Thaddeus Baklinski

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Canadian universities given failing grade on free speech: pro-life groups most affected

Thaddeus Baklinski

CALGARY, December 9, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – According to a report released by the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) December 8, Canadian universities fail in promoting and protecting free speech, most notably when it comes to the rights of pro-life groups on campus.

This failure has a “spin-off effect that harms the health of free speech” in society, says the report.

“If censorship is OK on a university campus, I think there is a spin-off effect that harms the health of free speech outside the university as well,” said Calgary lawyer, JCCF president, and lead author of the report, John Carpay. “Taxpayers are paying hundreds of millions of dollars to these institutions that promise to be a forum for frank debate. It’s disconcerting to see this.”

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The 2011 Campus Freedom Index rates 18 public universities, and their student unions, in terms of their commitment to upholding the rights of students to express their beliefs, opinions and philosophy on campus.

No Canadian university was found to rate “good” in all categories, however the University of New Brunswick, the University of British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University received the best marks.

Carleton University, the University of Western Ontario, and the University of Calgary were ranked the worst.

The introduction to the Index states that one of the biggest threats to free speech in Canada comes from universities which condone illegal activities on the part of people who interfere with, and effectively shut down the events and speeches of people they disagree with. It notes that universities in Ottawa, Montreal, Waterloo, Halifax, Vancouver, and Calgary have turned a blind eye to people physically obstructing and disrupting speech with which they disagree.

The report found that most campus censorship was focused on university pro-life clubs, which have repeatedly been denied club status by student unions, denied the right to space to hold symposiums and show displays, and have been subjected to regulations regarding their pro-life activities that are not demanded of other students’ clubs.

“I think every age has a viewpoint that is particularly unpopular,” Mr. Carpay said. “But the most important thing I emphasize is if universities and student councils can censor the pro-life view, then they can censor anything and they will eventually censor anything.”

The Index rates Ottawa’s Carleton University as one of the worst offenders. On October 4, 2010, four members of Carleton Lifeline and one supporter from another campus were arrested by Ottawa police for “trespassing” on the Carleton campus because they tried to set up a Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) display at Tory Quad, a well-travelled and high-traffic area on campus. The display included graphic images of aborted babies as well as pictures of the Rwanda genocide and the Holocaust.

The university stated that it sent police to arrest the students expressly because of the content of the group’s expression.

A video showing police confronting the students has been posted to YouTube. During the video, an unnamed member of the Carleton University administration tells the group, “this display at this place is a prohibited activity.”

The trespassing charges were withdrawn by Crown prosecutors in November, with the explanation that issues dealing with the relationship between a university and its students was already being dealt with in a civil action brought by two Carleton Lifeline members, Ruth (Lobo) Shaw and John McLeod, against Carleton University and members of its administration on grounds of wrongful arrest.

Carleton Lifeline announced in February that they were suing the University and its administration for discriminatory treatment over the 2010-2011 academic school year.

Albertos Polizogopoulos, lawyer for the Carleton students, told the National Post that the Campus Freedom Index reveals the “frightening … depiction of how freedom of expression is being curtailed. Universities are going down a line where they become defenders of indoctrination and ideology rather than defending inquiry.”

John Carpay is currently defending members of the University of Calgary’s Campus Pro-Life (CPL) club who are asking for a judicial review of a UofC decision that found eight students guilty of “non-academic misconduct” for having set up a pro-life display on campus. The students refused to comply with the university’s demand that the signs be set up in a circle facing inwards, such that people walking by could not see the signs.

“The University of Calgary’s patronizing and paternalistic approach - trying to decide on behalf of students what they can and cannot see - has no place in a free society,” observed Mr. Carpay, “especially not at a public university that is funded by Alberta taxpayers.”

The full text of the “2011 Campus Freedom Index,” along with an in-depth report on each of the 18 universities in the Index (The state of campus free speech in 2011) is available from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms website.

 



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Please, enough with the cult of pop stars. Our kids need real heroes.

