Jonathon van Maren

From the front lines of the culture wars

The abortion of JFK’s children was evil – but it’s also a tragic loss

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Did you know that John F. Kennedy had more than four children? That writers Christopher and Peter Hitchens had two other siblings? That Marilyn Monroe actually had a large number of children?

I’m not particularly fond of the argument that I’ve heard many pro-lifers use: “Abortion is wrong because of all the amazing people we’ve aborted. One of them could have had the cure to cancer!” Abortion is fundamentally wrong because it ends the life of a developing human being, whether that human being would turn out to be a drug addict or the president of the United States. However, it is an interesting thought experiment—not least of all because so many people considered heroes by the Left have aborted their children or had their children aborted.

For example, I think of liberal icon President John F. Kennedy. The Kennedy Family is probably the closest thing America had to a royal family, although revelations over the last several decades have rather firmly repudiated the idea of an impossibly happy Camelot, as historians reveal anecdote after sordid anecdote of relentless philandering. Anecdotes of President Kennedy’s devastation at the 1963 death of his two-day old son, Patrick, are well-documented. The Kennedys also lost a daughter in 1956—Arabella, as her parents intended to name her, was stillborn.

Revolutions famously do not discriminate in their grim reaping of human life. The Sexual Revolution is no different.

But stories abound of JFK’s affairs ending in abortions. Mimi Alford, a White House intern that JFK had a relationship with for over a year, reported that when she told the president she believed she was pregnant, he “took the news in his stride.” Shortly afterward, she was contacted by a White House staffer named Dave Powers, often assigned to protect the president’s reputation.

“An hour later,” Alford recalls, “Dave called the dorm and told me to call a woman who could put me in touch with a doctor in New Jersey. The intermediary was a necessary precaution, because abortion was illegal. That was pure Dave Powers: he handled the problem immediately, and with brute practicality. There was no talk about what I wanted, or how I felt, or what the medical risks might be.”

Another of JFK’s famous mistresses, Judith Campbell Exner, reported having an abortion in 1963 after becoming pregnant by the president. Not all Kennedys, it seems, end up in Washington, D.C. Some of them end up in trash cans behind seedy clinics, victims of their parents’ sexual ideology.

Another icon of the Left that comes to mind when I think of the human cost of abortion is the late author and columnist Christopher Hitchens. Fans of the Hitch are fierce in their devotion, with his brother Peter, a well-known conservative author, noting that his brother’s fans often burn with fanatical hatred against him, furious that a conservative Christian (who wrote his brilliant book The Rage Against God partially in response to his brother’s philosophically feeble atheist tome God Is Not Great) could bear the same last name as their hero. Both brothers are extraordinary writers and journalists, having collectively written dozens of books and published essays and columns in the most prestigious publications.

What many people don’t realize is that there were originally four Hitchens siblings, not two. As Christopher relates in his Vanity Fair essay “Fetal Distraction”:

I was in my early teens when my mother told me that a predecessor fetus and a successor fetus had been surgically removed, thus making me an older brother rather than a forgotten whoosh.

Christopher noted further that at least two children of his own had their lives ended by abortion, recalling sombrely that, “at least once I found myself in a clinic while ‘products of conception’ were efficiently vacuumed away. I can distinctly remember thinking, on the last such occasion, that under no persuasion of any kind would I ever allow myself to be present at such a moment again.”

Perhaps this was because Christopher Hitchens allowed himself no illusion, writing that, “Anyone who has ever seen a sonogram or spent even an hour with a textbook on embryology knows that emotions are not the deciding factor. In order to terminate a pregnancy, you have to still a heartbeat, switch off a developing brain, and, whatever the method, break some bones and rupture some organs.”

Although to my knowledge Peter Hitchens has never addressed the fact of his aborted siblings in print, on abortion he has much to say. “Those who wonder what they would have done had they lived at the time of some terrible injustice now know the answer,” he has said. “We do live in such a time. And we do nothing.”

When considering the lives and careers of the Hitchens brothers we know, we cannot help but wonder what the lives of the two that we do not would have been like.

