Famous actor presents petition opposing looser embryo research law
PARIS, France, February 7, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Monday morning two vintage Citroën 2CV’s left onlookers astounded when they drove up to the monumental steps that lead to the main façade of the French National Assembly, climbing onto the side-walk and parking right under the noses of the police force guarding the Palais Bourbon.
Out stepped a retired engineer, Stanislas de Larminat, and famed French actor Michael Lonsdale, well known for major roles in the James Bond film Moonraker, The Day of the Jackal, Smiley’s People, and Of Gods and Men. The pair bore a heavy cardboard box with letters to every one of the 570 members of the French National Assembly asking for a moratorium on embryo research.
During the last few weeks, over 11,000 people signed the online petition accompanying the letter. Larminat and Lonsdale symbolically handed over one of the envelopes to Xavier Breton, a deputy from de Lyon region, who is heading a group of representatives trying to amend the law in order to ban all research on human embryos.
Even as the pair were presenting the petition, however, research laboratories and top geneticists in France were preparing to push forward with embryo research. Monday morning, Axel Kahn, president of the prestigious Descartes University in Paris and Director of Research at the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM), said in an interview that research on the human embryo is “legitimate and necessary.”
“Even if I consider the embryo to be a person, that is no argument in favor of not doing research on it, insofar as we do research at every age of the human person: it’s the basis of medical research, no less,” he said.
As the National Assembly is preparing to debate a new bioethics law on Tuesday, many public figures, health ministers and scientists have been arguing that France needs a more liberal law so as not to be “left behind,” compared with other nations which have few, if any safeguards on embryo-destructive research.
At this morning’s press conference, retired engineer Stan de Larminat’s explained how the petitions came to be: “When I saw what is happening: that French representatives are being asked to approve a law that turns human embryos into laboratory material, I knew I must act.”
He explained: “I had no mailing lists. No backing. I just drew up my letter asking for parliamentarians not to make themselves to blame through an irresponsible decision, and sent it to my friends.
“When they liked it, and signed, I contacted ordinary people. I found a list of hotelkeepers: several signed up. People forwarded my e-mails on a person-to-person basis.”
De Larminat said that those who signed were simply “the ‘man in the street’” and that he is sure that the ordinary Frenchman does not want embryo research: “And that is the message we’re getting across to the political representatives.”
What started out as a private initiative blossomed into a full-fledged media event, with a successful press conference, national media coverage and the support of a well-loved and famous actor who decided to help on the sole strength of the demands de Larminat was presenting: “To save science and liberty at one and the same time, because liberty is power and power needs to be checked and balanced.”
Speaking to the press in front of the National Assembly, representative Xavier Breton said matters of scientific research in such critical areas should be decided by a nation’s citizens: “We are grateful, as politicians, to hear the people’s voice, it preserves us from being maneuvered by scientists and interested parties.”
Michael Lonsdale, who is known for his Christian commitment, said he participated in the event because he “believes in life.”
“Life is infinitely precious,” he said. “It is more and more exposed to modern research that is really mind-boggling. When you realize they are meddling with the very beginnings of life, it’s important to be very much alert. It’s a question of good life, of honest life, of life that is beautiful, and of not letting embryos to be exposed to God knows what manipulation. Because the Bad one is always present there.”
The revision of the French bioethics laws would, in the worst case scenario, authorize embryonic stem cell research completely. A less extreme possibility is that it would extend indefinitely the system introduced in 2004 for five years, which prohibits embryo research in principle but allows for exemptions decided by the French Agency for Biomedicine (ABM). The ABM itself officially promotes embryo research.
Several pro-life associations who today publicly supported Larminat’s call have pointed out that embryonic stem cells have yet to be used successfully in any therapy. The pro-life associations involved are the Fondation Jérôme-Lejeune, the Alliance pour les droits de la vie (Alliance for the Rights of life) and appelalaverite.com (“call for truth”). Together they represent tens of thousands of people.
The revised bioethics bill also aims, among other things to make access to artificial procreation easier for unwedded couples. It would widen the scope of pre-implantation diagnosis, and allow women to donate their eggs before having given birth themselves, with a perk added: part of the eggs would be deep-frozen for future use, when they themselves would feel ready for childbearing.
Please, enough with the cult of pop stars. Our kids need real heroes.
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.
Target boycott climbs to over 1 million
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.”
Amazing new video captures the flash of light the moment life begins
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.