Fr. Peter West

, , ,

Recognizing population control in Ethiopia

Fr. Peter West
By Fr. Peter West
Image
Image
Image
Image

February 22, 2013, (HLI World Watch) - The African nation of Ethiopia has a Christian history which dates back to the New Testament, even before Saul’s conversion. In the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that Philip baptized an Ethiopian eunuch who was a member of the court of Queen Candace. Happily, Ethiopia has not abandoned its ancient roots in the faith: about 63% of Ethiopians are Christians, the majority of whom belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Ethiopia has a population of over 84 million, which makes the Eastern African nation the 14th largest country in the world. By way of contrast, the State of California has a population of just over 38 million people. But Ethiopia has plenty of room: they have a population density of 79 people per square kilometer, compared to 260 people per square kilometer in the much richer United Kingdom. This fact is often overlooked by those who look at Africa and see only too many people, and view babies as obstacles to “progress.”

With the 13th highest fertility rate in the world, Ethiopians have an average of 5.39 children per woman, making the nation a prime target of Western population controllers.

On the Need to Defend Pro-Life Culture

When I traveled to Ethiopia this past December I spoke with bishops, students and pro-life leaders who, while dedicated to defending life, were surprised just how far reaching and organized the population control agenda had become in Africa. For many it was a wakeup call that a renewed and refocused pro-life movement is needed in Ethiopia.

As in dozens of other countries in Africa and around the world, Human Life International (HLI) uses its limited resources to support the local pro-life mission in Ethiopia. In many African countries, HLI is the only organization providing valuable pro-life training and resources. Father Aloysius Mugisha, AJ (a priest of the order of Apostles of Jesus), is HLI’s country director in Ethiopia, and was my generous host. He is a native Ugandan, but has come to know and love Ethiopia and her people. He speaks the native Amharic language fluently, and helped to make sure people understood the very serious situation I described in my presentations and conversations.

During my first full day in Ethiopia, I offered Mass for 30 leaders of Ethiopia for Life, a dynamic group of students from various universities in the capital of Addis Ababa. In my homily, I reflected on the life of St. Leo the Great, who saved Rome from a barbarian invasion in 452 A.D.

As in St. Leo’s day, there is a vicious type of barbarism that we find today – attacks on the most vulnerable human life. The new barbarians, however, are very sophisticated, and claim not to be bound by the moral restrictions of the past. Since population control fell out of favor decades ago, they now wage the same war against the people of developing nations with the falsely inspiring language of “reproductive justice,” “maternal health,” and “safe motherhood.” Yet their methods are exactly the same: abortion, contraception, euthanasia, basically any means of eliminating the “unwanted.”

 Germanso thought of themselves as very sophisticated. Before World War II, their society was the most literate in the world. But even before the Nazis came to power, these “sophisticated” barbarians were euthanizing mental patients and others with various imperfections. Their aim was to create a master race, and some of the most eminent scientists were involved.

This was also the aim of Margaret Sanger, the founder of the organization now known as Planned Parenthood, to create “a race of thoroughbreds.” Marie Stopes, a friend and colleague of Sanger, also was a racist and eugenicist. She founded the Society for Constructive Birth and Racial Progress, which eventually became the eponymous organization that is most active in Africa today.

Click "like" if you want to end abortion!

I asked the students to pray to Pope St. Leo the Great and ask him to help us overcome this new barbarism, that we might create a culture in which life is respected at every stage, and to preserve the faith. Right action follows from right belief. The false philosophies of the 19th century led to the atrocities of the 20th, as well as to the lack of respect for human life that we see today.

Spreading the Word

After Mass, I gave a presentation to the students on the population control agenda. Bishop Lisane-Christos Matheos Semahun, Auxiliary Bishop of Addis Ababa, also attended. They were alarmed to hear that Ethiopia was one of the 13 countries targeted by the United States for population control since the 1970s. On December 10, 1974, the United States National Security Council promulgated a top secret document entitled National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM-200), also called The Kissinger Report. It was subtitled “Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests.” Declassified in 1989, the document laid out a detailed strategy by which the United States would aggressively promote population control in developing nations in order to regulate (or have better access to) the natural resources of these countries.