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The list of politicians, writers, and cultural figures who have discarded their own children are myriad. Comedian Chelsea Handler has talked openly about having an abortion. Sharon Osbourne calls having an abortion at seventeen the mistake of her life. According to author Norman Mailer, the tragic Marilyn Monroe had twelve abortions by her late-twenties. Whoopi Goldberg of The View, Lucille Ball of I Love Lucy, Judy Garland of The Wizard of Oz all aborted children. Ava Gardner reportedly aborted two of Frank Sinatra’s children, while the smut-peddling rapper ‘Lil Kim aborted the Notorious B.I.G’s child, which they conceived during an affair. Famed singer Sinead O’Connor had an abortion while on tour in Minneapolis.

It’s especially bizarre, I think, when those on the Left turn out to enthusiastically celebrate any new revelation of a cultural figure having an abortion. The more they admire the person, it seems the happier they are at the “courage” of said person having had an abortion. A bit unintentionally insulting, don’t you think? I admire you so much! I’m so glad you terminated a child that might have had your talent or been a lot like you!

Revolutions, however, famously do not discriminate in their grim reaping of human life. The Sexual Revolution is no different, even though we’ve replaced guillotines with Planned Parenthood clinics. The crowds cheered both, and the similarity between a howling mob and a pro-choice rally is striking to say the least. Perhaps it is Peter Hitchens who has the best explanation: “I think that abortion is much beloved by revolutionaries,” he noted gravely, “because they always like the mob to get their hands in blood and commit some sort of crime of their own.”

Abortion is evil because it violently destroys a human being. But one of the reasons abortion is tragic is that it has robbed us of so many who might have given so much to humanity.

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How can the West promote its values abroad…if we don’t have any?

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

Oct. 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Neoconservatives and those in favor of military engagement overseas often argue that the West should promote our “Western values” in those places where democracy and freedom are lacking.

But, as I’ve written before, the moral and cultural relativism that has swept the West since the Sexual Revolution has rendered us incapable of promoting what were once considered to be Western values. Instead, what we are best known for now is the promotion of ‘values’ like gay marriage and abortion. No longer are we famous for our freedom and democracy, but rather Internet porn, pop music, and Hollywood films. One can scarcely blame people for assuming that the West is populated by sex-crazy hedonists, since our pop culture icons usually are precisely that.

The idea that Western decadence might repulse more traditional societies is, of course, a wildly unpopular one. American Christianity in particular is often thoroughly wrapped in the Star and Stripes, and many still believe that America is a “Shining City on a Hill,” a once-Christian society that just took a bad left turn. That’s why Dinesh D’Souza’s 2007 book "The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility For 9/11" prompted loud shouting from every side. And admittedly, his thesis is tough to swallow.

In his words:

“The cultural left has fostered a decadent American culture that angers and repulses traditional societies, especially those in the Islamic world that are being overwhelmed by this culture. In addition, the left is waging an aggressive global campaign to undermine the traditional patriarchal family and to promote secular values in non-Western cultures. This campaign has provoked a violent reaction from Muslims who believe that their most cherished beliefs and institutions are under assault...Thus when leading figures on the left say, ‘We made them do this to us,’ in a sense they are correct. They are not correct that America is to blame. But their statement is true in that their actions and their America are responsible for fostering Islamic anti-Americanism in general.”

Conservatives, of course, despise this point of view, because it has been the left that has traditionally been self-loathing. The left is repulsed by the idea that their Brave New World might not make America loved in other circles—even though Obama’s serial rebuking of other leaders for not being on board with the rainbow agenda obviously doesn’t endear America to anyone but the self-righteous Sexual Revolutionaries back home. It’s a bit ironic—the left has struggled to find a moral framework that permits them to condemn cultural practices such as gendercide and female circumcision without success, but rediscovers their theological rigidity when someone dares suggest that parents could be referred to as “mother” and “father.”

To have an intellectually honest discussion about the growing chasm between Western “values” and those of her neighbors is virtually impossible. Obviously, cultural barbarism is practiced on both sides. Some cultures circumcise little girls, some abort them in the millions. Some drape their women in body bags, others produce entertainment celebrating the pornographic destruction of the feminine. Some deny women their inherent rights, others consider the destruction of life in the womb to be one of them.

I think the memoirs of Iraqi general Georges Sada, Saddam’s Secrets: How an Iraqi General Defied and Survived Saddam Hussein, captured the cultural conflict quite well. Sada, while generally quite complimentary of the United States and the comportment of its troops in Iraq, noted: “We’re more conservative about matters concerning women and girls, especially their clothing. Not very many women in Iraq wear the veil anymore—we’re already Western in that way...But why should a young woman walk around with half her body exposed, as teenagers in America do? Any teenage boy would be glad to see a girl dressed in that way, but our culture is not prepared for it. Modesty is a good thing and I hope we never lose it.”

But that being said, it’s still essential for us to understand that there’s a difference between having the wrong values and no values at all. We used to understand that Western values—those rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition—were values worth promoting, and values that could adequately replace other cultural values. A controversial thing to say, sure, but the Christian religion is one that makes universalist claims and has a universalist message. When we appear to believe nothing, we offer nothing appealing to those cultures we interact with.

Consider this recent example, just published by CNN:

Sergeant 1st Class Charles Martland, the Green Beret being separated involuntarily from the U.S. Army for kicking and body slamming an Afghan police commander he describes as a "brutal child rapist," began telling his side of the story Monday.

Martland is under a gag order imposed by the Pentagon, but at the request of Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif, he wrote a statement detailing his actions on Sept. 6, 2011, which was obtained by CNN…

"Our ALP (Afghan Local Police) were committing atrocities and we were quickly losing the support of the local populace," Martland writes in his statement. "The severity of the rapes and the lack of action by the Afghan Government caused many of the locals to view our ALP as worse than the Taliban."

Quinn and Martland were told by a young Afghan boy and his mother, through an Afghan interpreter, that the boy had been tied to a post at the home of Afghan Local Police commander Abdul Rahman and raped repeatedly for up to two weeks. When his mother tried to stop the attacks, they told the soldiers, Rahman's brother beat her. Quinn says he verified the story with other ALP commanders from neighboring villages…

"While I understand that a military lawyer can say that I was legally wrong, we felt a moral obligation to act," Martland writes.

In short? Sergeant Martland was kicked out of the Army for interfering with something that was considered to be none of his business, even though what was happening was brutal child rape.

Now contrast that with a different example. Sati, the now-obsolete practice of an Indian window immolating herself on the funeral pyre of her husband, was once widely practiced. In fact, when the British colonial forces first arrived in India, they ignored these practices, considering it outside their mandate to limit the cultural practices of others, no matter how repulsive. However, Christian influences inside Great Britain soon effected a change in policy, and the British began to view civilizing as synonymous with colonizing. British officer Charles Napier is famous for his response to a number of Hindu priests who complained about the prohibition of widow-burning. As related by his brother William, Napier responded:

"Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs."

Regardless of your views of colonialism et al, I think it’s important to recognize the words of a man who is confident defending his national customs, and confident in their moral rightness. Today’s West doesn’t recognize objective morality, and doesn’t recognize any concepts of right and wrong. And thus, the “values” we end up promoting both politically and culturally end up being a relativism that is understandably repulsive to many.

We used to know how to combat cultural practices and values that we recognized as repulsive: Put forward and promote an objectively better set of values, those rooted in the Christian tradition. Now, we have no adequate response. As I wrote after the shootings in the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, we are too often presented with a false choice: The barbarism of some cultures versus the lazy, blasphemous nihilism of our own.

Christians in the West need to be intellectually honest, even when it hurts. We need to reject both in favor of a third way, one that is mocked and ridiculed by cultural elites as it has been for 2,000 years. It is, after all, the only way that has survived both decadence and barbarism many, many times before. Christians passed laws against infanticide, banned gladiatorial combat, destroyed the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, and led the movement against segregation.

Christianity has been declared dead by the elites time and time again. Each time, this demise has been greatly exaggerated. This time will be no different.

