Kristen Walker Hatten

What burning Korans, birth control, and blind lawyers have in common

Kristen Walker Hatten
By Kristen Walker Hatten
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March 2, 2012 (LiveAction.org) - Here are three things that are totally happening. Don’t worry about what they have to do with each other. I’ll get to that. Just bask in the crappiness of these three things:

1. Last month on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan, four Korans were accidentally included in a heap of trash that was dumped into a burn pit.

The materials had been taken from a library at Parwan Detention Facility, which adjoins the base, because they contained extremist messages or inscriptions. Writing inside a Koran is forbidden in the Islamic faith, although it was unclear whether the handwritten messages were found in the holy book or other reading materials.

Some Afghans saw the Korans burning, and some of them even burned their fingers trying to remove them. Cue pandemonium! Since then Obama has apologized to President Hamid Karzai and the nation of Afghanistan — twice. He has apologized super hard. Protesting Afghans apparently don’t care.

“We don’t care about Obama’s apology,” said Kamaluddin, a 25-year-old Kabul protester who uses only one name. “We have to protest to be responsible to our god. They are burning our Koran. An apology is not enough.” (source: Time)

This of course begs the question: what is enough?

I have a wild guess! Could it be… Death to America?

Despite Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s appeal for calm, thousands of protesters, some shouting “Long live Islam!” and “Death to America!” rallied Thursday in the capital and in seven of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. At least five protesters were killed…

The deadliest protest was held outside an American base in the Khogyani district of Nangarhar province. Two protesters were killed by Afghan police there and an Afghan soldier turned his gun on U.S. troops, killing two Americans. Elsewhere, a Norwegian soldier was wounded by a hand grenade hurled into a coalition compound. (source: Time)

2. In other news, in case you hadn’t heard, Obamacare is going to require many religious employers — such as Catholic schools and hospitals — to provide insurance to employees that will allow them free contraception and sterilization services, not to mention abortion drugs. (Click right here on this link for more information on this.)

3. In other other news, that guy I’ve written about in China — the one Christian Bale tried to go visit – is sick as all get-out. Chen Guangcheng is a blind human rights lawyer who was arrested, imprisoned, and tortured for years — without trial — for representing women who had been forcibly sterilized as a result of China’s one-child policy. Most recently, he has been confined to house arrest with his wife, mother, and daughter, denied visiting his cancer-stricken brother or attending his funeral in January, and denied medical care. Recent reports suggest he and his family are ailing badly and possibly going without proper nutrition.

There is nothing anyone can do. As Bruce Wayne found out, if you try to visit Guangcheng, you get beaten up by thugs who try to take away your camera.

Here’s the deal: some soldiers accidentally burn a Koran in Afghanistan and approximately ten people are dead, according to Afghan officials (at the time of this writing).

In the United States, a major blow to religious liberty is struck — a law will literally force Catholics to pay for other people’s contraception, abortion, and sterilization — and how many violent riots have there been? Zero.

Let’s recap!

Afghanistan– Korans burned. Religious liberty legally attacked by this action? No. Death toll: About ten. Violent rioting? Why, yes! Obama apology count: Two!

United States — Obamacare denies religious conscience rights. Religious liberty legally attacked by this action? Yes! Death toll: Zero. Violent rioting? Nope! Obama apology count: Zero!

(By the way, in case you were wondering if the Afghans have apologized for killing people, that answer is no.)

Have you ever heard that saying “the squeaky wheel gets the grease?” It’s unfortunately true, and the rationale behind a lot of bad behavior. Does the Obama administration want us to riot in the streets and shoot at people? Then will he apologize to us?

But, see, that’s not gonna happen because Christianity is the most tolerant religion in the history of the world. The founder of Christianity was tolerant unto His own death. Christians of the Roman Empire were tolerant up to and including becoming lion poop. We tolerate a hostile media, a hostile government, and hostile people of other religions who want us all to die and go to Muslim Hell, where we will be forced to, I don’t know, eat bacon and watch Larry David programs. On the rare occasion we get intolerant — Spanish Inquisition, Crusades, some other stuff that happened centuries ago — the stories get blown out of proportion, factually distorted, and thrown at us for hundreds of years as “proof” that we are big mean meanies who want everybody to be Christians or die, even after Popes issue official apologies.When people burn Bibles, we pray for them. At worst, we yell and call them names. When was the last time you heard of Christians rioting and shooting people because some Bibles were burned? Go ahead and try to remember. I’ll wait.

Look, it doesn’t matter if you are a Christian. Look at Guangcheng. I don’t know if he’s a Christian or not, and I don’t care. He lives in a country where he has no rights. No one does. That is where we end up if we stay on this path.

You have probably heard this famous saying of Pastor Martin Niemoller’s before. He survived seven years in a Nazi concentration camp.

First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

The point isn’t religion. It’s freedom. Whether you are a Christian or not, whether you are pro-life or not, you need to be very concerned about this Obamacare mandate.

Not a Christian? You still need to be very concerned that we have a president who cares more about the rights of murderous thugs in another country than his own people.

Pro-choice? You still need to think about Guangcheng, and contemplate what it will be like to live in a country where opposing abortion is a crime.

Reprinted with permission from LiveAction’s blog.


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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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