists who are our establishment, are abortionists to a woman.

6 July 2011 at 13:20  
Blogger D. Singh said...

‘Why involve an organisation [LIFE] in hours of administration and additional expense if the application has fallen at the first hurdle?’

Well then, I do hope LIFE will put the council through some administrative hurdles by demanding to know if an analysis under s.149(1) Equality Act 2010 was carried out?

The council are obliged to conduct the analysis when they exercise a public function (which they did).

6 July 2011 at 13:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In July 1933 the Nazis passed a law for the ‘prevention of progeny with hereditary disease’ which ordered the forced sterilizations of all people with conditions the nazis considered hereditary disease and these included:

•Visual and Hearing Impairment
•Physical and Learning Disabilities
•Epilepsy

6 July 2011 at 13:45  
Anonymous Toby the Jug said...

Would it have been morally justifiable to abort Hitler? Or Mohammed? Or Stalin?

And, while we're on the sanctity of life and the absolute morality of its preservation, what do folk think of the 'artificial' creation of life in test-tubes and/or other 'assisted' methods? Do different moral considerations apply?

6 July 2011 at 13:56  
Blogger English Viking said...

Toby,

No, no and no. And to your final question - no.

Life should find supporters within Witney and have them invite hundreds of other supporters to their house for tea. They could go for stroll afterwards, maybe around the park?

PS Strange that The Witney Gazette thinks that speaking up for the unborn might somehow be "disgust(ing)".

6 July 2011 at 14:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Why are ‘human rights’ for the living judged to be the enlightened settlement of the progressive left, but for the unborn they are the oppressive rhetoric of the regressive right?".

I will attempt to answer YG's question.

I believe it is because the "liberal left" elevates freedom to the level of anarchic irresponsibility.
"OK - you got pregnant , but if you want to abort , that's your choice. If something bad happened , it's never YOUR fault."
I find that attitude immature and reject it.

The "conservative Right" , however , stresses the moral need to accept personal responsibility.
Which is quite - Right !

I am pro-choice on abortion : I support the right of a woman to eschew intercourse which may result in unwanted conception.

Exceptions for rape / crippling disability? Yes, I support that.
But the majority of abortions are wanted by selfish , irresponsible people.
Yes - PEOPLE , not just "women": we must keep in mind that men also bring their influence to bear on partners considering terminations.

On His Grace's comments on freedom of speech - unrelated to abortion , though disturbingly symptomatic of the increasingly oppressive nature of Western "democracies" :
It is noteworthy that some fifty academics here in Australia recently demanded a "no-platform" policy ,to deny Christopher Monckton the chance to present his sceptical "climate change" views.

Clearly , we can enjoy all the freedom of speech we want - provided we agree with the liberal left luvvies !

The only hope for real freedom and social responsibility rests with electing strong ,genuinely right-wing governments.
And no , I don't mean of the kind which ran Germany for twelve years - the NSDAP was simply a communist party with a dose of racism thrown in.
And Karl Marx surely would have approved of Hitler : though his modern-day followers suppress this fact, the "father" of communism , as proven by his own writings , was a racist.

Marcus Foxall

6 July 2011 at 14:43  
Blogger English Viking said...

Your Grace,

Slightly OT, but -

Have you seen this monstrosity?

Win a child

6 July 2011 at 14:59  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

You ask:

“Why are ‘human rights’ for the living judged to be the enlightened settlement of the progressive left, but for the unborn they are the oppressive rhetoric of the regressive right?”

Here is the gist of what I was taught through a lecture delievered some years ago.

Man has thought on the basis that A is A and A is not non-A. This mode of thought has not led to a unifying theory of the past, present and future.

Hegel came along and proposed that we think, in the abstract, Thesis + Anti-thesis = Synthesis.

Marx came along and said ‘I have turned Hegel on his head’. By that he meant Hegel’s way of thinking must be located in the real, concrete world (material world).

So, the formula can be expressed in various ways when applied to the material world:

Truth + Non-truth = A new truth; this ‘new truth’ in turn becomes a thesis that has its anti-thesis producing its own synthesis and so forth:

Proletariat + Ruling Class = Revolution (classless society)

In this new way of thinking the system cannot accept Moral Absolutes (Biblical norms, for example) as valid, for obvious reasons. All is relative and evolving towards a higher state.

The system can accept evolutionary theory, again for obvious reasons (Man is a mere collection of molecules).

Women + Patriarchy = Women’s rights

Women’s right to choose + collection of cells in the womb = abortion

Enlightened progressive left + (Anti-thesis must be) Oppressive regressive right = Human Rights (votes for prisoners, for example).

6 July 2011 at 15:05  
Blogger D. Singh said...

'The only hope for real freedom and social responsibility rests with electing strong ,genuinely right-wing governments.
And no , I don't mean of the kind which ran Germany for twelve years - the NSDAP was simply a communist party with a dose of racism thrown in.'

Marcus Foxall

I agree. That is the only way we are going to ensure our liberty, security and freedom.

6 July 2011 at 15:21  
Anonymous Toby the Jug said...

English Viking said...
"Toby,
No, no and no. And to your final question - no."

Well said Viking.

6 July 2011 at 16:10  
Anonymous Jack Flash. said...

anon @ 13.45
And the next step was: "Reichsleiter Bouhler and Dr Brandt are entrusted with the responsibility of extending the rights of specially designated physicians, such that patients who are judged incurable after the most thourough review of their condition which is possible, can be granted mercy killing."
Do I smell coffee, or is it the simmering fourth Reich in Witney?.


Jack.

6 July 2011 at 16:31  
Anonymous Budgie said...

D Singh said: "Man has thought on the basis that A is A and A is not non-A. ... Hegel came along and proposed that we think, in the abstract, Thesis + Anti-thesis = Synthesis."

