Peter Baklinski

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Christian Group arrested while spreading Christmas cheer at Calgary City Hall

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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CALGARY, Alberta, December 22, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Members of a Christian group in Calgary were disrupted from Christmas caroling and reading the Bible in the City Hall’s atrium after police and security officials arrested a number of them, charging them with trespassing.

City officials say that the group had been warned when they held a similar event previously that they must apply for a permit to hold an organized event in City Hall’s atrium.

“They failed to apply and the police were notified after last week’s event,” said Owen Key, the city’s manager of corporate security to the Calgary Herald. “They repeated that today, again not submitting an application through the approved process, choosing to hold this service again in the atrium.”

However, Christian Pastor Artur Pawlowski told LSN that he would like to “follow all the rules and do the permits, but in the permit process there is stuff that is simply unconstitutional” adding that he and his group will not “sign a document that is breaking the law.”

Pawlowski pointed to the liability clause in the permit application process that he says requires everyone who gathers at the City Hall to have insurance. He thinks that this amounts to prohibiting the public from exercising their rights. 

Describing his arrest, Pawlowski said: “I was approached by corporate security and was told that what we are doing here was illegal, that we were breaking a bylaw. I asked which bylaw? They refused to tell me which bylaw, probably because there is no such bylaw.”

On Tuesday, Pawlowski along with about 30 Christmas merry-makers entered the City Hall about noon during the lunch hour. “We brought Bibles, we brought a guitar and a bongo drum, so that with the rest of citizens, we would remind ourselves that this time of the year has been used for hundreds of years as a time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ,” wrote Pawlowski on his blog.

The group of Christians, known as Street Church Ministries, maintain that their appearance was in response to the invitation of Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who said during the Three Things for Calgary launch on October 21st that “City Hall Atrium is Calgary’s living room.”

“I always call it that, and we need to make it open for people to be able to use in a more thoughtful way,” said the mayor at that time.

Pawlowski recounted that after preaching 15 minutes worth of the Christian message and singing their first hymn, members of the group were seized by about 10 police officers and 4 to 5 security personal and escorted out of the building.

Some members of the group, including Pawlowski, decided to bring the situation immediately to the mayor’s attention.

“We decided that the top man that runs this city should be made aware of this matter and that he should have a word with City Hall’s Corporate Security team. There seems to be a big misunderstanding in this city about what citizens rights truly are. Who best to clear this matter up than the very man that gave the invitation,” wrote Pawlowski on his blog.

As they approached the mayor’s office, security guards allegedly locked the mayor’s office door and told the Christian group that the mayor was not available. After refusing to leave the building as they waited for the mayor to become available, the group of 6 were arrested.

“One lady was handcuffed so tightly that she had tears in her eyes. She was saying to them, ‘why are you doing this so hard? There is no need for this. Please loosen them up a little bit.’ But they did not listen to her,” said Pawlowski, adding that there was “no need for such roughness.”

In the end, six members of the group were arrested and the rest were given trespassing notices. One young man who was arrested was allegedly taken into a police car, driven to the outskirts of the city, and left to find his own way home.

Pawlowski said that the police did not take him and his arrested companions to the waiting paddy wagon, but made them walk handcuffed through the LRT station to the police station.

Pawlowski, who lived under Communist rule as a child in Poland said that the actions of the police and security personal reminded him of threat tactics used by the nazis and communists to intimidate and embarrass people.

“Can you imagine being handcuffed like a criminal, taken to the LRT station with hundreds of people watching you?” he said.

The church members were each fined $287 with a note explaining that each “failed to leave land when directed.” Each was released with a summons to appear in court.

“At the end of the day,” wrote Pawlowski on his blog “if we do not push against this sick agenda of political correctness and this open silencing of people’s beliefs and convictions, as in the past generations, we will face ungodly rulers that will simply create a dictatorship out of our once free land.”

Contact Mayor Naheed Nenshi
Ph: (403) 268-5622
E-mail: themayor@calgary.ca
Use electronic contact form here.

Snail Mail:
Office of the Mayor, The City of Calgary
P.O. Box 2100, Station M
Calgary, AB, T2P 2M5


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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

African researchers warn early sexual activity increases risk of cancers

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

A report on rising cancer rates in Africa delivered at a conference in Namibia last week warned that oral contraceptives and engaging in sexual activity from a young age lead to an increased risk of breast and reproductive system cancers.

Researchers presented the "2014 Integrated Africa Cancer Fact Sheet & Summary Score Card" during the 8th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa (SCCA) conference, held in Windhoek, Namibia from July 20 to 22, noted that cancer is a growing health problem in many developing countries and that breast and cervical cancer are the most common forms affecting African women.

The report said that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) play a major role in reproductive system cancers and that young girls who engage in sexual activity risk getting, among other STDs, the human papilloma virus (HPV), some strains of which are linked to cervical cancer.

The report said although HPV infections are common in healthy women, they are usually fought off by the body’s immune system, with no discernible symptoms or health consequences.

The Cancer Association of South Africa points out that of the scores of HPV types, 14 of the more than 40 sexually transmitted varieties are considered "high risk" for causing serious illness, while two, HPV-16 and HPV-18, are linked to cervical cancer.

“Long-term use of oral contraceptives is also associated with increased risk [of cancer], and women living with HIV-AIDS are at increased risk of cervical cancer,” the report said.

Dr. Thandeka Mazibuko, a South African oncologist, told the conference attendees that when an 18-year-old is diagnosed with cervical cancer, “this means sex is an important activity in her life and she indulged from a young age.”

Mazibuko said the standard treatment for cancer of the cervix is seven weeks of radiation therapy.

“After the treatment they cannot have sex with their husbands or partners. They cannot bear children because everything has been closed up. Some may still have the womb but radiation makes them infertile,” Mazibuko said, according to a report in The Namibian.

Statistics from the Cancer Association of Namibia show that cases of cervical cancer have risen from 129 in 2005 to 266 in 2012.

The SCCA Conference theme was, "Moving forward to end Cervical Cancer by 2030: Universal Access to Cervical Cancer Prevention."

In his keynote address, host and Namibian President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba urged African countries to help each other to expand and modernize health care delivery in the continent.

"Within the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and sustainable development goals, the provision of adequate health care to African women and children must be re-emphasized," said the president, according to AllAfrica.

The Namibian leader urged mothers to breastfeed their children for at least six months as a measure to prevent breast cancer.


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Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Allow ‘lethal injection’ for poor to save on palliative care: Lithuanian health minister

Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary
By Hilary White

Euthanasia is a solution for terminally ill poor people who cannot afford palliative care and who do not want to “see their families agonize” over their suffering, Lithuania’s health minister said last week.

In an interview on national television, Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė added that the Belgian law on child euthanasia ought to be “taken into account” as well. 

Šalaševičiūtė told TV3 News that Lithuania, a country whose population is 77 percent Catholic, is not a welfare state and cannot guarantee quality palliative care for all those in need of it. The solution, therefore, would be “lethal injection.”

“It is time to think through euthanasia in these patients and allow them to make a decision: to live or die,” she said.

Direct euthanasia remains illegal in the Balkan state, but activists tried to bring it to the table in 2012. A motion to drop the planned bill was passed in the Parliament in March that year in a vote of 75 to 14. Since then the country has undergone a change in government in which the far-left Social Democrats have formed the largest voting bloc.

Šalaševičiūtė is a member of Parliament for the Social Democrats, the party originally established in the late 19th century – re-formed in the late 1980s – from Marxist principles and now affiliated with the international Party of European Socialists and Socialist International.

Fr. Andrius Narbekovas, a prominent priest, lecturer, physician, bioethicist, and member of the government’s bioethics committee, called the suggestion “satanic,” according to Delfi.lt. He issued a statement saying it is the purpose of the Ministry of Health to “protect the health and life, instead of looking for ways to take away life.”

“We understand that people who are sick are in need of funds. But a society that declares itself democratic, should very clearly understand that we have to take care of the sick, not kill them,” he said.


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Islamists in Mosul mark Christian homes with an Arabic "N" for Nazarene.
Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.

We must open wide our doors to Iraq’s Christians

Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.
By Gualberto Garcia Jones J.D.