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Prostitution, porn, and abortion: three sides of the same coin

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

Sept. 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Never in human history has there been a time in which the buying and selling of human flesh, in one form or another, has been more prevalent. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. Pornography depicting the brutalization of women and girls is among the most popular material on the Internet. And abortion, the financed destruction of tiny human beings developing in the womb, claims the lives of almost 42 million pre-born children each year.

The first time I fully realized how dehumanizing the “sex trade” is was when I was a teenager, walking through the streets of Amsterdam with a student group from my school to visit the Church of Our Lord in the Attic, a hidden house church from the 1600s. What our teachers had not realized when they planned the tour, however, is that we had to cut directly through the infamous Red Light District in order to get there. As they rushed us down the cobblestone streets with more than a little panic, we gaped at an utterly foreign sight: Rows and rows of windows with scantily clad women, their fatigue painted over with thick layers of makeup and mechanical come-hither smiles, standing there. Like meat packages at a butcher shop, I remember thinking. Even the “souvenir” shops sold only human body parts—postcards featuring only breasts or bottoms, nothing else. A human meat market—one brothel owner even compared the tourists viewing the girls to men deciding which pizza to order.

More than 60% of the girls and women who work there report getting sexually assaulted.

We have created a commodity culture, with one trend played out over and over again: Objectification leads to dehumanization. Dehumanization leads to victimization.

The same thing struck me when traveling in Hungary earlier this year. My cousin and I arrived in Budapest from Belgrade at four in the morning and climbed into a taxi to find a hostel. The driver soon took us to a less than reputable area of the city in search of an establishment that still had rooms available. I wondered, stupidly, why there were so many young girls still walking about, even though it was dark and the sun was not even stirring. And then our taxi pulled up to a stop sign, and I made eye contact with one of them. Her blue eyes were flat and emotionless.

She was very young, and very pretty. She wore a light black jacket with a fur fringe, and painted-on pants that must have hurt to walk in. She must have been freezing—it was so ice-cold that every short breath came out in a puff of steam. An older woman, lounging against an abandoned storefront, barked something at her that I didn’t understand, and jerked her head towards me. She started to walk over to the car, gesturing at me and then to herself. And that’s when I realized that she’d been told to find out if I was a potential customer. I felt quite sick as we drove away, although I was naïve to be so surprised. Budapest, after all, is a sex tourist destination, an Eastern European Bangkok. I’d read about it. I’d just never come face to face with the reality—a girl who should have been in school, selling herself to strangers at the orders of others.

Those who defend legalized prostitution—although the differences between legal and illegal prostitution are few—defend it in much the same way that other horrible practices are defended. “Prostitution advocates often use the word ‘choice,’” as Benjamin Nolot of Exodus Cry, an anti-human trafficking organization, noted in his documentary Nefarious: Merchant of Souls.

Choice is a sacred word in a culture that worships individualism, and there is no cap on the number of lives that can be sacrificed to it. Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, herself a former stripper, occasionally takes time off from promoting abortion to advocate for the legalization of prostitution. “I see a lot of similarity between the issues,” she says. “Choice, my body is my own, autonomy, and all those good things.”

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It should surprise no one that somebody who trumpets the destruction and misery of abortion should also laud an industry that specializes in the degradation of all those who engage with it. After all, this is the same Joyce Arthur who defended Planned Parenthood’s dealing in baby parts as a good thing, and even said that Canadian mothers, too, could offer to donate the dismembered body parts of their pre-born children to be used for research. With abortion, as with human trafficking, the pattern is the same: Humans are the sum of their parts, and humans are only valuable in so far as the monetary value of their bodies. Human bodies only serve the purpose of being useful to others.

Dr. Mary Anne Layden, who researches the links between pornography and human trafficking, put it this way: “This is a business and I think that a lot of pimps would stop doing this if there wasn’t any money involved, but it’s a business and as soon as you tell somebody it’s a product, as soon as you say this [is] something you buy, then this is something you can steal. Those two things are hooked. If you can buy it, you can steal it, and even better if you steal it because then you don’t pay for it. So the sexual exploitation industry, whether it’s strip clubs or prostitution or pornography, is where you buy it. Sexual violence is where you steal it – rape and child molestation and sexual harassment is where you steal it. So these things are all seamlessly connected. There isn’t a way to draw a bright line of demarcation between rape and prostitution and pornography and child molestation. There are not bright lines of demarcation.”