This sounds like Dr Francis Schaeffer from his book "The God Who is There". He clearly explains how absolute morals cannot be derived from ourselves alone. Hegel's synthesis leads to "the line of despair" which we have crossed with Kierkegaard's "leap of faith" (ie irrationality) and with the modern existentialists. The book explains a lot about the shape and attitudes of modern society.

6 July 2011 at 16:39  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Toby the Jug asked ...
"Would it have been morally justifiable to abort Hitler? Or Mohammed? Or Stalin?

And, while we're on the sanctity of life and the absolute morality of its preservation, what do folk think of the 'artificial' creation of life in test-tubes and/or other 'assisted' methods? Do different moral considerations apply?"

I agree with English Viking's responses.

What about artificial means of preventing conception? Are these morally acceptable?

6 July 2011 at 17:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

His Grace: "The Down’s figure is particularly disturbing, and the revelation that 181 children were aborted for no other reason than ‘a family history of inherited disorder’ (ie no discernible disability) and that one of these was terminated over 24 weeks, is chilling."

Of what relevance is the 24 weeks if the other 180 are to be considered children, and therefore essentially just like the kids skipping around playgrounds, rather than foetuses anyway?

6 July 2011 at 17:12  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Serving an FoI Request on The Council might be an option to produce any Minutes as a prelude to filing Application for Judicial Review in The High Court.

It is time Councils and Councillors and Officials were held to account: they are SERVANTS not Masters and must act Intra Vires

6 July 2011 at 17:13  
Anonymous Avi Barzel said...

Your Grace,

This being the second posting of the same (slightly corrected) clump of musings which appear to have been devoured by a monstrum digitus, or a “software glitch” in common parlance, I apologize in advance for any repetitions.

Anyhow, Your Grace, without shoving my head into that madly spinning and wobbling buzz-saw that is the abortion debate, I would like to comment (with the caveat that my views represent no one but my humble self) that organizations such as Britain's LIFE and Israel's Efrat, appear to model worthy solutions for anyone, of any religion or lack thereof.

We may ponder upon the fall of civilizations, mourn over the disappearance of traditions, mores and ancient liberties, but as important as these are in their own right, the main "driver," behind the high numbers of abortions appears to be poverty and its associated ills. Those who oppose abortion for whatever reasons, then, should perhaps work harder on supporting charities and pressing for policies which financially and socially reward pregnant women, mothers and, whenever available, fathers. This would obviously be a contentious issue, but it pays to remember that we already have accepted welfare in principle and practice, and that the current welfare policies obviously do not provide enough or the right kind of help to make having children an attractive choice. Pressure for relevant welfare reforms and generous material support to the right charities, I believe, will achieve far more than trying to stir up opposition to abortion, or to grope for that very high-hanging fruit, the ban.

It's also been my observation, Your Grace, that religion...and this applies to all religions big and small...can sometimes achieve theologically important changes "on the cheap," merely by inspiring or frightening. But something this big, which statistics show it to be a function of economics and social realities, needs to be addressed on its own, very real and material terms. Given that practical pro-natal programs appear to work better than anger, ideological exhortations, bans or scares, the victories will become immediately and empirically evident not only on statistical charts, but with each and every lovely child born into a world of better opportunities.

6 July 2011 at 17:52  
Anonymous Budgie said...

Danjo said: "Of what relevance is the 24 weeks if the other 180 are to be considered children, and therefore essentially just like the kids skipping around playgrounds, rather than foetuses anyway?"

Abortions are 'legal' up to 24 weeks in the UK. At 24 weeks the baby responds to touch (ie can feel pain) and has a fighting chance of survival ex-womb.

Also at 330mm (13") long it takes a lot of effort to get the damn thing out dead. Main choices nowadays are chemical, to induce delivery. Trouble is some of the pesky things still end up being delivered alive, which is quite inconvenient.

If you will provide your information about the UK organisations SPUC and Life stating that unborn babies of 24 weeks gestation are "essentially just like the kids skipping around playgrounds", I would be very interested to see it.

6 July 2011 at 18:41  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Avi Barzel @ 17:52 : thank you for saying what you have, and in a manner beyond my own capabilities.

Stridency both frightens and alienates people; neither does it solve problems.

6 July 2011 at 19:04  
Anonymous Avi Barzel said...

You flatter me, Mr Oswin and thank you, but on a re-read, in part to see what prompted your approval, I became worried that I may appear to have indulged in the very stridency you mention. I didn't mean to even appear to presume and to lecture anyone on this hard topic, least of all His Grace, but only to submit my opinion...as a record and a curiosity, rather than a proposed remedy.

6 July 2011 at 19:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Abortions are 'legal' up to 24 weeks in the UK. At 24 weeks the baby responds to touch (ie can feel pain) and has a fighting chance of survival ex-womb."

They're legal after 24 weeks in some circumstances. But I was making a different point altogether.

"If you will provide your information about the UK organisations SPUC and Life stating that unborn babies of 24 weeks gestation are "essentially just like the kids skipping around playgrounds", I would be very interested to see it."

Huh?

6 July 2011 at 19:53  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

How ironic that on the day that the press once again goes into hysterical and tasteless overdrive about the dreadful murders of Millie Dowler, Holly Wells, Jessica Chapman and James Bulger, such figures as those for the 2010 killings of unborn children pass most people by without a murmur.

The parents of those murdered children are once again forced to face the terrible crimes committed against their loved ones, while Green campaigners and leftists congratulate other parents for killing their own offspring, and assert their right to do so. And our useless, supine politicians condone and support this continuing massacre.

Heaven cries out against this slaughter, but most of our people are indifferent to it.

6 July 2011 at 20:02  
Anonymous Toby the Jug said...

Avi Barzel said...

"Those who oppose abortion for whatever reasons, then, should perhaps work harder on supporting charities and pressing for policies which financially and socially reward pregnant women, mothers and, whenever available, fathers."