On July 18, the largest Christian community in Iraq, the Chaldean Catholics of Mosul, were given a grotesque ultimatum: leave your ancestral home, convert to Islam, or die.

All but forgotten by the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world, these last Christians who still speak Jesus’ native tongue of Aramaic and live in the land of Abraham and Jonah are being wiped out before our very eyes.

As a way of issuing a thinly-veiled threat, reminiscent of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the Arabic letter “N” (for Nazarean) has been painted on the outside of the homes of all known Christians in Mosul.

These threats, issued by the fanatical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) known for its bloodthirsty rampage of executions, have been taken very seriously by the several hundred thousand Christians in Mosul who have left with little more than the clothes they were wearing. 

At least most of these Christians were able to flee and find temporary protection among the Kurds in their semi-autonomous region.  However the Kurds do not have the resources to defend or shelter the Chaldean Christians for much longer.

On Monday, during an interview on Fox News, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, who recently joined with 54 other members of the House of Representatives in a letter to President Obama asking him to act to protect these communities, stated that while Iraqi President Maliki had sent military flights to Mosul to evacuate Shiite Muslims, the US has done nothing to protect the Chaldean Christians.  Rep. Wolf also stated emphatically that President Obama has done “almost nothing” about the genocide taking place.

The silence from the White House is deafening.  But the lack of leadership from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America has been shocking as well.

Nevertheless, the plight of these Iraqi Christians is beginning to be taken seriously.   This is due in large part to the heroic efforts of local Iraqi religious leaders like Chaldean Patriarch Sako, who has gone on a whirlwind tour of the world to alert us all of the plight of these Iraqi Christians.  In a statement demonstrating his character, he told the Christians of Iraq last week, “We are your shepherds, and with our full responsibility towards you we will stay with you to the end, will not leave you, whatever the sacrifices.”

Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was launched there were approximately 1.5 to 2 million Christians living in Iraq.  Today, there are believed to be less than 200,000.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Now that the world is beginning to be aware of the genocide in Northern Iraq, many of us ask ourselves: what can we do?  As citizens and as Christians blessed to live in nations with relative peace and security, what can we do?

The answer is quite simple and unexpected.  Demand that our government and church pull its head out of the sand and follow France. Yes, France.  

Yesterday, in a heroic gesture of Christian solidarity that would make Joan of Arc proud, the government of France opened wide its doors to the persecuted Iraqi Christians.  

”France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness," Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister, said in a joint statement on Monday.

"The ultimatum given to these communities in Mosul by ISIS is the latest tragic example of the terrible threat that jihadist groups in Iraq, but also in Syria and elsewhere, pose to these populations that are historically an integral part of this region," they added. "We are ready, if they wish, to facilitate their asylum on our soil.  We are in constant contact with local and national authorities to ensure everything is done to protect them.”

The French statement drives home three crucial elements that every government, especially the United States, should communicate immediately:

  1. Recognize the genocide and name the perpetrators and victims.

  2. Officially condemn what is happening in the strongest terms.

  3. Offer a solution that includes cooperation with local authorities but which leads by making solid commitments such as offering asylum or other forms of protection.

With regard to the Church, we should look to the Chaldean Patriarch and the Iraqi bishops who shared their expectations explicitly in an open letter to “all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world” to take “practical actions to assure our people, not merely expressions of condemnation.”  Noticeably, the last section of the letter from the Iraqi bishops, before a final prayer to God, is an expression of thanks to the Kurdish government, which has welcomed them not just with “expressions” of goodwill but, like France, with a sacrificial hospitality.

On Friday, July 25, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops did issue a statement, but unfortunately it lacked much in terms of leadership or solutions.  We should encourage our bishops to do better than that, be bolder and stronger for our persecuted brothers and sisters, name names and offer concrete sacrificial aid. In a word, be more like the French.

In 1553, Rome welcomed the Chaldean church into the fold of the Catholic Church.  Nearly 500 years later, Catholic Americans must find ways to welcome these persecuted people into our country, into our churches, and into our own homes if need be.

I say, I am with you St. Joan of Arc.   I am with you, France.  I am with you, Chaldeans!

Gualberto Garcia Jones is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, that seeks to advance the fundamental rights to life, the natural family, and religious liberty through international law and international relations. 


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