And when the intentionally sterile sex occasionally results in the production of a child, most pimps and rapists immediately avail themselves of the happy-to-help abortion industry. The mother’s body, in their mind, is only useful to serve the sexual needs of paying customers, not to nurture with love and tenderness the tiny, fragile body of her son or daughter. The sexual exploitation industries sell the bodies of women and girls to men, and the abortion industry waits patiently to destroy the unwanted sons and daughters of victims and rapists. Sometimes, they can sell the body parts of those sons and daughters to research firms. All body parts are put to good use. The market gods are happy.

A culture without morals meets capitalism without ethics, and what we have created is a commodity culture. Pornography dehumanizes women for a mass audience, and human trafficking and prostitution allows men to play out their fantasies in real life. When I interviewed anti-sex trafficking activist and Member of Parliament Joy Smith, she told me that pimps use today’s pornography to groom their victims into accepting assault—and that in studies done of johns, huge numbers of them report using prostitution so that they can live out fantasies they would never try on “real women.” And the abortionists, of course, can take care of any resulting children, since they are not, in the eyes of our culture, “real children.”

Commodity culture, with one trend played out over and over again: Objectification leads to dehumanization. Dehumanization leads to victimization.

It’s because our materialist society no longer believes in the soul. They’ve forgotten that we are not a body, we are a soul that has a body. Indeed, it is the soul that comes up time and time again when those who have been involved in the exploitation industries struggle to explain the depth and brutality of the damage that has been done. “Every time I sold myself, I felt like I was selling my soul,” said one former prostitute.” No one understands “the pain and destruction to a woman’s heart and soul” that is inflicted by the sex trade, explained Annie Lobert, a former sex worker. When I brought young women onto the porn sets, “I watched their souls die,” one former porn producer told me.

Again and again, former victims and former perpetrators struggle to find words to describe the destruction our commodity culture has wrought, and time and time again they find themselves drawn to words that beckon towards the transcendent. They know, because they have felt the pain and the horror, that human beings are not simply two randomly-ordered bodies of flesh coming together for brief pleasure. We are so much more than that. We were not built for abuse and degradation, but for love and dignity.

Many times throughout the history of humanity, we have forgotten these simple truths. And that is why, more than two hundred years after the great Christian abolitionist William Wilberforce triumphed in his battle against the slave trade, we are again fighting the same evils. We tossed out God and truth, and the pimps and flesh-peddlers came creeping back in. We announced that humans were simply animals, and human traffickers and pornographers obligingly treated them as such. We taught everyone that materialism explained everything, and that souls did not exist—and the abortionists nodded and busied their tools to begin the work of dismembering and discarding the soulless clumps of cells we once recognized as our perfectly created sons and daughters.

Things have never been perfect. Prostitution and infanticide are as old as time. But we used to recognize these things as awful practices that preyed on the most vulnerable, and sought to stamp them out. Now, we live in a culture that has abandoned the moral framework necessary to recognize transcendent concepts like the dignity of the human person, the sanctity of human life, and infinite preciousness of the human soul.

It is when we begin to recognize these things that, through the human rubble and sex-driven carnage, we can begin to turn to a place where we realize that the value of a human being cannot be monetized, and that to try such a thing is an evil that spawns unstoppable wickedness. 

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Watch porn, become this guy. At least, that's what a new study wants us to believe. Except it's pure bosh. Shutterstock

Study: watching porn makes you become a fuzzy, sensitive, woman-loving feminist…somehow

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

The porn industry must be thrilled. A new study from London’s Western University has declared that, basically, watching women get abused, degraded, and beaten up on-screen can make you more feminist. The National Post reported on the study with some glee, in an article titled “Watching porn does not cause negative attitudes toward women, contentious Canadian study finds

[T]he notion [that porn results in negative attitudes towards women] may have little actual foundation in fact, suggests a contentious new Canadian study that concludes the average porn user holds, if anything, more egalitarian views regarding women than non-users.