"But something this big, which statistics show it to be a function of economics and social realities, needs to be addressed on its own, very real and material terms."

I agree in principle with support, financial and emotional, for those with 'unwanted/unplanned pregnancies'. And perhaps the State's tax system could favour families with children.

However, the driver for 200,000 plus abortions per year in the UK may just be selfishness. People make choices. They want the big houses, the fancy cars and the foreign holidays. Children are a seen as a burden. They get in the way of careers, cost time and cost money. Who needs it?

Is there any actual evidence that there are more abortions amongst lower socio-economic groups?

Maybe I'm being harsh and judgemental. This is too great a crime to be sympathetic towards.

6 July 2011 at 20:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toby

Harsh - yes.

Where has the concept of shame gone in the 'civilised' 'christian' west?

6 July 2011 at 22:58  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

His Grace: "Who is Kate Griffin, and why was she asked for comment? This is something else we may never know, but she appears to be speaking on behalf of the Council."

Unless it's a startling same-name coincidence, she's a local freelance journalist, copy-writer and editor.

I'm envisaging a looming deadline and a gravelly-voiced, tie-loosened Tom shouting over an office partition: "Kate! Thank god you're in! Fancy supplying a useful quote as some sort of political voice for my article?"

Provincial newspapers. The former editor of my local one had a thing about the paranormal. Even shop-lifting stories held a promise of possible poltergeist activity.

7 July 2011 at 06:05  
Anonymous Avi Barzel said...

Toby the Jug,

I have to admit that I don't know what the situation is in the UK; I'm Canadian and it's hard to get recent stats here, as abortion is largely unregulated. The Guttmacher Institute has some recent US numbers, on 2010, and they report 60% increase of abortions by the poor since 2000, reasonably assumed to be linked to the downturn of the US economy (see http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/US-Abortion-Patients.pdf).

I'm inclined to agree with you that selfishness and values play important roles...but I think more in the perception and self-evaluation of the women who choose abortion. It is unlikely that it's just a matter of fancy cars and vacations, even if this is what they themselves may believe and tell people. Of more concern should be the stark fact that never before in history has the raising of children been as astronomically expensive as today. Parents in modern consumer economies can also no longer count on seeing any ROI...a return on their investment...in the form of support from their children, a lot of whom now seem to be stuck in their parents' basement well into adulthood. This is an entirely new scenario for us; in the kinds of rural agricultural societies we left behind, a higher number of children not only guaranteed crucial and cheap labour, but promised economic security in our old age; the exact opposite of our condition today.

The majority of unplanned pregnancies also occur among young unmarried women well before they have had time to complete their increasingly important education or training. At the same time, the rates of divorce have sky-rocketted to nearly or over 50% and divorce will in most cases lower the qulity of life for all parties concerned; the father's ongoing financial responsibility reduce his prospect of mobility and remarriage, while the mother is stigmatized and the same sum that impoverishes her ex, is barely sufficient for the children.

Barring an unlikely ban of abortion in modern societies, only a radical shift in how we earn a living, a nearly fool-proof and convenient birth control and a huge reduction in costs--economic and social--of having children can put a dent on abortion numbers. That's unlikely to happen any time soon, which leaves those of us who are concerned about the issue to try and save one child and one family at a time and hope that positive economic changes with a mass revival of pro-natal values will one day nudge our societies to more child-friendly choices. Unless anyone comes up with a better idea, one that can actually work, that is.

7 July 2011 at 06:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

In a related article, Tom wrote: "PRO-LIFE campaigners have been blocked from holding a rally in Witney. The anti-abortion group Life wanted to use the event to put pressure of Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron to make changes to abortion law."

I've never had much tolerance for that American weasel-wording of the issue. These groups are anti-abortion as described, calling themselves pro-life instead is risible propaganda.

People who accept the restricted use of abortion are not anti-life in general because they're on the other side of the debate any more than anti-abortionists are anti-choice in general.

Even though anti-abortion describes exactly the position of these groups, that doesn't make people like me pro-abortion either as though we encourage it as an alternative to contraception or something.

7 July 2011 at 06:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi: "This is an entirely new scenario for us; in the kinds of rural agricultural societies we left behind, a higher number of children not only guaranteed crucial and cheap labour, but promised economic security in our old age; the exact opposite of our condition today."

Not only that, people had lots of children because child mortality was very high, especially in cities. We have progressed as a society here in the UK, contrary to what some End Timers seem to believe, to point where we can realistically protect the precious lives of children (actual children, I mean) and provide a good, properly resourced environment so they grow into adults. In consequentialist and other moral terms, surely a smaller number of children who are likely to have a full span of life is better than a larger number of children most of whom never reach maturity as human beings? And so we drift on to another aspect of, and justification for, family planning in our modern world.

7 July 2011 at 06:36  
Blogger D. Singh said...

DanJO said:

‘We have progressed as a society here in the UK, contrary to what some End Timers seem to believe,…’

Progression for him is death (killing children).

‘to point where we can realistically protect the precious lives of children (actual children, I mean)…’

He has to twist and pervert the use of standard English: ‘actual children’ (a child in the womb is still a child).

‘and provide a good, properly resourced environment so they grow into adults.’

He then wheels out the fascistic ‘quality of life’ ethic (as opposed to the ‘sanctity of life’ ethic) which amounts to saying that the children of the poor should be killed.

And he also demonstrates his latent racism given that blacks suffer disproportionately from poverty.

‘In consequentialist and other moral terms, surely a smaller number of children who are likely to have a full span of life is better than a larger number of children most of whom never reach maturity as human beings?’

He now plays the prophet expanding on his ‘quality of life’ ethic theme: in order to have the chance of a full life span, you stupid fascist, they have to be born in the first place. He asserts, without the support of research, that having a large number of children means that such children will not reach maturity as human beings (what else could these children be except human beings?). The question mark makes no grammatical sense: it is calculated to conceal his fascism.

To prove he is a fascist – his final solution:

‘And so we drift on to another aspect of, and justification for, family planning in our modern world.’

What if the gay gene was found? Presumably, being consistent with his fascism, recommend that ‘gay’ babies are killed on the basis that they are likely to have a poor quality of life.

7 July 2011 at 08:29  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Say DanJO

Blacks/Gays/Poor/Disabled/Jews are likely to suffer persecution and in consequence have a poor quality of life (as historical research shows).

Why don’t recommend that they be aborted (killed)?

7 July 2011 at 08:48  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

To quote Mother Theresa: "There's no such thing as an unwanted child. If nobody else wants them, I do".

7 July 2011 at 09:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Witney Town Council are behaving like fascists.

7 July 2011 at 09:06  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Witney Town Council are behaving like fascists.

Since we live in a fascist society Mussolini could recognise that would hardly be surprising.....we have lived in such a society for many decades with its witch-hunts and crises designed to accrue more power to State Organs

7 July 2011 at 10:26  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Marriage is intended to be a life long partnership between a man and a woman in which they help and support one another. It is also intended to produce children and to meet their spiritual, emotional and physical needs.

Pre-marital sex, homosexuality, divorce, contraception and divorce are a continuum - an 'axis of evil'. They reflect and support a hedonistic society that has abandoned morality and turned away from God.

The murder of innocence is the ultimate outcome.

7 July 2011 at 10:36  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Say citizen! You suspect your pregnancy of carrying the ‘gay gene’?

DanJO’s Rapido Termination Center proudly presents its grand opening tonite!

No hurry! No flurry! No mess! No fuss! Just get the bus, Puss!

Service with a smile!

[Contents flushed down lab sink, grinded, recycled, packaged and forwarded on by quick delivery to well known cosmetic’s company: so you can be sure of the source of your make-up honey!]

It began with the Nazis making lampshades out of people’s skins – and ends in the lap of their proud inheritors the Greens, the socialists, the secularists, the liberals, the humanists – the ‘ists’.

7 July 2011 at 10:59  
Anonymous John Thomas said...

"Green Party member Kate Griffin, “talks about advice and counselling, but what it comes down to is anti-abortion propaganda.”" - What I've always thought: Greens are anti-life - a while ago I might have thought this was just my prejudice or misunderstanding; than you, YG, for reporting this (aald remember the oh-so-ethical Coop bank are pro-abortion too).

7 July 2011 at 11:35  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

D Singh, you're playing a sort of politico-religious Michael O'Leary character for a laugh right? Nice one. There's certainly room for satire at times even with the most sensitive subjects.

7 July 2011 at 12:35  
Anonymous Gill said...

I am really saddened by the attitude of Witney town council and cannot begin to understand why these people disallow an anniversary party by a group that offers care to women, the women deserted by their partners on discovery of a pregnancy. Please just look up LIFE's website http://www.lifecharity.org.uk/home/ and discover for yourself the kindness, care and compassion for those betrayed by the very people who should support them. Could it be that there are people on the town council who have done just that and so have uncomfortable consciences?

7 July 2011 at 12:47  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Uncomfortable consciences?

Their consciences have been seared by a hot iron.

7 July 2011 at 12:51  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Avi Barzel @ 06:08 :

Again, an excellent (non-strident) post Sir.

7 July 2011 at 15:40  
Anonymous Paleo said...

"One of the strategic aims in this debate has to be to project the Left (pro-death) as Fascist."

But they are... Pro-death cults are as fascist as is comes. See HG Wells, the M Stopes etc.

7 July 2011 at 16:05  
Anonymous Toby the Jug said...

Oswin said... @Avi Barzel @ 06:08 :

"Again, an excellent (non-strident) post Sir."

It's an apologia for abortion!

Personal responsibility is abandoned in favour of a socio-economic 'explanation'.

What next? A defence of assisted suicide? Understanding for relatives burdened with caring for their old and demanding parents?

This is NOT an issue to fudge.

7 July 2011 at 19:18  
Anonymous Avi Barzel said...

Toby the Jug,

Evidently stats, or even Googling for stats is above your pay grade. Fine, but you really need to work on your language comprehension skills. THAT is an issue you should not fudge on.

7 July 2011 at 20:57  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Avi

The veil slips.

Read my post earlier today and you'll see my objections to your position.

God has ordained we live a certain way - for our own good. Transgress the moral order and social evils follow. Abortion is a moral issue although of it has social roots.

As I said earlier:

"Pre-marital sex, homosexuality, divorce, contraception and divorce are a continuum - an 'axis of evil'. They reflect and support a hedonistic society that has abandoned morality and turned away from God.
The murder of innocence is the ultimate outcome."

8 July 2011 at 01:37  
Anonymous CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI said...

Avi,

Some comments on the 2008 U.S. abortion statistics to which you make reference.

1. Abortion rates for black and Hispanic women are greater than white by a factor of at least 4. This is unsurprising since the abortion organization, Planned Parenthood, in accordance with its eugenic origins, has located a very high proportion of its clinics in minority neighborhoods.


2. The overwhelming majority of women having abortions (85%) were unmarried, reflecting the urgent need to better incentivize marriage and promote abstinence outside thereof. This would also reduce the staggeringly high rates of sexually transmitted diseases (25% in large cities) and the associated costs which are an economic burden for all of us.

3. 42% of women having abortions were "poor", a substantially greater proportion than were poor in 2000 (27%). However, they were far from destitute as indicated by the fact that many had health insurance and were more likely than the earlier cohort to have a college degree. Their classification, which should really be "relatively poor", is a reflection of their status as unmarried, and the breakdown of the traditional family. Married couples tend to do better economically. It is interesting that women obtaining abortions in 2008 were less likely than their counterparts in 2000 to have a religious affiliation.