The document stated “The U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries. That fact gives the U.S. enhanced interest in the political, economic, and social stability of the supplying countries.” Ethiopia was one of 13 nations named that would be primary targets of U.S.-funded population control efforts. Other countries named were India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand, Egypt, Turkey, Ethiopia and Colombia.

According to NSSM-200, elements of the implementation of population control programs could include: a) the legalization of abortion; b) financial incentives for countries to increase their abortion, sterilization and contraception-use rates; c) indoctrination of children; and d) mandatory population control, and coercion of other forms, such as withholding disaster and food aid unless an LDC implements population control programs.

You might ask why a policy adopted during the Nixon administration is relevant today, especially since it is unlikely that most of today’s bureaucrats and population control advocates even know of its existence. It is relevant because the assumptions and recommendations of this troubling document are now those of the international development industry, which is funded by governments of wealthy nations and Western multi-billion dollar foundations. A policy that was classified due to the very reasonable assumption by its authors that there would be an uproar if it was know that the most powerful government in the world saw the people of developing nations as obstacles to its own flourishing, is now the basic framework of the international development industry, and its strategies and tactics are now considered “best practices,” just as the language used in their implementation is now “pro-woman” rather than “population control.”

Our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia and other developing nations deserve to know that those bearing gifts from wealthy nations have an agenda. There are often strings attached to the huge financial grants dangled in front of the leaders of these nations, and these strings will ultimately tie down, and not empower, Africans.

A Strong Clergy can Make a Difference

Bishop Semahun was so alarmed at the array of forces seeking to limit the population of Ethiopia he pledged to focus the rest of his Episcopal ministry on the defense of human life and the family. Thankfully, the Archbishop of Addis Ababa, Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, C.M., has also been very supportive of the pro-life ministry in Ethiopia. The support of the Catholic Church in Africa is essential in responding to the threats of population control and the anti-life agenda.

While pro-life leaders, including many Catholic clergy, are well aware of the great evils posed by the Culture of Death, it’s hardly possible for any one person or one group to confront and defeat them all. The pro-life movement in Africa is growing, but supporters of their efforts don’t have the billions of dollars spent every year to suppress the Gospel of Life and undermine Africa’s traditionally life-loving culture.

As we go through our daily activities, we should be mindful and keep in prayer the students of Ethiopia for Life, as well as Father Aloysius, Ethiopia’s bishops, and all those working diligently to strengthen a Culture of Life in nations that still value children. May they have the courage of St. Leo to stand against the forces of evil in our day.

Father Peter West is the vice president for missions at Human Life International.

Reprinted with permission from HLI World Watch.


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." Shutterstock
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

‘Sick and twisted’: Down’s advocates, pro-life leaders slam Richard Dawkins’ abortion remarks

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

Advocates on behalf of individuals with Down syndrome, as well as pro-life leaders, are slamming famed atheist Richard Dawkins’ statements made on Twitter earlier today that parents have a moral responsibility to abort babies diagnosed in utero with Down’s.

During a shocking Twitter rant, Dawkins responded to questioners saying that it was "civilised" to abort Down Syndrome babies, and that it would be "immoral" to choose not to abort babies diagnosed with the condition.

He said that his goal is to "reduce suffering wherever you can," indicating that unborn children cannot suffer, and that unborn children don't "have human feelings."

In addition to being scientifically challenged - unborn children can feel both pain and emotions - Dawkins' comments drew criticism for his callousness towards children with disabilities.  

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus"

"It's sick and twisted for anyone to advocate for the killing of children with disabilities," Live Action President Lila Rose told LifeSiteNews. "Dawkins's ignorant comments serve only to further stigmatize people with Down syndrome.

"While many people with Down syndrome, their families, and advocacy groups are fighting discrimination on a daily basis, Dawkins calls for their murder before they are even born," she said. "Those with Down syndrome are human beings, with innate human dignity, and they, along with the whole human family, deserve our respect and protection."

Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down's Syndrome Association, told MailOnline that, contrary to Dawkins’ assertion, "People with Down’s syndrome can and do live full and rewarding lives, they also make a valuable contribution to our society."

A spokesperson for the UK disabilities charity Scope lamented that during the "difficult and confusing time" when parents find out they are expecting a child with disabilities, they often experience "negative attitudes."