Many pornography aficionados might even be “useful allies” in women’s struggles for equality in work, income and public office, the researchers at London’s Western University argue in a paper that is already generating fierce criticism.

At the very least, they say, the study calls into serious question the view that pornography is so damaging that, in one activist’s words, it’s “what the end of the world looks like.”

He and his colleagues analyzed data from 35 years of the General Social Survey, a government-funded U.S. project that interviews about 24,000 men and women a year on a variety of issues.

They reported in the Journal of Sex Research that the 23 per cent who reported having watched an “X-rated” movie in the previous year were no more or less likely than porn abstainers to identify as feminists, or voice support for the traditional family.

The problems with this study are myriad. As Dr. Gail Dines has already pointed out, the average age of the respondents in the survey is 45—an age that most porn researchers are not paying any attention to in the first place, and cannot be considered “average porn users” by any realistic standard. Consider these chilling statistics, for example:

35% of teen boys say they have viewed pornographic videos “more times than they can count.”

15% of boys and 9% of girls have seen child pornography.

32% of boys and 18% of girls have seen bestiality online.

39% of boys and 23% of girls have seen sexual bondage online.

83% of boys and 57% of girls have seen group sex online.

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But beyond that, the rather incredible claims that these researchers are making defy the entire body of previous research. I’ve spent an enormous amount of time reviewing the past and current research on pornography, and the consensus on porn’s negative impact is almost unanimous—in fact, that is precisely the word used by the Berkmen Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School:

[Excerpts of the] Report of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography:
Section 5.2.1 Sexually Violent Material

“…[C]linical and experimental research … [has] focused particularly on sexually violent material, [and] the conclusions have been virtually unanimous. In both clinical and experimental settings, exposure to sexually violent materials has indicated an increase in the likelihood of aggression. More specifically, the research, … shows a causal relationship between exposure to material of this type and aggressive behavior towards women.

…The evidence also strongly supports the conclusion that substantial exposure to violent sexually explicit material leads to a greater acceptance of the ‘rape myth,’ in its broader sense – that women enjoy being coerced into sexual activity, that they enjoy being physically hurt in sexual context, and that as a result a man who forces himself on a woman sexually is in fact merely acceding to the ‘real’ wishes of the woman, regardless of the extent to which she seems to be resisting…”

And then there is the research of the brilliant Dr. Mary Anne Layden, director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. As a psychotherapist, she treated victims of sexual violence. She first hit upon the connection between sexual violence and pornography after, with a sickening feeling, she realized that in ten years of treating victims of sexual violence, she could not think of a single case in which pornography did not play a part—not a single one. She began to research the connections between pornography and sexual violence, and as she told me, they were everywhere. From her paper Pornography and Violence: A New Look at Research:

For many reasons, as we shall see, pornography is a very effective teacher of beliefs and behaviors, and one that also teaches its users that the behaviors are acceptable and stimulates them to do so…

Males who viewed sexual violence obtained higher scores both on scales measuring acceptance of interpersonal violence and the rape myth [the belief that women actually enjoy rape and suffer few negative consequences], when compare to males who viewed either a physically violent or neutral film. The increase in attitudes supporting sexual violence following exposure to pornography is greater if the pornography is violent than if it is non-violent.

A similar effect is seen even when the pornography is not violent. Males who are shown non-violent scenes that sexually objectified and degraded women and were then exposed to material that depicted rape indicated that the rape victim experienced pleasure and ‘got what she wanted.’

Even women who were exposed to pornography as a child have a greater acceptance of the rape myth than those who were not. Those exposed to pornography recommend a sentence for rapists that was half of that recommended by those who had been shown non-pornographic imagery. These subjects appear to have trivialized the crime of rape.

Can this possibly be considered surprising? For us to believe the authors of this new study, we have to suspend disbelief and conclude that the imagery and messaging people expose themselves to, often compulsively, will have no impact on the way they view the world, something that the entire marketing industry would find laughable.