8 July 2011 at 02:46  
Anonymous CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI said...

Continued:

According to a Guttmacher Institute, 2005 survey

1. 74% claimed that having a baby would interfere with work, school, or other responsibilities, indicating that selfishness rather than poverty is a major contributing factor to the abortion rate.

2. 48% say they do not want to be a single parent, or have relationship problems with husband or partner.

3. Less than 2% say they became pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

According to the Medical Science Monitor, Oct. 2004, 64% of women who experienced one or more abortions “felt pressured by others” to have the abortion. Having spent a lot of the time praying outside of an abortion clinic, I would guess that this figure is an underestimate.

Increased promotion of contraception and sex education has worsened the abortion problem in a number of ways. Firstly, oral contraceptives can themselves function as abortifacients by preventing implantation after fertilization. Secondly, a woman has a roughly 10 percent chance of getting pregnant despite using contraception in any given year. As the number of years increases this probability increases, reaching 1 asymptotically. In fact, the majority of women committing abortion do so after a so called "contraceptive failure". Thirdly, promotion of contraceptives provides a false sense of security, encouraging behaviour and lifestyles which result in unintended pregnancies, abortions and an epidemic of STD's.

.

8 July 2011 at 02:50  
Anonymous Oswin said...

However deeply held an opinion/conviction, the mouth-foaming braying of certain Christians serves only to alienate.

Sometimes the cacophony reminds me of the hysteria, and certainty, of 'animal-rights' activists.

I'm beginning to understand why an increasing number of people look askance, when I mention that I am a Christian.

8 July 2011 at 03:00  
Anonymous CruX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI said...

John Thomas said..."Greens are anti-life"

“the Antichrist presents himself as pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist.” —Cardinal Giacomo Biffi quoting Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov

8 July 2011 at 03:11  
Anonymous Oswin said...

CruX : I don't suppose you meant me, as I'm very much a right-wing hawk, one who would bring back hanging tomorrow, and much else besides.

However, I draw the line at spraying spittle at those who find themselves in dire circumstance, or discover that they are incubating what would amount to a severely deformed/disabled child.

I may be wrong, I do accept that; but I cannot bring myself to condemn them so unfeelingly.

8 July 2011 at 03:33  
Anonymous Oswin said...

You are of course right, inasmuch as the Devil, one imagines, oftentimes wear a sympathetic smile.

As my old Granny you used to say : ''The Devil is a Gentleman, he seldom goes where he has not first been invited''.

8 July 2011 at 03:43  
Anonymous Avi Barzel said...

"Avi...The veil slips...Read my post earlier today and you'll see my objections to your position." (Dodo the Dude, 8July 2011 01:37)



Mr Dodo,

It must be a blast to be you; a world filled with pitfalls, axes of evil with spaghetti-like continua of unmitigated nastiness, to be spiced by an occasional glimpse of whatever it is you imagine behind phantom veils. I'm awed.

I'm also aware of your philosophy, Mr Dodo, as you kindly remind us of it at least once a day, but I fail to understand what position of mine you are objectiong to.

Are you suspicious of or opposed to my suggestions regarding what I think are practical ways to prevent abortions? True, I don't offer grand solutions and social-religious revolutions, and my reasoning is clearly not up to your standards, but the groups and methods I praise and urge support for really do save lives. Thousands of lives, as a matter of fact. Just think; there are living people out there in the world now, people with names, who owe their existence to these groups' efforts. There are mothers and fathers too, whose lives have been forever chaged and who are deeply grateful to have made the right choice.

I hesitate to advise people one way or another, but since you saw it fit to sermonize to me, Mr Dodo, I will take the liberty of at least making a sincere and well-meaning suggestion: Go and actualize your convictions by lending a helping hand. LIFE, which is in your country, seems like a good group to me, or if it doesn't jive with your denominational preferences, or if you think I'm performing an elaborate trick on you, coordinate with your own community, your priest, bishop, pastor, minister, guru or whoever. You'll be surprised how little it actually takes to gather up a few good families to help a young woman to decide on having her child...just one woman, just one child. More often than not it's not just about financial support. It's usually about hearing of other opinions and options, about feeling cared for when exhaustion sets in, being around strong families with children and connecting to and earning a place as respected members of a worthy community.

Granted, all this takes a little more work and may cost a tad more than pontifcating and threatening epic disasters and eternal damnation, but the beauty of it is that it actually works. It really works. I promise you, in all sincerity, Mr Dodo, that there are few things in the world that can bring a grown man as much joy as hearing a little soul who might not have been here but for you, call out "hello, Uncle Dodo!"

8 July 2011 at 04:44  
Anonymous Avi Barzel said...

Mr CruX,

Thank you for digging-up and sharing the stats; they're so much better than mine. Seeing them in one place, so well laid-out by you, reminds me of what an overwhelming, multi-faceted challenge this issue is.

Planned Parenthood's history as a racist, eugenics-motivated program, and its "success" among poor minorities, thanks to its current lucrative arrangements for state subsidies, seems like stuff of pure fiction. Actually, scratch that; if someone had written this one up in a novel, it would require a big doze of "suspension of disbelief."

8 July 2011 at 05:30  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi: "LIFE, which is in your country, seems like a good group to me, or if it doesn't jive with your denominational preferences, [...]"

I think it does jive. It looks very much like a Catholic organisation, albeit a more pragmatic one than usual, flying under the radar to me.

8 July 2011 at 06:59  
Anonymous MrJ said...

CXSPB 03:11: Cardinal Biffi quoting Solovyov.

"Vladimir Solovyov" one and the same as Wladimir Solowjew at 5 July 08:28 (under July 04, Johann Hari...), also Soloviev. His life and writings are of much interest, but why is this philosopher and friend of Dostoevsky so much in fashion among Roman Catholic apologists?

Said to have influenced S.Bulgakov, N.Berdyaev, N.Lossky, the ideas of R.Steiner, and Alexander Blok and Andrei Belyi.