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two things happen each time a significant pop culture figure dies: Christians attempt to dredge up some moderately conservative or traditional thing that figure said at some point during his long career, and mainstream media attempts to convince a society thoroughly bored with such things that the person in question was a ground-breaking radical. The two most recent examples are the androgynous David Bowie—a cringe-worthy and possibly blasphemous video of him dropping to his knees during a rock performance and uttering the Lord’s Prayer circulated just following his death--and the pop star Prince.

I’ve had to suppress my gag reflexes many times as I saw my Facebook newsfeed fill up with memes sporting quotes from Prince about his faith and articles announcing that the musician who “embraced gender fluidity before his time,” according to Slate and “will always be a gay icon” according to The Atlantic, was against gay marriage. Sure, maybe he was. But only a Christian community so shell-shocked by the rapid spread of the rainbow blitzkrieg and the catastrophic erosion of religious liberty would find this remarkable. After all, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton said the same thing barely one election cycle ago. As one obituary celebrating Prince’s paradigm-smashing sexual performances written by Dodai Stewart put it:

Dig, if you will, a picture: The year is 1980. Many states still have sodomy laws. The radio is playing feel-good ear candy like Captain and Tennille and KC and the Sunshine Band. TV hits include the sunny, toothy blond shows Three’s Company and Happy Days. There’s no real word for “gender non-conforming.” But here’s what you see: A man. Clearly a man. Hairy, mostly naked body…a satiny bikini bottom. But those eyes. Rimmed in black, like a fantasy belly dancer. The full, pouty lips of a pin-up girl. Long hair. A tiny, svelte thing. Ethnically ambiguous, radiating lust. What is this? A man. Clearly a man. No. Not just a man. A Prince.

Right. So let’s not get too carried away, shall we? I know Christians are desperate to justify their addictions to the pop culture trash that did so much to sweep away Christian values in the first place and I know that latching on to the occasional stray conservative belief that may manifest itself in pop culture figures makes many feel as if perhaps we are not so weird and countercultural, but this bad habit we have of claiming these figures upon their passing is downright damaging.

After all, parents should be teaching their children about real heroes, titans of the faith who changed the world. Heroes of the early church who stood down tyrants, halted gladiatorial combat, and crusaded against injustice in a world where death was all the rage. These men and women were real rebels who stood for real values. If we want to point our children to people they should emulate, we should be handing them books like Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by the brilliant writer Eric Metaxas rather than the pop albums Purple Rain or Lovesexy by Prince. If parents spend their time glorifying the predecessors of Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus instead of highlighting heroes like William Wilberforce, they can hardly be surprised when their children choose to emulate the former rather than the latter.

The mainstream media’s adulation of these pop stars is equally irritating. The unspoken truth of these obituaries is that the flamboyant antics of Prince and the rest of the so-called rebellious drag queens populating the rock n’ roll scene have been mainstream for a long time already. Want to see dozens of bizarre body piercings? Weird hairdos? Purple mohawks? Dudes with nail polish? Strange tattoos? Easy. Just go onto any university campus, or any public high school without a dress code. With headphones wedged firmly in their ear canals, they can pump the cleverly commercialized “counterculture” straight into their skulls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

More than that, some of these courageous rebels have actually sued their employers to ensure that they can let their establishment-smashing freak flag fly at work, too. An Edmonton woman with 22 visible body piercings complained that her employer was unfair because apparently she was being discriminated against “based on body modifications.” Yeah! The Man must be told, after all. And if he doesn’t agree, we will lawyer up. I wonder what the shrieking rebels of the early days would think about the snivelling children of the current grievance culture.

So these days, the media’s eulogizing about aging culture warriors who went mainstream a long time ago rings a bit hollow. After all, most rock n’ roll stars these days look tame compared to what shows up in the children’s section at Pride Week. Freaky is normal now. Normal is radical. Welcome to 2016.