To believe the authors of this new study, we are required to believe that we have separate brains for fantasy and reality, and that what we consume will not bleed over into how we perceive the world around us. And what average porn consumers are viewing is chilling—when 304 sex scenes in top-selling porn films were analyzed recently, it was discovered that 88% of these scenes contained physical aggression against women, and 49% of these scenes contained disgusting verbal aggression.

An honest question: Does it not say something about our culture when we are consuming epidemic-levels of glorified violence against women and girls for entertainment or sexual satisfaction?

And consider this body of evidence, published last year by Covenant Eyes:

In a meta-analysis of 46 studies published from 1962 to 1995, comprising a total sample of 12,323 people, researchers concluded pornographic material puts one at increased risk of committing sexual offenses (22% increase in risk) and accepting rape myths (31% increase in risk)

In a meta-analysis of 24 studies conducted between 1980 and 1993, with a total of 4,268 participants, researchers positively correlated rape myth acceptance to exposure to nonviolence or violent pornography.

Among perpetrators of sex crimes, adolescent exposure to pornography is a significant predictor of elevated violence and victim humiliation.

In a study of 187 female university students, researchers concluded early exposure to pornography was related to subsequent “rape fantasies” and attitudes supportive of sexual violence against women. Researchers believe pornography consumed at a young age contributes to women being socialized to accept sexual aggression as a sexual/romantic event.

In 2004 data was collected from interviews with 271 women participating in a battered women’s program. Pornography use by their partner significantly increased the odds of women being sexually abused by their abusers. When their abuser used both alcohol and pornography, the odds of sexual abuse increase by a factor of 3.2.I.

Japanese males were divided into three groups and each exposed to different types of home video pornography: a positive rape film (where the female expressed pleasure), a negative rape film (where the female expressed pain), or a consenting sex film. Those who viewed the positive rape film were significantly more likely to state that women could enjoy rape and higher percentages of rape cases are invented by victims.

I could go on. I could share with you the horrifying stories of doctors struggling to deal with damaged and brutalized adolescent girls who succumbed to the demands of their porn-driven boyfriends for anal sex. I could highlight the work of Dr. Paul Jensen, a self-described radical feminist who has researched the devastating damage to gender relations that pornography has brought about. And I could point out the testimonies of broken porn stars who served as the fresh flesh for a cannibalistic industry that produces savagery for widespread entertainment.

But I’ll leave you with one important question to consider: What does it say about our culture when an industry that specializes in the degradation of the feminine, the production of sexual violence, and the celebration of rape has academics that are willing to line up and claim that such material is not harmful—and can even be helpful?

The Marlboro Men of the porn industry may say that there is nothing amiss. But I think those of us who are willing to be honest know how that story ends.

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Citizens protest the Wynne government's explicit sex ed program before a Peel District School Board meeting on March 24, 2015. Lianne Laurence / LifeSiteNews

Rock, meet wall: irreconcilable cultural forces collide in Ontario sex-ed battle

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By Jonathon van Maren

Sept. 11, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - It may have been a long, hot summer, but Ontario parents do not appear to have blown off any steam. In spite of a barrage of advertisements promoting Premier Kathleen Wynne’s new sex education curriculum  on the radio—I could barely turn on the news in my car without having to hear a silky-smooth voice reassure me that the children of Ontario were safe in Wynne’s hands—the protests have gone on unabated.

In Wynne’s own riding of Don Valley West, 700 children were kept out of Thorncliffe Park Public School on the first day of classes—nearly half of the students—and on day two a full thirty percent still failed to show up. Chris Selley in the National Post noted that “if the Ontario sex ed protests are going to fizzle, they haven’t yet,” while the Globe and Mail mused that this could very well become a federal election issue.