8 July 2011 at 08:57  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Avi

Fundamentally I'm with 'Crux' on this one but do owe you an apology.

If you're advocating a programme to offer alternatives to abortion to women who might otherwise think there are none, then I'm with you whole heartedly for the reasons you give.

However, the 'lesser of two evils' approach, i.e. working to reduce abortions and to change the law to lower the time it is permissible, cannot be allowed to undermine the basic principle that life is sacred and it is not with man to disregard it - period. State and charitable interventions must not contradict this.

"What would Jesus do?" He would be understanding, gentle and loving. He would not condemn. He would ask that people sin no more and leave it to the free will of the individual. He would offer His love and assistance. He wouldn't join the barricades and hurl abuse and threats and wouldn't advocate violent approaches. He would point out His Father's will.

"Thou shalt not murder"

8 July 2011 at 13:43  
Anonymous Gill said...

No, LIFE isn't Catholic - it is open to all who care about the unborn and their mothers. Catholics, among others join it but Catholics also join The National Trust and N.S.P.C.C. but you don't call those organisations Catholic. LIFE would welcome more supporters of all faiths and none so I repeat their website http://www.lifecharity.org.uk/home/
Best wishes to all.

8 July 2011 at 13:46  
Anonymous Avi Barzel said...

Mr DanJ0,

Thanks for the navigational tip. I haven't a horse in this race and I fret about denominational mis-categorizing or inadvertantly showing undue favouritism here. Now there appear to be things flying under my already half-blind radar, although I would venture a guess that rather than being secretive, LIFE is trying to focus on an issue and welcomes all, regardless of who founded it, as I now see that Gill, above, explains. Not that I'm being snooty about your divisions, btw...the number of factions based on a countless number of communities, academies and traditions within a seemingly homogenous Orthodox Judaism alone staggers anyone who first becomes aware of them. And then, of course, there all the other streams with their own particular idiosyncracies.

Mr Dodo,

Thank you; apology not required, but since you have graciously extended yours, I extend mine for an un-brotherly tone and intolerance for which my teachers would rightly chastise me for. This is where having fairly common Hebrew names and skulking about safely...under the radar...in a Christian blog come in handy.

Yes, I do take the "minimalist" approach, the Mother Theresa way if I'm using the analogy properly and without offense, but not because I think it's the only or the best approach, but simply because this "short term," "results-oriented" way works best for me. Philosophically, I focus on the obvious importance of the first commandment by the Almighty to humankind, followed by the specific and deduced principles of the sacredness of the physical body we were given as a gift...actually, loan would be a better description. Those are base principles which I'm glad to see both Christians and Jews share. Over the years and after a few bumps and scrapes, I wisened up enough to surrender my chipped sword and dented shield and to leave the battlefield of deeper and greater matters surrounding such issues to those in my community who are much better learned, far more accomplished and considerably smarter than I. And I'm sure they would all approve of my decision. Wholeheartedly.

8 July 2011 at 15:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Gill: "No, LIFE isn't Catholic - it is open to all who care about the unborn and their mothers. Catholics, among others join it but Catholics also join The National Trust and N.S.P.C.C. but you don't call those organisations Catholic."

Ah, but the National Trust doesn't follow what appears to be a Catholic-flavoured doctrine.

8 July 2011 at 17:17  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Mr.Dodo: the ''lesser of two evils'' approach to ANYTHING would eventually reduce said 'evil' to a narrow confine; it's something of a mathematical concept. If only we would/could employ it universally, the world would be a far better place.

As a general concept it has the added benefit too, of erring towards pragmatism, alongside of all other finer considerations.
Not a bad approach to life, the universe and everything, I feel.

Mr. Avi : As a Jew, you make a damned fine Christian, in my opinion...subject to contract, that is... :o)

DanJo : one of those moments where we agree; although for me, it isn't so much the R.C. element of ''Life'' that bothers me so much, as the uber Protestantism reminiscent of, evinced by, the more lunatic elements of American Puritanism. They scare me.

The R.C. opinion is at least an established line, and well understood by all. Not so the more rabid element, imported from across the pond.

8 July 2011 at 18:01  
Anonymous Avi Barzel said...

Mr Oswin,

Thank you, I'm genuinely honoured by your compliment even if I decline the opportunity. And you would make a very fine fellow Red Sea Pedestrian yourself, I must say, although you would be mad to go that route. There is this part to our contractural procedure, you see, which might smart a little and cause significant others to swoon upon production and display of the physical evidence of the covenant.

8 July 2011 at 18:17  
Anonymous Oswin said...

:o) Avi - done the swooning bit already, having in my youth, suffered a slight (?) altercation with the looped-fringe of a Persian-type carpet - Oy Vey!

(details available via plain wrapper only)

Ok, too much information by far.

8 July 2011 at 18:30  
Anonymous Avi Barzel said...

LOL! Well, a Persian carpet reveals a discerning taste more than, say, a corner store welcome mat would!

8 July 2011 at 18:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"DanJo : one of those moments where we agree; although for me, it isn't so much the R.C. element of ''Life'' that bothers me so much, as the uber Protestantism reminiscent of, evinced by, the more lunatic elements of American Puritanism. They scare me."

Me too. The Catholic Church scares me because it has tasted temporal power in the past and remembers the heady pleasure of it I think. The American Protestantism scares me because of its radicalism and its lack of structural encumberance which would act to temper down the fervour. The whole idea of, say, outraged American religious people with certainty, and possibly guns, praying outside hospitals performing abortions scares me very much.

All that said, I'm all in favour of people sensitively being given all the options and details and facts around adoption, abortion, and so on. The human life in its various stages in the womb *is* valuable and shouldn't be treated lightly in my view despite what I say about the whole thing.

8 July 2011 at 18:58  
Anonymous Avi Barzel said...

With His Grace's permission, a special request from all whose traditions or conscience allows.

