Peter Baklinski

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Polygamy ruling revisited: Judge takes swipe at ‘alarmist’ views of gay ‘marriage’ opponents

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, November 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While true marriage advocates are celebrating a recent decision upholding Canada’s 121-year-old ban on polygamy, they are less thrilled by the fact that in his decision the judge in the case took a swipe at what he called the “alarmist view” that the legalization of homosexual ‘marriage’ would lead to the legitimization of polygamy.

True-marriage advocates have long maintained that Canada’s 2005 redefinition of marriage to include homosexual couples would pave the way for any kind of sexual union to be legally called marriage, including polygamy.

But Chief Justice Robert Bauman criticized this view for “miss[ing] the whole point.” “Committed same-sex relationships celebrate all of the values we seek to preserve and advance in monogamous marriage,” he said, adding that the “doctrinal underpinnings of monogamous same-sex marriage are indistinguishable from those of heterosexual marriage.”

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But Dave Quist, Executive Director of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, told LifeSiteNews that he disagrees with the judge’s logic, saying that he is not “familiar with any social science research” that would back up the assertion that gay “marriage” and true marriage are essentially the same.

“To say that they are the same or to say that there are no difference between them is not looking at all the research,” he said, pointing out that procreation is a major difference that lies at the heart of the distinction between the two.  “The best outcomes [for society, and for the children] are clearly from heterosexual monogamous relationships.”

Quist argued that the ‘slippery slope’ that led to the case challenging Canada’s laws against polygamy can be traced as far back to the country’s changing of the divorce laws in 1968, which “opened the door” for changing how people view marriage.

Since then, he said, divorce has increased, common law marriage has been accepted as the same as marriage under the law for taxation purposes, same-sex “marriage” has been legalized, and finally, Ontario courts have ruled that a child may have more than two legal parents.

But despite his disagreements with the judge, Quist called last Wednesday’s ruling “obviously positive,” adding that the judge “did say good things about marriage and the need to keep it monogamous.”

Justice Bauman had argued that there is “considerable evidence” that polygamy causes a “range of harms” to all those involved and that it harms society. According to Bauman the case is “essentially about harm,” since the individual’s rights do not trump the right of the state to criminalize a “harmful practice.”

Among the many harms cited by Bauman in his decision was that in polygamous relationships women face “higher rates of domestic violence and abuse, including sexual abuse,” and are more likely to die in childbirth and live shorter lives than their monogamous counterparts. Children in polygamous families also face higher infant mortality, and “suffer more emotional, behavioural and physical problems, as well as lower educational achievement than children in monogamous families.”

Evidence presented to the court also showed that polygamy creates a “sex ratio imbalance” where “young men are forced out of polygamous communities to sustain the ability of senior men to accumulate more wives.” Such young men, called the “lost boys,” were generally found to be poor, uneducated, and statistically predisposed to “violence and other anti-social behaviour.”

The judge said that the solution to these, and other harms, was for the law to “advance the institution of monogamous marriage” which it sees as a “fundamental value in Western society.”

Bauman argued that the rights to privacy and family life, to freedom of religion, and to enjoy one’s culture do not “limit the state’s ability to criminalize polygamy.” On the contrary, the state has “targeted polygamy because of the physical, psychological and social harms perceived to be associated with the practice.”

Quist pointed out, however, that the judge’s verdict is not necessarily the final decision.

Brian Samuels, an attorney representing Stop Polygamy in Canada, a group who participated in the BC proceedings as “interested persons,” told his clients in an open letter that it would be a “likely event” for the case to be appealed.

Samuels mentioned, however, that the “findings of fact” contained in the judge’s ruling would not be appealable. “These findings include substantial evidence of the harms caused by polygamy, as well as the finding that there was no religious motivation to the enactment of the criminal code provision that makes polygamy illegal.”

There are two possible ways to make an appeal, through the B.C. court of appeal or the Supreme Court of Canada. The time limit for appealing the judge’s ruling upholding the ban against polygamy is 30 days, or by December 23.


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

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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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