There is an underlying story here, as well. The sex ed protests are not simply fueled by the usual suspects: orthodox Catholics and Protestants. Rather, it is an enormously diverse movement cutting right across cultural, ethnic, and religious lines. They are Buddhist and Sikh, Chinese and Filipino, Muslim and Christian. They all have one thing in common: They are not buying into the post-modern experiment, and they are not pleased at the idea that the new sexual orthodoxy that often directly contradicts their beliefs is being passed from the state to their children. They are a coalition of what Christian scholar Francis Schaeffer called “co-belligerents”—dissimilar, but united behind a goal.

Traditionally speaking, it has been Christians who defended Western culture against the self-loathing of left-wing secularists. But that was before the astonishing and sweeping success of the Sexual Revolution, the post-modern project: abortion on demand; the hollowing-out and then redefining of marriage; the celebration of hedonistic sterility and the glorification of childlessness.

We like to pride ourselves on being bastions of freedom and democracy. But instead the cultural exports of the West tend to be our new gender ideology, abortion and sterilization, Internet pornography, and Miley Cyrus. The institutions of our culture - the media, entertainment, academia, and politics - are now profoundly hostile to the Christian religion, even though Christian concepts provided the foundation for freedom and democracy in the first place.

Ironically, abortion is one of the main contributing factors to this new culture war. Since 1969, Canadians have snuffed out the lives of four million of their own children. To dismember and discard its own children is suicide for any nation - and often, the murdered and the missing are replaced with millions of immigrants from other cultures. Those cultures - as we are seeing on the streets in front of the offices of Ontario politicians and in angry speeches addressed to Premier Kathleen Wynne and her cohorts - do not feel favorable towards the Sexual Revolution or their adopted homeland’s attempts to indoctrinate their children into it.

Western values? Certainly, there are many that we expect new immigrants to embrace and adopt. But the last few decades have produced a new, different set of “values” that thousands across Ontario are rejecting firmly and loudly.

I have seen this in my pro-life work, as well. Immigrant communities are much more likely to be sympathetic to the pro-life message, as often their cultural backgrounds sync almost perfectly with the simple message we are putting forward. They are often horrified and shocked when they see photos of abortion victims, and aghast when they find out that the demise of these victims is funded and endorsed by the Canadian government. They are not familiar with the post-modern babble that dehumanizes and victimizes babies growing in the womb, and thus the concept of killing those babies seems to them, we have seen time and time again, foreign.

I’m sure Ms. Wynne and her fellow social engineers at the Department of Re-Education are fully aware of all of this. They know that in order for a worldview that often advocates sterility and childlessness to succeed and grow, it must inculcate the children of others to adopt it. Thirteen years of state-sanctioned education, with perhaps four years of liberal university professors to cement it all in, and the children of parents with traditional values will likely come out the other end with the same post-modern views as any other good secularist. The parents who have sparked Ontario’s new culture war are saying no to this—and their anger and persistence would seem to indicate that they are quite aware that they are fighting to preserve their own values, and those of their children.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. There really is no middle ground here. Kathleen Wynne and the Department of Education know that they must teach their values and their ideology, and are unflinchingly committed to doing so. The parents of tens of thousands of children are equally as committed, at least for the time being, to regaining the right to pass their own values on to their children. The myth of secular neutrality has been exposed very effectively. As Chris Selley put it in the Post:

A list of objections on the website of the Canadian Families Alliance, of which the TPA is a member, quotes directly from the document. Among other things, it thinks teaching about gender fluidity causes gender fluidity; it doesn’t think teachers should be telling students that masturbation is “something that many people do and find pleasurable”; and it thinks telling students that “some (families) have two mothers or two fathers” “normalize(s) homosexual family structures and homosexual ‘marriage’,” which it does. That’s the point.

And so it is. A thus-far-unstoppable force meets immovable object. And when the war is over the hearts and minds of children—the future, really—the fight is sure to be long and fierce.

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Jonathon van Maren

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Jonathon Van Maren is a writer and pro-life speaker who has given presentations across North America on abortion and pro-life strategy.

Jonathon first got involved in the pro-life movement after viewing a graphic abortion video in 2007, which convicted him to get active. He ran Simon Fraser University Students for Life as president from 2009-2010, while speaking in both the United States and Canada on pro-life issues.

Jonathon graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. He is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

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