A neighbour and a distant relative of ours, a lively and bright boy of 15, fell down a flight of stairs and sustained a very serious head injury, with heavy and probably irreparable damage to the brain stem. His name is JULIUS CLARKE, and he is on life support at the Childrens' Hospital, here in Toronto. He is in a full coma and his prognosis is not good at all. His parents and his close relatives are not religious people and don't know any religious folk apart from me and my family. In their agony and desperation, they asked us to beg for prayers of healing from as many people as we can find. Julius was born into Episcopalian (American Anglican) and Catholic families and may have a Jewish connection from a few generations back. Regardless of his background I will, of course, recite the traditional prayer for the sick, the refuah shlema and will ask friends in my congregation to do so as well. I would appreciate prayers from any Christian friends here as well, regardless of denomination.

For any fellow Yids here who don't have the refuah shlema handy:

Mi-sheberakh avoteinu v'imoteinu, Avraham v'Sarah, Yitzhak, v'Rivkah, Ya'akov, Rakhel v'Leah hu y'varekh et YULIUS [Hebrew name unknown] v'yavi aleihem refuat hanefesh u'refuat haguf yakhad im kol kholei amo Yisrael. Barukh atah Adonai, rofeh ha'kholim.

In English: May the One who was a source of blessing for our ancestors, bring blessings of healing upon a young man, JULIUS CLARKE, a healing of body and a healing of spirit. May those in whose care they are entrusted, be gifted with wisdom and skill, and those who surround them, be gifted with love and trust, openness and support in their care. And may they be healed along with all those who are in need. Blessed are You Almighty, Source of Healing. Amen.

Thank you all and a good weekend.

8 July 2011 at 23:58  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Prayers sent from the soggy, boggy wastes of Northumberland.

9 July 2011 at 01:46  
Anonymous CRuX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI said...

Oswin said...
CruX : I don't suppose you meant me, as I'm very much a right-wing hawk, one who would bring back hanging tomorrow, and much else besides.

Absolutely not. I have a certain antipathy towards fanatical "greens" with their warmist hysteria and associated plans for a new world order..

9 July 2011 at 12:30  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi Barzel, I'm very sorry to hear about your relation / neighbour. :( Fingers crossed, which is all I can do I'm afraid, that the prognosis is much better than expected.

9 July 2011 at 13:23  
Anonymous CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI said...

Avi Barzel said...Mr CruX, Thank you for digging-up and sharing the stats...

Your very welcome. Since you are from Canada you might also be interested in the article
from Lifestienews

Statistics Canada’s “Scandalous” Failure to Report Accurate Abortion Numbers It claims that the Canadian government's statistics agency may in fact be manipulating the numbers to hide the true state of abortion in Canada. Certainly, Canada is in serious demographic decline. One Canadian prolifer, Linda Gibbons, has spent more than ten years in Canadian prisons for peacefully protesting against abortion.

I will, pray for your relative.

9 July 2011 at 14:24  
Anonymous Oswin said...

DanJo @ 13:23 : if I may ask, leaving aside the the sad case in question, if you have ever prayed, as an adult?

Allowing your beliefs, or rather, your lack of belief in a Divine Being, might you not concede that 'prayer' itself, performs some metaphysical/'spiritual' requirement for us humans?

Even allowing, as some say: that if there were no God, man would have to invent such a being, for his own mental-salvation/peace-of-mind/development/whatever, that you are acting counter-intuitively to your own human needs?

That being so, why not give prayer a chance? I'm really NOT trying to convert you to anything other than the possibility that 'prayer' might prove beneficial to you.

Asking questions of yourself, sending-out/adding your well-wishes to the 'collective unconscious' as it were, might prove a revelation for you.

Rather than offering what you might consider 'acceptable alternatives', why not give it a try?

Even if you disbelieve in a Divine Entity, you can at least conceive of such a 'possiblity' - be still, be calm, allow the possibility; give yourself the chance, what harm can it do?

After all, much/some of what you do here, is an attempt to reach-out, yes? I'm mean, you aren't such a reactionary that you cannot give something a 'go' are you? You don't have to tell anyone, it's just between you and a possibility...regardless, just open your heart and mind, and quietly let soar.

9 July 2011 at 16:48  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"DanJo @ 13:23 : if I may ask, leaving aside the the sad case in question, if you have ever prayed, as an adult?"

Yes. I have talked about it in the past here, in particular following a recommended book Mr God This is Anna by Fynn. I have had a long history checking the various religions out.

When I say that crossed fingers (although I'm not superstitious either) is all I can offer, I meant in some universal, spiritual sense.

I'm sure speaking to a non-answering Other, be it one's idea of a god, one's dead mother, an invisible friend, or whatever, is personally useful at times.

9 July 2011 at 17:00  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I'm trying hard not to be patronised by that, btw.

9 July 2011 at 17:04  
Anonymous Oswin said...

My sincere apologies, I had not intended any such thing. I was being quite sincere.

9 July 2011 at 17:35  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Yes, I assumed you were. It's okay. I think people tend to assume atheists have ostrich-like tendencies towards spirituality. We're not all fingers-in-the-ears-la-la-la-can't-hear people.

I have a CofE upbringing and attended Sunday school for a while even though my parents weren't particularly religious. I have given it a reasonable shot to make sure it wasn't me. Most of my immediate family have died, some of cancer quite horribly, and I remain atheist.

I've been through an indoctrination attempt by the JWs. I love visiting churches all over Europe and have lit candles in many Catholic churches. I've even been in Buddhist temples in the Himalayas with a Buddhist Westerner.

9 July 2011 at 21:04  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Interesting, but I only suggested prayer.

9 July 2011 at 22:13  
Anonymous Avi Barzel said...

Thank you folks, thank you for your prayers...and your thoughts and crossed fingers, DanJ0; I didn't mean to exclude agnostics or atheists.

Just logged in and checked messages after after our Sabbath's end and found out that the boy, Julius, may survive and that there was some movement in the limbs. We didn't go by the house today, as we knew the parents were back for the first time after three days at the hospital, but tomorrow we'll be having all of the family's kids and their friends over, so that the parents can rest.

Again, thank you everyone. At shul earlier today I learned that the entire neighbourhood seems to know about poor Julius's condition. I'm sure that's the case in the neighbourhood churches as well, since we live in a mixed Anglo, Jewish and Italian area. I will certainly tell the parents that there's folks out in far-away, "soggy and boggy" England, who send their prayers and thoughts.

CRUX: Interesting that the cat's out of the bag on the hidden stats. It's inconceivable that the the Canadian government wouldn't have numbers, since abortion clinics are state-funded and patients are covered by health insurance in all provinces. There has been general avoidance of the issue by previous governments, but with our recently elected Conservative government, I expect there will some attention.

Re the Faith Thing: To plop my two cents in on the subject of prayers, belief and lack thereof, as a former atheist raised in a secular family, lack of religion is still normative to me. My observance and faith do not come naturally to me and I must admit to a lack of comfortable certainty I see in many of my friends.

For a long, long time, I felt that my devotions were hollow, insincere and ineffective. As almost all Jewish prayer is on behalf of the community or the great big world, looking around at my colleagues in prayer when in the men's section of our synagogue's sanctuary, I felt like a sneaky impostor who's not pulling his weight; kind of like an oarsman on a galley only pretending to be pulling the oar. But since I recently departed from the world of offices and computers and to the suprise of family and colleagues took up long distance driving, I've become uncharacteristically scrupulous about and outright clingy to my beliefs and observances. Keeping the Sabbath, the daily prayer cycle and staying kosher in the hinterland isn't easy logistically and yet, I plow on with unusual enthusiasm and considerable amount of feeling. All my religious actions and duties feel so much more genuine and meaningful, more so than in the synagogue or on the High Holydays. At first I used to feel guilty for using my religion as an obvious mental crutch, until a friend and a rabbi reminded me that there can be no bad reason for needing to cling to the Almighty...only in becoming sloppy and mechanical when things are normal, comfy and easy. Ah-ha. And so goes my battle.

10 July 2011 at 06:21  
Anonymous Avi Barzel said...

Update: My sister in law, who with her husband came up from Virginia to help out, reports from the hospital that this morning Julius wiggled his toes in response to a request to indicate if he can hear and understand. No word yet about what the doctors think, but my sister in law, a specialist who has worked with the severely disabled, is cautiously, very cautiously optimistic.

My wife who was at the house earlier today says that she told the family about all the prayers and thoughts going their way, from relatives all over the world, strangers in the neighbourhood, and apecifically, from you folks in the UK and send their thanks.

10 July 2011 at 17:47  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I know that there are terrible things going on in the world at the moment, such as the famine in Sudan and Ethiopia, but it's nice to focus attention and hope on specific individuals at times even if we don't know them rather than let the whole lot get one down. I really, really hope things turn out well for Julius there.

10 July 2011 at 18:47  
Anonymous Avi Barzel said...

Update: Just got a call from my brother in law. Lean on details so far, but potentially very good news. They will be taking out Julius's breathing tube out later this afternoon (we're 5 hours behind the UK here, btw)and the family is heading down to the hospital. Whatever everyone out there's doing folks...crank-up the RPMs! And thanks very much.

10 July 2011 at 19:58  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Avi : any improvement, no matter how small, is at least heading in the right direction. Let's hope, pray and keep our fingers crossed, that it continues.

You're not alone mate, as regards prayer; I have a problem praying beyond the specific. As much as I wished it otherwise, I cannot get my head around praying for generalities.

I suppose it's a bit like your argument for 'helping' where we can, bit by bit even; where we find that we can help, we should etc.

However, the greater questions, the 'bigger picture' seems to allude us; at least, it alludes me. It is then, that I feel guilty, for having used God as a personal talisman.

Hey, perhaps it's best to just 'carry on trucking' eh?

10 July 2011 at 20:05  
Anonymous Avi Barzel said...

Oswin, when I first "got religion" and moved into the modern Orthodox sphere, I balked at the requirement to pray three times daily, at specific times and with specific prayers. Eventhough personal, specific and spontaneous prayer in any language is always encouraged, I still thought the requirements were a bit formal and ritualistic. I have come to realize though that a fixed routine of prayers accomplishes several things. First, no matter how you feel at a particular time, the requirement to pray, preferably with others, results in learning and praing more, in group solidarity, in providing windows of tranquility in a hectic day, and increasing the chance of attaining that special, ineffable moment of feeling a connection with the Almighty.

10 July 2011 at 21:39  
Anonymous Avi Barzel said...

Dare I feel optimistic? A text from my siter in law at the hospital:

Thanks for taking ch today. Julius' breathing tube is out and he is breathing a responding to simp directions. Therapies start very soon forthepath to rehab

10 July 2011 at 23:31  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Oswin said...
"Mr.Dodo: the ''lesser of two evils'' approach to ANYTHING would eventually reduce said 'evil' to a narrow confine; it's something of a mathematical concept. If only we would/could employ it universally, the world would be a far better place."

Tricky morality Oswin. If you believe in God and His revelation there are moral imperatives to follow come what may.

11 July 2011 at 00:35  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Dodo - I believe in God, but I don't think those supposedly acting upon ''moral imperatives'' are doing a fat lot of good; within the 'bigger picture', that is.

Perhaps a spot of mathematics might have taken us closer to God's revelation?

As far as I able to discern, the whole world seems to operate from a ''tricky morality'' - I'd be willing to give elementary arithmetics a chance too.

God, as the 'Grand Designer' might feel we were getting somewhere eh?

Avi: yes, your point is singularly valid. Thank you.

Your news of Julius is encouraging.

11 July 2011 at 16:08  

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