When Christians are posting nostalgic tributes to the rebels who helped inoculate their children against the radical views of Christianity in the first place, you know that the victories of the counterculture are complete and Stockholm syndrome has set in.



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Target boycott climbs to over 1 million

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Over 1 million people have signed a pledge to boycott Target over its new policy allowing men to access women’s bathrooms. 

The American Family Association’s Boycott Target petition gained traction immediately, reaching the one million mark in only nine days.

“Corporate America must stop bullying people who disagree with the radical left agenda to remake society into their progressive image,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “#BoycottTarget has resonated with Americans.  Target’s harmful policy poses a danger to women and children; nearly everyone has a mother, wife, daughter or friend who is put in jeopardy by this policy.  Predators and voyeurs would take advantage of the policy to prey on those who are vulnerable.  And it’s clear now that over one million customers agree.”

Target defended its policy in a statement saying that it believes everyone “deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally” and earlier this week, a Target spokeswoman defended the policy as “inclusive.” 

The AFA said that unisex bathrooms are a common-sense alternative to allowing men unfettered access to women’s bathrooms.

“Target should keep separate facilities for men and women, but for the trans community and for those who simply like using the bathroom alone, a single occupancy unisex option should be provided,” the petition says. 

The AFA warned that Target’s new policy benefits sexual predators and poses a danger to women and children. 

“With Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?” the petition asked. 

There have been numerous instances of predatory men accessing women’s bathrooms and intimate facilities in the wake of “transgender” bathroom policies allowing them to do so. 

“We want to make it very clear that AFA does not believe the transgender community poses this danger to the wider public,” said Wildmon. “Rather, this misguided and reckless policy provides a possible gateway for predators who are out there.”



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Amazing new video captures the flash of light the moment life begins

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

CHICAGO, April 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Life begins with a spark – literally.

Researchers at Northwestern University have documented the striking event in a new video that accompanies a study published this week.

At the moment of conception, the egg releases massive amounts of zinc, which creates a spark that can be seen with the aid of a microscope.

“It was remarkable,” said Teresa Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's medical school. “To see the zinc radiate out in a burst from each human egg was breathtaking.”

The research team had noted the zinc sparks before in mice eggs but had never observed the process in human beings.

“All of biology starts at the time of fertilization,” Woodruff said, “yet we know next to nothing about the events that occur in the human.”

One of the researchers, Northwestern chemistry professor Thomas O'Halloran, explained the science behind the process in 2014.

“The egg first has to stockpile zinc and then must release some of the zinc to successfully navigate maturation, fertilization and the start of embryogenesis,” he said. “On cue, at the time of fertilization, we see the egg release thousands of packages, each dumping a million zinc atoms, and then it's quiet.”

“Each egg has four or five of these periodic sparks,” O'Halloran said. “It is beautiful to see, orchestrated much like a symphony.”

Since the amount of zinc in an egg correlates with successful implantation and birth, the Northwestern researchers are highlighting that their research may be used to assist in vitro fertilization.

But that raises concerns given the grave moral issues with IVF, which involves creating numerous embryos that are either killed or frozen. Moral theologians also emphasize that IVF is an injustice even for the children who are born as a result, as they are created in a lab rather than in the union of man and woman.

The study may have far-reaching consequences the research team did not intend, such as strengthening public belief in the longstanding scientific consensus that life begins at the moment of conception/fertilization.

Many of those who saw the Northwestern video said it testifies to the beauty of life and the shallow lies that buttress the argument of abortion-on-demand.

“I saw this, and I was blown away by it,” said Rush Limbaugh on his nationally syndicated radio program Thursday afternoon. “For anybody in the mainstream media to openly admit that life begins at conception” defies arguments that an unborn child is only “tissue mass.”

Researchers released a separate video of the zinc spark taking place in a mammalian egg more than a year ago:

The paper, which is entitled “The Zinc Spark is an Inorganic Signature of Human Egg Activation,” was published by Scientific Reports on April 26.



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