"What parents really need at this time is sensitive and thorough advice and information," the spokesperson said.

Charlotte Lozier Institute president Chuck Donovan agreed with Rose’s assessment. "Advocates of abortion for those 'weaker' than others, or of less physical or intellectual dexterity, should remember that each of us is 'lesser' in some or most respects," he said.

According to Donovan, "we deliver a death sentence on all of humanity by such cruel logic."

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus" he said.

One family who has a child with Down syndrome said Dawkins was far from the mark when he suggested that aborting babies with Down syndrome is a good way to eliminate suffering.

Jan Lucas, whose son Kevin has Down syndrome, said that far from suffering, Kevin has brought enormous joy to the family, and "is so loving. He just has a million hugs."

She described how Kevin was asked to be an honorary deacon at the church they attend in New Jersey, "because he is so encouraging to everyone. At church, he asks people how their families are, says he'll pray for them, and follows up to let them know that he has been praying for them."

It's not just strangers for whom Kevin prays. "My husband and I were separated for a time, and Kevin kept asking people to pray for his dad," said Jan. "They didn't believe that Kevin's prayers would be answered. Kevin didn't lose hope, and asking people, and our marriage now is better than ever before. We attribute it to Kevin's prayers, and how he drew on the prayers of everyone."

"I don't know what we'd do without him," said Jan.

Speaking with LifeSiteNews, Kevin said that his favorite things to do are "spending time with my family, and keeping God in prayer." He said that he "always knows God," which helps him to "always keep praying for my friends."

"I love my church," said Kevin.

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey , 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child.

Despite this, it is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 

Advertisement
Featured Image
President George Bush takes the ice bucket challenge in a video released this week.
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

What’s wrong with the viral ‘ice bucket challenge’? A lot, say pro-life leaders

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

Pro-life leaders in the U.S. are warning about ethical problems with the viral "Ice Bucket Challenge" that has raised over $15 million for research into Lou Gehrig’s Disease since late July, making its way to the top of American politics, and the entertainment and business worlds in the process.

In recent days, former president George W. Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, TV hosts Oprah Winfrey and Jimmy Fallon, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates have all had ice-cold water dumped on their heads in support of the effort.

They have been joined by many thousands of everyday Americans eager to do their part to raise funds to find a cure for the fatal neurodegenerative disease.

However, pro-life leaders from Patheos blogger Father Michael Duffy to the American Life League (ALL) are all pointing out that the ALS Association, which is behind the wildly popular fundraising effort, funds and otherwise supports embryonic stem cell research.

Instead, they are urging that pro-life people who want to participate in the ice bucket challenge send their donations to other charities that don't have similar ethical issues.

Embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of an unborn child. This is unlike adult and umbilical cord stem cell research, which are considered ethical.

A spokesperson from the ALS Association admitted to American Life League in an e-mail that while the organization "primarily funds adult stem cell research," they are "funding one study using embryonic stem cells (ESC)..."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"It is noble to combat a deadly disease," Live Action president Lila Rose said in a statement provided to LifeSiteNews, but added that "it's such a shame that the ALS Association...chooses to support research that thrives from experimenting on and killing tiny, innocent human beings."

"Embryonic stem cell research, which requires the destruction of pre-born people, is inherently unethical and a violation of fundamental human rights, and even materialists must admit that promises of its benefits have failed to deliver," continued Rose. "There is no good reason to condone this practice; in fact, all it does is taint the ALS Association, whom I'd otherwise be happy to support."

In the email to American Life League, ALS Assocation Spokesperson Carrie Munk defended the organization, saying that the embryonic stem cell research is being funded by an outside donor, and "the stem cell line was established many years ago."

She added that "under very strict guidelines, The Association may fund embryonic stem cell research in the future," and that currently "donors may stipulate that their funds not be invested in this study or any stem cell project."

At least one Catholic archdiocese has spoken up about the problematic relationship between ALS Assocation and unethical research.

"We appreciate the compassion that has caused so many people to engage in the ice bucket challenge," said a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. "But it's a well established moral principle that a good end is not enough. The means to that ends must be morally licit."

Both Fr. Duffy and the archdiocese have recommended money be sent to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City, Iowa. It is an organization that exclusively researches with adult stem cells. 

One D.C.-area Catholic, Robert Vega, wrote on Facebook that "in light of the absolute dignity of human life and necessity to defend it...I have taken down my Ice Bucket video, untagged myself from my nomination video, and encourage anyone to whom I may have spread the Challenge to do the same."

Embryonic stem cell research, which was a major controversy throughout the presidency of George W. Bush, has quietly, although decidedly, become less popular after many of the exalted promises of its proponents failed to materialize. As LifeSiteNews reported, in 2012 California and Maryland funded a fraction of the embryonic stem cell research projects that they did in 2007. Likewise, Maryland funded nearly twice as many stem cell research projects in 2012 as it had in the prior year -- but only one of the grants was done for an embryonic research project.

Advertisement
Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

, ,

Catholic couple fined $13,000 for refusing to host same-sex ‘wedding’ at their farm

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten
By Kirsten Anderson
Image
Robert and Cynthia Gifford

The New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) has ruled that the Roman Catholic owners of an Albany-area farm violated the civil rights of a lesbian couple when they declined to host the couple’s same-sex “marriage” ceremony in 2012.

Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who own and operate Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke, were ordered by DHR Judge Migdalia Pares and Commissioner Helen Diane Foster to pay $10,000 in fines to the state and an additional $3,000 in damages to the lesbian couple, Jennie McCarthy and Melissa Erwin for “mental pain and suffering.” 

Additionally, the Giffords must provide sensitivity training to their staff, and prominently display a poster highlighting state anti-discrimination laws.

The Giffords’ attorney, Jim Trainor, told LifeSiteNews that the two-year-legal drama and resulting fines all stemmed from a single brief phone call in 2012 that caught his clients off guard.

“The entire interaction between the Complainants and the Giffords transpired during a two to three minute telephone conversation which, unknown to Mrs. Gifford, was being tape recorded,” Trainor said.

“After communicating the fact that they chose not to hold same-sex marriage ceremonies at the farm because to do so would violate the Giffords’ sincerely held beliefs (that God intended marriage to be between a man a woman only), Mrs. Gifford invited the couple to visit the farm to discuss handling their wedding reception, which the couple refused.” 

The Giffords draw a line, Trainor explained, between a ceremony that solemnizes a homosexual relationship and a reception that celebrates the union after the fact.  To participate in the former, they argue, would be a violation of their own religious beliefs, especially because marriage ceremonies on the farm typically take place in and around the couple’s home, where they live full-time and are raising their two children. 

Click "like" if you support TRADITIONAL marriage.

But the Giffords are willing to serve gay couples in other ways – for example, they allowed another lesbian couple to throw a birthday party for their adopted child on the farm.

Trainor said he believes the decision by DHR goes too far in that it seeks to regulate what the Giffords can or cannot do in their own private home, even though state law only requires “places of public accommodation” to adhere to anti-discrimination laws.

“They consider the farm their home,” Trainor said. “They live there, they work there, they raise their kids there.”

Trainor also said that the Judge and Commissioner should have taken into account the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby ruling, which came down weeks before the DHR notified the Giffords of their decision.

“We're disappointed that neither the Administrative Law Judge nor the Commissioner considered the Gifford's Constitutional (1st Amendment) rights, including the right not to be compelled to participate in a ‘marriage’ ceremony which violates their own religious beliefs,” Trainor said. 

Trainor said he and the Giffords are evaluating their options for further legal action.

The Giffords could simply ask the DHR to reconsider their decision, but Trainor said he doubts that approach would be successful. In order to formally appeal the ruling the couple would have to go to the New York State Supreme Court. 

But there is another option: The Giffords could file a fresh lawsuit in either state or federal court challenging the constitutionality of the DHR ruling.

While religious liberty has been a hot topic in federal court lately, Trainor said New York’s state constitution “actually offers a lot” of protection when it comes to religious freedom. “Many people view it as more expansive than the U.S. Constitution in terms of religious freedoms.”

However, Trainor emphasized that the Giffords have not yet decided which avenue, if any, they are planning to take in terms of pursuing further legal action.

In the meantime, the Giffords will continue hosting wedding ceremonies and receptions at the farm, Trainor said. However, they are considering hiring a dedicated employee to handle the ceremonies in order to avoid having to directly participate in any future same-sex “weddings.”

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook