Friday, April 25, 2014

Multicultural fraudster in Britain stole millions

A con artist who concocted an elaborate £3.5million mortgage scam to fund his luxurious lifestyle has been jailed.

Alick Kapikanya, 45, stole the identities of elderly homeowners, secretly seized ownership of their houses and then repeatedly remortgaged them.

As homeowners fought to reclaim their properties, Kapikanya travelled in chauffeur-driven limousines, stayed in luxury hotels, and gambled his fortune.  Once, he splurged £170,000 in a single night.

Kapikanya, who was today jailed for seven years, visited victims in Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Lincolnshire, pretending he wanted to buy their homes.

He employed a team of fraudsters to pose as the elderly and widowed homeowners, asking solicitors to sign over their properties.  With the help of bankrupt property developer Marshall Joseph, the gang secured million-pound loans against the homes from independent financiers.

The plot successfully netted £3.5million in loans, and attempted to secure another £3.3million.

Kapikanya paid £1million of the money into accounts at Mayfair casinos.

The scam started in March 2007, and went undetected for months.

Finally, one of the loans companies raised concerns, sparking a seven-year investigation by Greater Manchester Police to prosecute Kapikanya and his co-conspirators.

Joseph has been jailed for four-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud and a bankruptcy offence.

Three of the gang who posed as homeowners were convicted. Irene Perciful, 50, of Cambridge, has been jailed for 12 months after being found guilty of conspiracy to defraud.  Peter Tanner, 54, of Cambridge, was given a 15-month sentence suspended for two years, with 140 hours unpaid work.  Myra Trigg, 57, of Moss Side, was handed a 32-week sentence suspended for two weeks, with 80 hours unpaid work.  Another conspirator who banked £50,000 of the proceeds, Bruce Robertson, was jailed for 30 months.

Speaking after the conviction, widowed victim Gwyneth Cooke, 59, described her ordeal.  Mrs Cooke, whose husband John died in 2000, was diagnosed with breast cancer just weeks before the trial.

She discovered the scam when a solicitor told her she owed money on the home she had lived in for 27 years in Worsley, Greater Manchester.  She said: 'I was absolutely horrified.

'All they had were a few utility bills and documents and someone was able to get a loan on my house pretending to be me. 'I would never ever forgive them for as long as I live.

'I have the satisfaction of seeing some of them go to prison. But I think they should all have got 100 years’ hard labour with no remission.'

Sentencing, Judge Robert Atherton said: 'The homeowners in Walkden Road were either widows or widowers for whom their homes are very precious, particularly as they grow old and spend time with memories of life when they were not on their own.

'The sheer anxiety of thinking they may lose their homes must have been a serious concern.'

Ben Southam, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: 'When the defendants were arrested they had succeeded in defrauding various financial institutions of £3.5million, and had attempted to raise a further £3.3 Million.

'Each of them had their own specific role to play in this fraud, and all were fully aware of their actions. The mortgages and loans were obtained against houses they did not own, and without the knowledge of the real home owners.

'The true owners knew nothing about the loans being secured against their homes and were caused considerable distress and inconvenience to prove to the lenders that they knew nothing about the loans.

'We will also continue to make full use of the POCA legislation to ensure that criminals do not benefit financially from their illegal activity and we are currently pursuing the ill-gotten gains of Bruce Robertson, Alick Kapikanya and Irene Perciful.'


British  pub is decorated with Union Jacks because the flag of St George 'might offend people'

Customers claim a JD Wetherspoon pub hung Union Jacks on England's national day in case non-English people found the St George's flag offensive.

Drinkers at The Saxon Shore in Herne Bay, Kent, blasted the move as 'political correctness gone mad' after staff decided not use England's red and white flag in favour of the United Kingdom's.

When angry customers asked why the pub was decorated in Union Jacks, they claim staff told them that the St George's flag 'might offend'.

Dental nurse Sam Gurney, 29, said she was 'gobsmacked' after she saw the St George's Day promotion while drinking with friends at the JD Wetherspoon pub.

She said: 'Being quite a patriotic person, I thought "Oh my God, why have they got the Union Jack instead of the St George?"

'I asked the manager and she said, "don’t go there". Apparently it was the Union Jack or nothing - I was completely gobsmacked.

'She said the policy was there because of fears the St George’s flag might offend people, which is just political correctness gone mad.

'It annoys me because when it was St Patrick’s Day, they made a big deal out of it flying Irish flags, hats and shamrocks but yet we can’t celebrate our national day.

'The Union Jack doesn’t make sense as Scotland are voting to break away. I’m pretty sure they won’t be flying it on St Andrew’s Day or St David’s Day.'

After posting her disgust on Facebook, Miss Gurney received support from other drinkers.  Shirley Turner posted: 'Wetherspoons ought to be ashamed of themselves.  'St George is the patron saint of England, so for St George's Day fly the cross of St George which is the English flag. Simple!'

Katherine KJ Baxter added: 'Yet they’ll still fly the cross to show support to the English football team. How does that work then?'

Pub manager Hayley Bates said she understands why drinkers have questioned the decision to use the Union Jack, but said the pub had always used those flags.

She said: 'I can see her point, but we have always used the Union Jack to celebrate St George’s Day and it has never been an issue before.  'She started questioning it and she also said we should make a bigger deal out of St George’s Day than St Patrick’s, which I agree with.  'But I’ve been at Wetherspoons for eight years and nothing has changed in that time.'

A JD Wetherspoon spokeswoman denied the Union Jack flags were put up through fear of offending customers with the English national flag.  She said: 'They have got St George's flags up now, they were put up today.

'It was something which was done every year, it was the decorations they always had.  'Nobody had ever pointed it out before, so now they have changed the decorations. We like to please our customers.' 


Atheists should show 'liberal tolerance' to Britain's status as a Christian country

Atheists should accept that Britain is a “Christian country” – and show “liberal tolerance” towards it, a group of prominent philosophers has argued.

In a letter to The Telegraph, eight leading thinkers including Prof Roger Scruton, the philosopher and writer, insist that the moderate brand of Christianity “enshrined” in the British constitution actively protects those of other faiths and none.

The letter was published as Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, who is himself an atheist, said it was “flamingly obvious” that Britain is founded on Christian values.

Their intervention came amid a debate over the role of faith in modern Britain triggered by claims from David Cameron that the UK is still a Christian country, despite living in a more secular age.

In an article last week in the Church Times, the Prime Minister urged people in Britain to be unashamedly “evangelical” about Christianity.

But in response, dozens of writers, scientists and celebrities, wrote to The Telegraph accusing Mr Cameron of sowing “alienation” and “sectarian” division.

The group, led by Prof Jim Al-Khalili, the biologist and president of the British Humanist Association, and including Philip Pullman and Sir Terry Pratchett, the writers, accused Mr Cameron of causing harm by emphasising Christianity.

But in a response letter, eight thinkers including Prof John Haldane of St Andrew’s and Prof Nigel Biggar, of Oxford, argue that the special status of the Church of England, as established church, had itself actively fostered “liberal” values in Britain for centuries.

“Prof Al-Khalili and his cosignatories are quite correct to describe British society as plural and to say that it has benefited from the contributions of many non-Christians,” they write.

“Nevertheless, in important ways Britain remains a Christian country, as the Prime Minister has rightly claimed.”

The form of Christianity embodied by Anglicanism has, they argue, become the “public orthodoxy” and itself represents a “Christian humanism”.

“This Anglican establishment is liberal, imposing no civil penalties on non-Anglicans, which is why so many non-Anglican Christians and non-Christian believers support it,” they said.

Pointing to evidence suggesting large swathes of the population who do not attend church still identify with Christianity, they add: “It is understandable that convinced atheists will find this situation irritating.

“But a public orthodoxy of some kind is inevitable, and some citizens are bound to find themselves on the wrong side of it and required to exercise liberal tolerance toward it.”

Mr Clegg said: “I'm not a man of faith, but it think it's stating the flamingly obvious that we as a country are underpinned, informed, infused by Christian values.

“Christian heritage, Christian history, Christian culture, Christian values and I think that is something that is obvious about our identity as a nation.

“We are also a very tolerant nation, in fact one of the great Christian values is tolerance, respect for other people, other nations, other faiths, other views so I think our Christian heritage sits very comfortably alongside our plurality, our tolerance as a people .”

Nadhim Zahawi, a Tory MP of Muslim heritage, said: "People need to recognise and celebrate this country's Christian culture. "That doesn't mean it squashes other people of no faith at all.”

Alok Sharma, a Conservative MP, who is Hindu, said it was “nonsense” to say Britain is not a Christian country: “Christian values and organisations the backbone of civic society,” he said.  "The good they do is for everyone across the community, they help all denominations.”

Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said: “We'll leave it to other people to argue whether, in light of its pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon and Roman influences and post-Christian enlightenment influences, our law can be described as Christian.

“We'll also leave it to other people to point out that the shift away from Christianity and to non-religious identities is one of the biggest cultural shifts of today.

“Neither of these points is directly relevant to the purpose of Monday's letter.

“That letter made it clear that we respect the right of people to their religious beliefs but that in a very diverse society like today's we need to build an inclusive national identity not a narrow one.  “To try and make this instead a war of words about religion as such is a distraction.”


The BBC’s groupthink is an enemy to free speech

When Jeremy Paxman joins the growing chorus of those who criticise the way the BBC has become a “smug”, dysfunctional, over-blown bureaucracy, run by overpaid unaccountable apparatchiks, one might think that they are describing the European Union, which is doubtless why the BBC loves it. We are familiar with the main reasons why the BBC, for all that it continues here and there to make much-appreciated contributions to our lives, has come to inspire such hostility (“loathsome” was Paxman’s word for it)

Its higher reaches have indeed become a parody of that mindless bureaucracy so brilliantly satirised in its own recent series W1A. It is outrageous that 360 of its senior executives are able to pay themselves more than £100,000 a year, 130 of them more than the Prime Minister. It is perhaps not surprising that the overwhelming impression that the BBC and its presenters give to the world is that they seem to be so babyishly pleased with themselves; and one of the symptoms of this “inflation”, as the psychologists call it, is that the BBC, with its endless puffs and trailers to tell us what a wonderful service it is giving us, too often seems, au fond, to be about nothing more than itself.

But, as ever more people seem to recognise, the most damaging price we pay for the BBC’s near-monopoly of the airwaves is the way it imposes on our national culture its own, only too recognisable view of the world: its own narrow, one-sided, left-of-centre form of groupthink. On pretty well every issue of the day, the BBC has its “party line”, dictating what can and cannot be said, who it invites on and who it excludes: from the EU and global warming to gay marriage; from wind farms to government “cuts”; from Israel to fracking. This is to the point where too many of its programmes are little more than propaganda, put over by self-regarding presenters who frequently cannot hide their impatience with anyone who doesn’t agree with the groupthink.

There is one salutary way to see just how one-sided the BBC has become, and that is to listen to American radio talk shows. Some, described as “liberal”, parrot the same politically correct line as the BBC. But others, called “conservative” are everything the BBC isn’t. Appearing on some of the more intelligent of such shows, with spirited, well-informed presenters, I have more than once observed: “I can’t tell you what a relief it is to be on this show, because back home in Britain none of what we have been saying to each other would ever be allowed on the BBC.”

With ever more people suggesting how the BBC could be reformed, or its monopoly broken up, there could be no more effective way to show British listeners what we are missing than to allow a rival network, free to put over the kind of views and values which, at the moment, the BBC manages to exclude from the national debate – except to pour scorn on them, even though they might reflect views held by much of their audience. This would certainly give the British a shock, because it is called “free speech”, something which no body is more active in suppressing than that unutterably “smug” state broadcasting organisation we all have to pay for.

Ukraine crisis is EU’s fault

One phrase in a piece by one of our most prominent commentators on the great Ukraine imbroglio exemplifies just how the West’s preferred narrative for this shambles is getting the story upside down. Can the West, it asks, make “a last-ditch attempt to deter Russia from its imperialist ambition”? As some of us have long been trying to point out, the trigger to this crisis was not President Putin’s attempt to further Russia’s imperial ambitions, but that of the EU to extend its own empire, right into the heart of a region which Russians see, ethnically and politically, as very much their national concern.

It was the ambition to absorb Ukraine into the EU that finally provoked 96 per cent of Crimean voters to choose to rejoin the country where they belonged through most of the last 230 years. Faced with that hubris exemplified in David Cameron’s boast last year that he wanted to see the EU stretching “from the Atlantic to the Urals”, it is unsurprising that so many of the Russian-speakers in Ukraine’s industrial heartland would prefer to be ruled by Moscow than by some alien government in Brussels.

For 60 years the “European project” has been driven by its ideological belief that the evil of “nationalism” must give way to an undemocratic, unaccountable “supra-nationalism”. But by pushing its “soft power” right up to Russia’s borders, the EU has finally gone a bridge too far. The lesson it shows no sign of learning is that there is still a real world outside its own little bubble of make-believe, where the sense of national identity and national interest cannot just be steamrollered into oblivion.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Thursday, April 24, 2014

No, Israel Isn’t About to Turn Into a Theocracy

A misleading New York Times op-ed distorts the entire Israeli political scene

Today, the New York Times published an op-ed that attempts to demonstrate that Israel is drifting towards an Orthodox Jewish theocracy. Unfortunately for the paper, the piece instead demonstrates its authors’ profound ignorance of both Israeli domestic politics and Orthodox Judaism. The entire argument of the op-ed, written by the otherwise excellent Iranian scholar Abbas Milani and University of Haifa’s Israel Waismel-Manor, hinges on one key point:

While the Orthodox Jewish parties are currently not part of the government, together with Mr. Bennett’s Jewish Home, a right-wing religious party, they hold about 25 percent of seats in the Knesset. The Orthodox parties aspire to transform Israel into a theocracy.

As will be apparent to anyone with a passing familiarity with Israeli politics or Orthodox Judaism, this claim is demonstrably false. Not all Orthodox Jews are the same, not all Orthodox parties are the same, and not all Orthodox Jews seeks to turn Israel into a theocracy. In fact, many of them vigorously oppose such a move. The authors conveniently combine the ultra-Orthodox parties (currently in opposition) and the Modern Orthodox—or religious Zionist—Jewish Home party (currently in the coalition). Suggesting that these deeply disparate communities are ideologically identical is a dubious step, but it is necessary for the authors’ thesis, because Jewish Home holds 12 Knesset seats, a little less than half of the writers’ purported theocratic bloc. Without Jewish Home working with the ultra-Orthodox to impose Orthodox Jewish law on the masses, the op-ed’s entire scheme falls apart.

How inconvenient, then, that Jewish Home and its leader Naftali Bennett have been working assiduously to weaken the country’s chief rabbinate, and to break the political stranglehold of the ultra-Orthodox over Israel’s religious life. Back in May 2013, Bennett became the first religious affairs minister in Israeli history to order the government to fund non-Orthodox rabbis, not just Orthodox ones. (Until then, Israel had been subsidizing all religious communities except non-Orthodox Jews.) Jewish Home has also backed legislation stripping the powers of conversion and marriage from the ultra-Orthodox chief rabbinate, and giving them instead to local (and typically more liberal) rabbis.

These developments should not be surprising: Bennett is a Modern Orthodox Jew who served in the IDF’s elite Sayeret Matkal unit, made millions in the tech industry, and is married to a non-Orthodox woman. His longtime deputy, and the Jewish Home’s number five seat, is Ayelet Shaked, herself a proud secular Jew. Not exactly the stereotypical bearded fanatics of a theocratic revolution.

But the Times‘s distortion of Israel goes deeper than a simple misunderstanding of a single party. The op-ed fundamentally misapprehends the entire Israeli political scene, which in recent years has turned against religious entanglement in politics. After the 2013 elections, the arguably theocratic ultra-Orthodox parties were kept out of the government coalition, for only the second time in 35 years. Why? Because Jewish Home joined with the secular Yesh Atid party and demanded Netanyahu leave them in opposition.

This has enabled the current coalition to pass not only the anti-rabbinate reforms described above, but a law that for the first time drafts the ultra-Orthodox into national service, in an attempt to integrate them into the fabric of the modern state. All of these reforms have been boosted by Modern Orthodox Jewish lawmakers in other parties–like Yesh Atid’s Rabbi Shai Piron (also Israel’s education minister) and Rabbi Dov Lipman, and Hatnua’s Elazar Stern–none of whom support theocracy.

In other words, the idea that the ultra-Orthodox parties would suddenly join forces with their religious Zionist counterparts to impose Jewish law isn’t just risible–it’s exactly the opposite of what has actually been happening.

Now, none of this is news. In fact, the alliance between Israel’s secular population and its modern Orthodox contingent against the ultra-Orthodox–rather than some fantastical pan-Orthodox push towards theocracy–has been well-documented by none other than the New York Times. Just last month, Isabel Kershner wrote about the “culture war between the secular and modern Orthodox Jews and the ultra-Orthodox,” and how it was reflected in the popular push to conscript ultra-Orthodox Jews into the military.

If only the authors of the op-ed–and their fact-checkers–had been reading their own paper.


Belgistan? Sharia Showdown Looms in Brussels

Brussels is the capital of Europe. But some are now calling it the Muslim capital of Europe.  The graffiti on a building in Belgium says it all: "Welcome to 'Belgistan." Muslims are still a minority in Belgium, but in the capital of Brussels, they're already the largest religious group, comprising one-quarter of the city's population.  In less than 20 years they're expected to be the majority.

The most confrontational Muslim group here is Sharia4Belgium. Many don't take the small group seriously. But Sharia4Belgium head Fouad Belkacem, alias Abu Imran, sounded very serious when he told CBN News he expects Muslims to dominate Belgium and the world.

"The Sharia will dominate," Imran said. "We believe Sharia will be implemented worldwide."

Imran was completely open with CBN News, saying Islam and Sharia law are inseparable, and that democracy is evil.  "Sharia is Islam, to be clear," he said. "There is no difference between Islam and Sharia, it's just a name."

"Democracy is the opposite of Sharia and Islam," he said. "We believe Allah is the legislator. Allah makes the laws. He decides what is allowed and what is forbidden."

CBN News asked Imran about self-described "democratic Muslims" who are against the extreme parts of Sharia law.  "That's really funny when I hear someone say I was speaking to a 'democratic Muslim,'" he replied. "It's the same thing as saying I was speaking to Christian Jew, or a Jewish Muslim or something like that. It's impossible."

"How could you meet a Jewish Muslim or a Christian Jew?" he continued. "And the Muslim who says he's against Sharia, he's not a Muslim. It's impossible."

Like in many countries across Europe, a culture war over Islam is well under way in Belgium.

Last month, the mosque of Charleroi was desecrated when a pig mask was affixed to its gate. Then the daughter of the head of Belgium's right wing party, An-Sofie Dewinter, posed in a bikini and burqa with the words in Dutch, "Freedom or Islam." 

Someone later painted over the poster, giving her a full burqa. Dewinter received death threats.

On YouTube, Imran called her father, politician Filip Dewinter "a pimp" for letting her pose in a bikini.

"This community is a dirty, perverted community. We see that this community is breaking down, so we need to save this community like we saved it in Spain," Imran said, referencing the Muslim invasion of Spain 1,300 years ago.  "We need to save this community and enlighten this community with Islam," he told CBN News.

And Islam is flexing its muscle. Girls in bikinis have been attacked, and in some Muslim neighborhoods, Sharia law is enforced.

A 'Fascist Ideology'

"The big cities in Europe are first places we can see what will happen when the majority is Muslim," warned Sam van Rooy, co-editor of an important new Dutch language book called Islam: Critical Essays on a Political Religion. "We see it in the big cities: Brussels, Amsterdam also, Rotterdam and Antwerp," he said.

"Islam is a fascist ideology, and it's not a religion like Christianity and Judaism," he told CBN News. "The danger in it is that it has a religious side, not like Communism and Nazism, which are only ideologies, but Islam has a bit of both."

Van Rooy told CBN News he's very pessimistic about the future of Europe, warning the region will most likely go the way of Sharia.

Imran is looking forward to someday replacing Belgian law with the Sharia law, including amputation for theft, stoning for adultery, and death to homosexuals.   "A lot of people, when they hear about Sharia, immediately start thinking about amputations, stoning, killings. That's just, I don't know, one-thousandth of the Sharia," he said.

"Did you know that in 1,302 years of the Islamic state, with the Sharia implemented, we had something like 60 hands cut off, amputated? So in 1,300 years, 60 hands," he noted.

"Is that really a number that you can say is frightening to everyone? And if you're not a criminal, why should you be afraid of Sharia?" he challenged.

Sharia Showdown Looms

A showdown over Sharia is coming because the high Muslim birthrate is changing the political landscape. The most common baby name in Brussels for four years running has been Mohammed.

CBN News asked Imran if he thinks it's just a matter of time before Muslims are the majority in Belgium.

"Of course," he replied. "Even the disbelievers themselves -- they say in 2030 something like that -- there will be a majority of Muslims here in Belgium. Here in Antwerp in the schools, 40 percent of the children are Muslim, so no problem."

And Imran offered this advice to the white native Belgians who want to stop the coming Muslim majority: "If they want to push us back or something, I don't know, maybe they can start by marrying four wives and have a lot of children," he said. "Start with that and they will have a chance, but I don't think so."

Van Rooy also said he sees a Muslim future for Belgium.  "I don't think it's going to stop," he told CBN News. "I am very pessimistic. And I think more and more Belgian people will leave Brussels, so it will become a real Islamic capital in decades."

"I don't think we're very far away," Imran agreed. "The victory of Allah is very near. So, I think the West and Europe needs to prepare itself for a wave of Sharia and Islam."


I've never voted Conservative, but Scotland's anti-Tory hatefest fills me with shame

By Tom Gallagher

There is no end in sight to the Scottish hate fest against the Tories. Although 15 per cent of voting Scots regularly back the party, this grudge now easily compares with the fear and detestation of papists in John Knox’s Scotland which delayed the arrival of the 1829 Catholic Emancipation Act by a good number of years.

In 39 years of voting, my X has never alighted beside a Tory candidate. Held captive by romantic Irish nationalism during some of my student years, I was naturally allergic to Margaret Thatcher. But I failed to share the outrage of student mates over her bold decision to recover the Falkland Islands. I also admired her flinty stance towards the Soviet Union.

Later on, when travelling in Eastern Europe, it was not difficult to find people who declared that it was Thatcher’s resolve over the Falklands which convinced them that their own deliverance would eventually be at hand.

John Major struck me as a middle manager who had little idea of what he was doing, especially when hiving off chunks of the state to be run profitably but often with a glaring lack of efficiency.

Rule first by a glib and messianic freeloader and then a clueless ideologue with an ugly temper was not enough to give the Tories an overall majority in 2010. Since then, David Cameron has increasingly seemed like a reincarnated Ramsay Macdonald. He has ingratiated himself with a shallow metropolitan elite (now extravagantly liberal in outlook) to the fury of supporters, many of whom brand him a traitor.

This preamble is a bid to make it clear that I am carrying no Tory baggage. Which hopefully enables me to express my dismay at the monstering of a party that long ago ceased to enjoy hegemony over the great institutions of state.

The SNP and the Labour Party are in a race to see who can paint the Tories in the most lurid colours. The SNP of course is ahead because it is the most uninhibited force and Labour is linked up with the Tories in the pro-Union Better Together campaign.

Both seek to depict the Tories as a foreign organism eating off the Scottish body politic. David Cameron even partly conceded the point at Prime Minister’s questions on 8 January. He seemed to agree with comments made by Labour Scottish affairs select committee chairman Ian Davidson that the last person Scots supporting a No vote want is "a Tory toff from the home counties".

The Prime Minister said: "I accept that my appeal does not stretch to all parts of Scotland."

On 7 February, when Cameron gave a pro-Union speech in London, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister slammed him for lacking "the guts to come here to Scotland and make his argument". She described him as the "embodiment of the democratic case" for separation as a Tory Prime Minister.

But when Cameron brought his cabinet to Aberdeen in the same month, Alex Salmond took it as a provocation and convened his own cabinet just  a few miles away. He mocked Cameron for "fooling around on the playing fields of Eton", when he himself was allegedly performing stirring deeds in the Royal Bank of Scotland

In polls, a large number of Scots say that the prospect of a Tory continuation in office beyond 2015 will push them towards the Union exit. The Scottish media plays up to this anti-Tory mindset. Few commentators spring to mind who point out that Scotland has been sheltered from the Osborne-led cuts thanks to the block grant it receives from London remaining largely intact.

Derek Bateman was a long-standing BBC Scotland presenter who now, set up with his own blog, feels free to offer his view of England and Tory policies which presumably made him to toast of the BBC canteen in Glasgow. Here's a taste of his sarcasm:

Sorry for allowing your (English) policies to kill men in our biggest city in their mid-fifties – still it keeps pension costs down.

Sorry you (England) have so many shaven-headed louts with pit bulls on crime-ridden estates and have created one of the least equal societies on earth.

Sorry for thinking of you as stuck-up, effete, self-centred, unreliable t**ts when there is absolutely nothing in history to support such bigotry.

When Thatcher was pursuing economic policies that pushed fragile heavy industrial firms on Clydeside towards insolvency, Scots had the option of voting for independence. But very few did (I being one of those few in 1983). The irony is that if they opt for independence now, in far less favourable conditions than back then, they might find it hard to escape from a homegrown Thatcherism. Without drastically pruning a sprawling Scottish state, it is hard to see how economic viability can be acquired.

In March a paper written by John Swinney, the Scottish Finance Minister, conceded that a separate Scotland’s finances would be at the mercy of volatile oil prices and the mounting cost of dealing with an ageing population, leading inevitably to public sector cuts.

Ruthless operator that he is, it is likely that Alex Salmond would have no compunction in using the recently centralised Scottish police force to come down very  hard on any trade union activists and political radical who tried to block his economic house-cleaning.

But the time for hard-headed realism is not yet at hand. The SNP proclaims that it has no enemies to its Left. Impractical policies like re-nationalising Royal Mail are the stuff of SNP rhetoric. Plans are already afoot to compel large landowners to sell up (as likely as not to the SNP’s own house capitalists rather than to would-be small farmers).

The Tories are the diabolical "other". Their  baleful presence evokes rituals of denunciation, conveniently stifling any honest debate on how power will be exercised in the Scotland of the future. The emphasis on their foreignness, their education, their presumed arrogance etc is designed  to make it impossible to imagine Scotland remaining in a state where they wield any real influence.

This demonisation of a foreign "usurper" and its local agents fills me with shame and a fear for the future. As long as this rhetoric is endorsed by Scotland’s two main parties and left unchallenged by the media, it will create a dumbed-down xenophobia that will make it very easy for populists to ruin the country.

The anti-Tory hatefest (and indeed Salmond’s relaxed attitude to the roughing-up of Nigel Farage in Edinburgh last May) show the lack of interest that the SNP has in establishing normal friendly relations with Scotland’s nearest neighbour and chief economic customer.

It suggests that any alternative centre-Right party based on genuine national sovereignty and economic self-reliance is going to have a very tough time in a Caledonian Free State.

Russian depiction of neighbours as inveterate enemies has created an ugly atmosphere that could drive the world towards armed confrontation. The stakes are not as high in Scotland. But Salmond is fishing in the same choppy ethnic waters and using hatred of the English Tories as bait.

It is high time both he and Labour were asked to desist. If the First Minister put an end to the tribal anti-Tory rhetoric and conceded that a debate with David Cameron is pointless because the referendum is an all-Scottish affair, it would be an overdue improvement in political standards. But it remains to be seen if Alex the statesman can eclipse Alex the class warrior and patriotic tub-thumper.


Christian nursery worker 'sacked after refusing to read gay stories to children'

A Christian nursery worker is taking her former employers to court claiming she was sacked for her beliefs after refusing to read stories about gay couples to children.

Sarah Mbuyi says she was dismissed due to religious discrimination, having also been accused of “harassing” a lesbian colleague to whom she gave a Bible when she was recovering from an accident.

The case, lodged at an employment tribunal, comes amid growing concerns among some Christians that religious beliefs are being “outlawed” in the workplace. A Christian group backing the case says it is an example of believers being “robbed” of the freedom to express views.

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, has warned that “militant atheists” are attempting to impose “politically correct intolerance” on others. “We’re a Christian nation,” he insisted.

Last week David Cameron said Christians should be “more evangelical” about their faith and “get out there and make a difference to people’s lives”. But the Christian Legal Centre, which is funding Miss Mbuyi’s case, said his words were “failing to play out”.

Miss Mbuyi, 30, who lives in north London, carries a Bible. She started work for Newpark Childcare, a London-based group of four nurseries, last April, before being taken on full-time in one of the schools in September.

The same month a lesbian worker also joined the nursery, in Shepherd’s Bush, west London. After discovering that Miss Mbuyi was Christian she repeatedly asked her about her beliefs, the tribunal will be told.

Miss Mbuyi, now working at another nursery, will claim her colleague sought to provoke her. In December the co-worker spent time in hospital having had an accident at work and Miss Mbuyi gave her a Bible on her return.

The present, Miss Mbuyi says, was as a result of the interest she had shown in her faith. It was received well, she insists.

The following month, however, Miss Mbuyi, a Belgian national who came to Britain six years ago, says her colleague told her she had received abuse about her sexuality from religious people in the past.

During the discussion, Miss Mbuyi says she told the woman that “if I tell you that God is OK with that I am lying to you”.

At a disciplinary meeting, her employers accused Miss Mbuyi of “harassing” her co-worker, saying such behaviour amounted to “gross misconduct”. The co-worker could not be reached for comment.

Her employers inquired how she would feel if she was asked to read children’s storybooks featuring same-sex parents. She replied that she would not be able to read such books.

The Christian Legal Centre has instructed Paul Diamond, a prominent religious rights barrister, to fight the case.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the group, said: “Sharing Biblical truths out of genuine love and concern for colleagues is being outlawed in the workplace by a dominating cultural correctness. There is a culture of fear which closes down freedom of speech and the manifestation of faith. This culture brands the liberating good news of the Gospel as oppressive and regressive.

“The Christian Legal Centre is representing Sarah Mbuyi as the latest in a line of Christians who are being threatened by a movement to repress Christians from living out a genuine expression of their faith in a country which once led the world in freedom and justice.”



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Boys turning to action-packed video games because books are 'too girly' for them, says award-winning children's author

Boys are being put off reading because of the influence women have on children’s literature, says  an award-winning children’s author.

Jonathan Emmett warned that children’s books were too girly because of the influence of mostly female panels of editors, publishers, reviewers and judges.

One publishing company’s research suggested women bought 95 per cent of picture books for children, he added.

The writer believes boys are being starved of what they enjoy in books, such as swashbuckling pirates, battles, or technical details about space ships and so are driven to more action-packed video games instead.

'It is a really difficult argument to make because 99 times out of 100 it is women that are under-represented,’ said Mr Emmett.

‘But there is a literacy gap - boys are underachieving, boys do not like books as much as girls.

‘I am arguing that this is because the industry is dominated by female gatekeepers.’ The author and illustrator, a former winner of the Red House Children’s Award for ‘Pigs Might Fly’, looked at 450 reviews in five national newspapers.

He found 41 per cent of children’s fiction books were by men but more than two-thirds of reviews were by women.

Men were responsible for 47 per cent of picture books but more than 80 per cent of reviews were by women.

And he found for the past two years, every one of the 13 judges of the prestigious children’s book awards, the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals, has been women.

He also drew on personal experience, explaining how only two of the 50 editors he had dealt with were men.

One publishing company told him it carried out research which suggested women bought 95 per cent of picture books for children.

‘Mums and grans buy books - that’s what’s driving the market,’ he told The Times.  ‘They read the book also and then there’s a tendency for the book to reflect their tastes as well. So there may be a pirate but that pirate will not be engaged in a battle.

‘The number of times I have tried to get technical information into a book and it is deemed inappropriate.

‘It is one of the things that leads boys and girls with boy-typical tastes, to say “I am not really interested in that kind of content, I am more interested in the content of video games”.’

A gap in reading ability is already apparent between boys and girls by the time they are five, according to a parliamentary commission report.

This translates into a year’s difference in reading skills as they go through school.


This new breed of militant atheists are as intolerant as any religious fundamentalists

When David Cameron agreed to write a mild piece in favour of Christianity for last week’s Church Times, he can hardly have expected that he would stir up a major controversy.

A collection of 55 writers, broadcasters, scientists and academics have penned a furious letter to the Daily Telegraph accusing the Prime Minister of fostering ‘alienation and division in our society’ by asserting in his article that we live in a ‘Christian country’.

They claim that ‘repeated surveys, polls and studies show that most of us as individuals are not Christian in our beliefs or our religious identities’, and suggest that Mr Cameron is in danger of fuelling ‘enervating sectarian debates’.

Wow! You would have thought he had called for compulsory church attendance, whereas he wrote a harmless piece that will surely have offended no one except for a few metropolitan liberal atheists who reveal themselves as being astonishingly intolerant and — to borrow their word — divisive.

Mr Cameron’s declaration that we live in a ‘Christian country’ is irrefutable. Our constitutional arrangements are bound up with the Anglican Church — a fact dismissed by the angry letter-writers as being of little importance.

The Queen is Supreme Governor of the Church of England, 26 of whose bishops sit in the House of Lords.

But the connections go far deeper than that. This country — and here I mean Britain, not just England — has a Christian heritage. In common with other Christian countries, our laws are largely based on Christian values.

Much of the painting, literature and music of our nation and continent has been profoundly influenced by the Christian story.

I am not referring here to antiquated works of art that may seem to have no relevance, but to those which still offer joy and enlightenment, and can only be fully understood in a Christian context.

You don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate an oratorio by Handel or John Milton’s Paradise Lost or a painting of the Crucifixion, but you do have to grasp that they were inspired by Christian faith. They are part of a Christian culture.

Of course, it is perfectly true that in recent years church attendance has fallen sharply in Britain — more so than almost anywhere else in the Christian world. But it doesn’t follow that we have suddenly become a non-Christian country.

The 55 signatories are wrong to say that polls and studies have all shown that those with Christian beliefs are now in a minority. According to the comprehensive 2011 census, very nearly 60 per cent of the population in England  and Wales describe themselves as Christian.

Admittedly,  this marks a decline of some 10 per cent from the 2001 census, but it still represents not very far from two-thirds of the country.

I could offer a few tentative explanations for the drop in church attendance and decline of Christian belief: poor or non-existent religious education, the virtual disappearance of religious broadcasting, and the failings of the Church of England, which can sometimes appear introspective to the point of self-obsession.

Yet notwithstanding these powerful developments, the fact remains that around 60  per cent of people in Britain still regard themselves as Christian, even if most of them seldom or never go to church.

Scientists are meant to respect facts. The letter’s lead signatory is the Iraqi-born scientist and President of the British Humanist Association, Professor Jim Al-Khalili, while the distinguished Nobel prize winner Sir Harold Kroto also put his name to it.

Much of the painting, literature and music of our nation and continent has been profoundly influenced by the Christian story

How can men of science solemnly declare that Christians are now in a minority in this country when by far the most authoritative recent survey indicates that they remain, by a significant margin, in the majority?

The only explanation I can think of is that some at least of the signatories are zealots who, despite their scientific training, can be far more emotional and extreme in their thinking than the religious believers whom they hold in contempt.

Their explosive response to Mr Cameron’s gentle musings is proof enough. In several ways they exaggerate or distort what he wrote. For example, he was at pains to show respect to other religions, and stressed that ‘many atheists and agnostics live by a moral code — and there are Christians who don’t’.

Yet despite his article’s even-handedness and the absence of any notion of exclusiveness, the letter finds it necessary to emphasize that we are ‘a plural society with citizens with a range of perspectives’. That is exactly the point the Prime Minister was making.

The truth is that there is a new breed of militant atheists who are capable of being as unreasoning as the most bone-headed creationist. Their intolerance is a strange mirror reflection of the bigotry of religious extremists.

I do not say this applies to most of the 55 signatories, many of whom are unknown to me.

But I do recognise some habitual anti-religion diehards such as the philosopher Anthony Grayling, the writer Philip Pullman, the journalist Polly Toynbee, and the ex-Lib Dem MP Dr Evan Harris.

The wonder is that the biologist Richard Dawkins — the most devoted anti-religious crusader of all — was not signed up.

Such people are almost unhinged in their relentless excoriation and unceasing hatred of religion — which is why Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and others of religious persuasion should feel no less threatened than Christians by this dishonest little letter.

The atheistical zealot makes no distinction between Christian, Muslim and Jew in his denunciations of all religion as irrational and destructive. Christians simply make up a larger target because there are more of them in this country, but all people of faith should feel under attack.

Atheists are as entitled to their beliefs as the religious are to theirs. But they are not entitled to misrepresent the views of the Prime Minister, or to be tricky in their use of statistics, or to deny that our culture and law are steeped in  Christian values.

According to the comprehensive 2011 census, very nearly 60 per cent of the population in England  and Wales describe themselves as Christian

The 55 signatories have the gall to accuse David Cameron of divisiveness, yet it is they who are being divisive. Read his original article, and examine the letter, and decide which of them shows more signs of reasonableness and tolerance.

I’m sure he didn’t realise he would provoke such a storm, or find himself opposed by the kind of people whose support he might normally covet. The irony is that he is by his own admission an irregular churchgoer, whose faith is hardly rock solid. In that sense, he almost certainly shares much in common with many of his fellow countrymen.

Fashionable though they may be, and feted in certain quarters, the militant atheists, by contrast, constitute a small minority. However, they make a great deal of noise, and are extremely sure of themselves.

It’s evidently painful for them to live in a Christian country, but they do. However loud their cries, they can’t re-brand the one they inhabit, which has been shaped by the Christian faith in countless ways, and continues to be influenced by it.


Another British social worker b*tch

The nasty "social worker"

A father was arrested and banned from seeing his  daughter after a social worker falsely accused him of abusing the little girl.

Jonathan Coupland, 53, was handcuffed in front of his neighbours, thrown in a cell and interrogated for ten hours after Suzi Smith claimed she saw him sexually assaulting his daughter Jessica, then six.

The social worker is said to have made the allegation in a fit of pique after the single father criticised the way she was handling a custody battle with his former partner.

Mrs Smith, 53, later retracted her claims and Mr Coupland has been paid £86,000 damages by her employer, the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass).

The public body - accountable to Justice Secretary Chris Grayling and funded by his department - has sacked Mrs Smith and apologised to Mr Coupland.

But furious about his ordeal, the father-of-one has taken the matter to court, pushing for Mrs Smith to be prosecuted for misconduct in a public office.

He is also taking action against the police for false arrest and false imprisonment.

Last night, he told the Daily Mail: ‘I was manhandled by three policemen and dragged out of my house in handcuffs.

‘It was humiliating. My neighbours saw and parents at Jessica’s school turned on me.

‘It was a completely false story of lies but my daughter could have been fostered and I could now be in a paedophile wing of a major prison because of this social worker. I won’t rest until she faces justice for what she has done.’

Former painter and decorator Mr Coupland has raised his eight-year-old daughter alone. Jessica’s Thai mother, Kajchi Jiraekkaphob is an illegal immigrant.

He was granted custody shortly after Jessica was born in December 2005 but Miss Jiraekkaphob fought him through the courts for seven and a half years.

Cafcass worker Mrs Smith became involved in January 2012, when she visited the family at home in Spalding, Lincolnshire.

Mr Coupland claims her initial report, read out during a custody hearing the following week, was glowing. But four months later, she reported Mr Coupland to the police, saying she saw him touch his daughter inappropriately.

Mr Coupland believes she did this because he had accused her of acting unprofessionally by contacting one of his character witnesses during the custody proceedings – and he had asked for her to be removed from the case.

The father was arrested at his home a week later, on suspicion of sexual assault. He was handcuffed and dragged into a police car in front of neighbours, put into cells and interrogated for around ten hours.

His daughter was visited at her school by social services and interviewed by police.

Officers told Mr Coupland that Jessica would be put into temporary care but he begged them to allow her to stay with her grandmother. He was bailed but told he could not contact his daughter at his mother’s home.

A day later, police said they were taking no further action against him as Mrs Smith had retracted her allegation. He reported the social worker to police and she was interviewed, but the CPS decided not to take action against her.

Mr Coupland, who has finally seen off custody challenges from his former partner, plans to contest the decision not to prosecute Mrs Smith at the High Court.

She was sacked by Cafcass, the largest employer of social workers in England, for gross misconduct, but only left work six months after making the false allegation.

Mr Coupland said: ‘In the meantime she was still working in the courts, affecting children’s lives... It is disturbing that this person is paid to look after the welfare of children. She has done the opposite and got away with it.’

He said he is still viewed with suspicion by other parents at his daughter’s school and that many will not allow Jessica to visit their children at home.  ‘Friends have turned on me... I’m still being treated like I’m a paedophile,’ he added.

‘I thought the law in this country was “innocent until proven guilty” but I feel like I have been branded guilty until I prove myself innocent. It will be that way until Suzi Smith is taken to court and proven to be a liar.’

Mrs Smith confirmed yesterday that she was dismissed by Cafcass six months after making her allegation against Mr Coupland. She added: ‘Jon Coupland is a very complicated individual who I believe feels a great injustice has been done to him.’

A Cafcass spokesman said of the incident: ‘We regret that on this occasion our practice procedures were not followed.’

An internal investigation by Lincolnshire Police found its officers were justified in arresting Mr Coupland.

Detective Chief Inspector Nigel Storey said police were ‘duty bound to investigate’ Mrs Smith’s allegation, adding: ‘It later transpired that the allegation was not as originally reported to us. The male was released without charge.’


Muslims must accept Britain's Christian values, says former Labor Party Home Secretary

Muslims must accept that Britain is built on Christian values, a former Home Secretary has said, in the wake of mounting evidence that a group of schools have been taken over in a ‘Trojan Horse’ plot by radical Islamists.

It is “inevitable” that many Muslim communities will not integrate with the rest of British society but it must be made clear that attempts to isolate Muslim pupils from the rest of society are unacceptable, Jack Straw said.

The alleged plot by Islamic radicals to take control of a series of schools in Birmingham is the product of a little-understood power struggle between Muslim denominations, Mr Straw, the MP for Blackburn said.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of Ofsted, is to take personal charge of the schools watchdog’s probe into allegations that radical Islamists had sought to infiltrate the governing bodies of secular schools.

It is claimed head teachers were pressurised into segregating pupils, abandoning “un-Islamic” sections of the GCSE biology syllabus and neglecting non-Muslim pupils.

An anti-Semitic preacher who sympathises with Al-Qaeda was invited to address students at Park View school, Department for Education inspectors found.

At least six of the 18 schools said to be involved in the plot will be failed by Ofsted, a measure which normally leads to them being placed in special measures and their leadership team replaced.

Peter Clarke, the former head of Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command, has also been asked to investigate the claims by Michael Gove, the education secretary.

Mr Straw said Muslim parents must accept that their own beliefs cannot supplant the Christian values that underpin British society.

“The parents have to accept… that we also live in the United Kingdom and that alongside values that are religiously based, there has to be a clear understanding that this is the UK, and there are a set of values, that are indeed Christian based, which permeate our sense of citizenship,” Mr Straw told the BBC.

Society must “spell it out to them” that it is not acceptable to teach that non-Muslims and women are inferior.

He added: “We have a large Muslim population in this country, and it’s almost inevitable that people will tend to live in areas next door to people like themselves.

“We already have a number of areas where most of the children, and in some cases 100 per cent of the children, in the school are of the Muslim faith. That’s something we have to cope with.”

He added: “We have to understand that within the Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Muslim-heritage community, there are a lot of tensions going on. They are very different from those that affect Christianity, particularly in the last century and the century before that. There are power struggles which are badged and labelled in reference to different denominations.”

Khalid Mahmood, the Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, said the allegations of a plot were credible.

“There is most definitely a plot by a small group of individuals and the plot actually affects the majority of the Muslim community in Birmingham,” he said.

Park View Educational Trust said it had received “hate mail” after details of the DfE inspectors’ report were leaked to the Sunday Telegraph. It welcomed Sir Michael’s intervention, adding: “We do not recognise the accounts we have seen in the media as accurate or reasonable descriptions of our schools.”



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Liberals Must Choose Between Freedom And Fascism

Honest liberals are having their Andrew Breitbart moment. Andrew started out as a liberal, except he was the kind of liberal that’s exceedingly rare today. He was a liberal who actually believed in the things liberals say they believe in, like free expression and personal autonomy.

But they don’t.

Andrew’s change began when he watched the Clarence Thomas hearings. He saw a “high-tech lynching,” as racist Democrats intent on stamping out dissent among black Americans channeled their former Majority Leader/KKK Exalted Cyclops Robert Byrd in attacking the black jurist for refusing to toe the liberal line.

Andrews’s views didn't change. What changed was his understanding of who actually stands for freedom. And it isn’t liberals.

Which brings us to the recent kerfuffle involving popular comic Patton Oswalt. He is known as a sarcastic, snarky, underdog with genuine stand-up chops. He’s also an occasional movie and television star who recently had a memorable role on “Justified,” a conservative favorite due to its general awesomeness and the presence of right wing acting legend Nick Searcy.

By all accounts a funny, decent guy, Oswalt thinks of himself as a liberal, and he frequently bickers with conservatives on Twitter. That's fine. Many conservatives died to give him that right. Conservatives don't resent him for doing so even as they disagree with what he says. But that's not true of his allies on the left. They want to shut him up. You see, Oswalt pulled a Clarence Thomas and left the reservation without the chiefs’ permission.

What was Oswalt’s crime? He tweeted approvingly about a Mark Steyn column in which the conservative raconteur took on the global progressive assault on free expression. He made the mistake of characterizing Steyn’s forceful advocacy of free speech as “hitting it out of the park.”

That, the Left cannot forgive.

You see, Mark Steyn is evil. He has ideas liberals don’t approve of. So to cite him as he took on the left’s Ball Gag Caucus was simply unacceptable to the progressive conformity enforcers. Soon Oswalt found himself swamped by a tsunami of Twitter outrage.

Oswalt, stunned but so-far uncowed, tweeted back that his erstwhile allies were proving Steyn’s point. And he was right.

The challenge for honest liberals is to get their collective heads around the fact that the liberalism they think they subscribe to is being advocated and defended only by the very conservatives their prejudices and ignorance have led them to believe are undermining it. The real enemy of free expression isn't the conservative John Lithgow in “Footloose” banning dancing because of some idiosyncratic take on Jesus’s teachings. The real threat is the pseudo-enlightened schoolteacher on “Glee” enforcing his rigid progressive vision of diversity. And his vision of diversity is a diverse collection of those ideas he approves of and no others.

So is Oswalt going to stand up for freedom and take his lumps, or is he going to take the easy path of submission and obedience to the politically correct commands of the gatekeepers of liberalism?

It's a lot easier to submit, to not fight, to not make a fuss. What happens when you make a fuss? Remember John Lovitz? He’s another liberal who stood up to political correctness on social media. Do you see John Lovitz in a lot of movies these days?

Did Lovitz suddenly become unmarketable about the same time he became uncontrollable, or are people just afraid to be seen with him lest his new reputation for heresy rub off?

The temptation for someone like Oswalt, when faced with the braying mob of radical feminists, crypto-fascist academics, and assorted other progressive weirdoes, losers and mutations, must be overwhelming. It's so easy to surrender, to redouble your attacks on conservatives to prove you’re still one of the gang. All you have to do is hand over your autonomy and they'll give you a pass. Sure, it's humiliating, but who needs self-respect when you can guest star on “Two and a Half Men?”

Oswalt can submit, or he can face the fact, as must other honest liberals, that the side they think they are on doesn’t remotely believe in free expression. It doesn’t believe in free thought. It doesn’t believe in diversity. It believes in a crushing conformity enforced by a creepy Red Guard of politically correct goose-steppers with gender studies degrees, Twitter accounts and the burning need to bend others to their will.

We don't have to agree with what Patton Oswalt says, but the difference is that we conservatives aren’t the ones trying to silence him. We will argue with him. We will fight with him. But we won’t try to stick a rag in his pie hole. That's what his “friends” are trying to do.

Oswalt and other honest liberals need to decide who their friends really are.


Do Something about abortion

Mike Adams is advocating here what I have long proposed.  It is also what the Vatican's Cardinal Pell and GW Bush have also supported -- JR

American culture is in trouble. It is impossible to watch television for long without concluding that we are all living in one big reality TV show that is defining deviancy one embarrassing episode at a time. Unfortunately, the church isn't doing much to fight against the cultural current. By trying to be "relevant" the church is simply getting pulled into the undertow. Consequently, most churches are slowly drowning in the shallow water of our declining culture.

So how do we turn the tide and begin to have a meaningful church experience that also influences the culture in a meaningful way? The answer is that we must learn to deal with relativistic thinking in a proactive fashion. Take, for example, the issue of abortion.

No one wants to confront a woman who has had an abortion and tell her that she has just committed a profoundly evil act by taking an innocent life. So the natural impulse is to simply pretend that no evil act has transpired. Indeed, this is what most pastors do. They don't condemn abortion. Nor do they praise it. They just ignore it. In this way, the taking of innocent life becomes just another morally neutral choice in a society that is becoming increasingly incapable of making moral distinctions between alternative courses of action.

This trend must be reversed. As long as the church refuses to push away from relativism, the culture will push the church towards it. More innocent children will die as a result.

So what specifically is to be done on an issue like abortion? I believe the answer is to get churches actively involved in preventing abortions from happening in the first place. The best way to do that is to provide direct financial support to women who are considering abortion - and to make the availability of that support known to them well in advance of their decision.

If your church is doing nothing on the issue of abortion, please take the time to meet with your pastor. Ask him to prayerfully consider starting a specific ministry aimed at reducing abortions within the church and in the broader community.

By actively collecting tithes that will be directed towards paying the expenses (medical and otherwise) of women in crisis pregnancy situations, two important things will be accomplished:

1. The church will implicitly communicate that abortion is wrong by acknowledging that it is a thing to be avoided. But it will do so without slapping a scarlet "A" on the garments of church members who have had negative experiences with abortion. This will satisfy the more conservative members of the congregation who want the church to do something instead of remaining neutral on the abortion issue.

2. The church will also appease those who argue that we need compassionate approaches to the abortion issue, rather than focusing on legislative and judicial restrictions. This approach will satisfy the more liberal members of the congregation who want conservatives to do something charitable that doesn't involve "legislating morality" (as if it were somehow possible to legislate in a morally neutral way).

Of course, there will come a time when people ask questions about why the church takes a stand against abortion, even if it is merely an implicit stance. This is where education, rather than condemnation, should become the focus of the church. Note that 1Peter 3:15 calls us to defend the Gospel. I believe we should also use apologetics to defend the unborn. In fact, when we do so, we create new opportunities to share the Gospel.

My good friend Scott Klusendorf provides the best example I've seen of how we can defend the unborn in a way that draws people to the Gospel without harming them by shielding them from uncomfortable truths. He knows how to defend the unborn by relying on science and philosophy, rather than simply quoting scripture. That approach helps him share the good news every time he speaks on an otherwise difficult topic. Once they decide to do something to prevent abortion, churches would do well to invite Scott to educate their congregations on why they are weighing in on the matter.

Compassion is good, but pulling drowning kids out of the water isn't enough. At some point pastors must take a hike upstream and confront the ones who keep throwing our children in the water. Indeed, the true measure of our compassion is our willingness to confront injustice. And injustice toward the unborn can't be confronted by ignoring the central question on the issue, which is a simple one: Are the unborn fully human and made in the image of God?

If God is the creator of life then He alone has the authority to define it. Cultural definitions are irrelevant. So are the churches that refuse to challenge them.


As the tide of faith retreats here, it surges forward elsewhere

Charles Moore reviews The Essay: The Retreating Roar (Radio 3)

Probably in 1851, Matthew Arnold wrote a short, great and, later, famous poem called “Dover Beach”. It describes the view of the shingle by moonlight, as seen from a window. It is addressed to an unnamed companion, the poet’s love, whom he invites to listen to the sound of the pebbles “which the waves draw back, and fling”.

The waves remind the poet of how the “Sea of Faith/ Was once, too, at the full”, and has now retreated: “But now I only hear/ Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, /Retreating… down the vast edges drear/ And naked shingles of the world.” He is dismayed.

The journalist Madeleine Bunting took this poem as her starting point for a series of short talks for Holy Week in which she analysed the flotsam and jetsam the retreating sea has left behind. She is an example of the phenomenon – a North Yorkshire convent-educated girl from a strongly Catholic family, now “no longer a practising Christian” (she was not absolutely explicit about whether she has lost all faith).

Ms Bunting is a well-known, somewhat solemn Left-wing commentator, and I had feared a bit of a drone about patriarchy, imperialism and all that. The final talk did end uninterestingly with the unsubstantiated claim that we are now destroying our planet, but on the whole my expectations were pleasingly confounded.

The striking and original Bunting method was to select a series of Christian-inspired ideas, some of which, she admitted, she missed in the post-Christian world, and to ask what has become of them. These were: glory, sin, salvation, patience and sacrifice. She noticed that modern secular society employs inferior echoes of some – celebrity culture instead of glory, unredemptive self-loathing about body image, weight etc instead of sin and forgiveness – and jettisons others at a high cost.

She was particularly good on patience. She had given it no thought, she said, until she had children, when she came to realise that it is “a vital organising principle of life” and one which is being beaten out of women (who traditionally embody it better than men) by modern time-poverty (“speed and greed”) and the emphasis on worldly success. She pointed out that, from his hour in the garden of Gethsemane onwards, Jesus became entirely patient (hence the word the Passion) until his death, and through this achieved his glory.

Also sacrifice. Ms Bunting spoke of how a pregnant woman might lose hair and teeth and weaken her blood for the child she is bearing. She praised “an altruism beyond calculation”. With the weakening of such concepts, the springs of action fail. The loss of the idea of salvation helps explain the feebleness of modern secular politics, particularly the decline of socialism. She quoted Clement Attlee’s promise in 1945 that Labour “will build Jerusalem”, and complained that a post-Christian society could muster no “salvific vision”. She saw what she called “techno-optimism” as a poor substitute.

Although the continuity announcer said that Madeleine Bunting was speaking about “the losses and the gains” which have resulted from the decline of faith, she mentioned far fewer of the latter. Apart from her passionate assertion that Christianity’s attitude to sex had engendered “a state of chronic anxiety in followers” and involved a “deeply manipulative” abuse of authority, she said little about why post-Christian life is better, and much about how it is worse. What she persistently, eloquently identified in our times was a greater triviality and a lack of connection in people’s minds without which it becomes much harder to make sense of the world and live with dignity.

In the end, this series made no attack on Christian belief as such. Ms Bunting’s objections were to the behaviour of the Church, which is not the same thing. Indeed, when she made her objections, Ms Bunting was at pains to contrast the imperial Roman pretensions of the Church with the attitudes of the “itinerant carpenter” who got the show on the road. His idea of sin, she noted, was not of something that demanded punishment, but a more “generous” concept of “missing the target” or of trespassing upon others. Pope Francis could not have expressed it better. So by the end, I felt like putting to Ms Bunting a proposition so startling that she probably could not accept it and keep her job on The Guardian. Has she considered that there might be a reason why the concepts she analysed run so deep, cohere, and refresh the parts that secular ideas cannot reach? Could the reason be that the faith itself is true?

Attlee is supposed to have said of Christianity, with characteristic brevity: “Like the ethics: don’t like the mumbo-jumbo.” He was speaking in an era when the belief system was still so strong that this seemed quite a safe thought. Seventy or 80 years on, it has become clearer – as Ms Bunting showed – that the ethics may not be able to survive without the “mumbo-jumbo”. And that suggests – though obviously it does not prove – that it may not be mumbo-jumbo after all.

In her otherwise broad sweep, Madeleine Bunting did omit one interesting fact. She did not mention that the loss of faith is almost wholly a phenomenon of white, western European/American culture. Despite her dislike of imperialism, her approach very much sees our culture as the centre of the world. Yet there are more Christians (and Muslims) alive today than at any time in human history. Not coincidentally, their countries are growing while ours stagnate. The tide may have retreated on Dover Beach, but it is flowing up the rivers of China and over what the hymn calls “Afric’s golden sand”.


Stop preaching politics, Tories tell the bishops: Fury as church leaders use Easter speeches to attack government's 'sinful cuts'

Tories accused church leaders of playing politics last night for using their Easter messages to attack the Government over poverty and ‘sinful’ cuts.

In his sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury highlighted the plight of struggling families ‘left broken and weeping’ by hunger and debt.

He told the congregation at Canterbury Cathedral: ‘In this country, even as the economy improves there is weeping in broken families, in people ashamed to seek help from food banks, or frightened by debt.’

And the Bishop of Truro the Right Reverend Tim Thornton spoke of the ‘sinful consequences’ of the squeeze on local authority budgets.

The bishop, who sits on a committee looking at food banks, told Radio 5 Live: ‘Politicians have to decide how to allocate resources.

And in allocating some resources, you are then inevitably taking away from other people.

‘I am not saying it’s a sin. I am saying that some of these policies lead to effects and consequences which have sinful elements in them.’

The bishops’ comments come amid growing unease over the use of political messages by figures in the Church of England.

Last week saw a letter signed by 600 church leaders, including 36 Anglican bishops, calling on the Government to tackle what it called a ‘national crisis’ of hunger and poverty.

The letter cited the rise of food banks as evidence that ‘unfair and harsh benefits sanctions’ were causing people to go hungry.

But the claims contradict findings by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development showing food poverty in Britain has reduced.

Many argue there will always be an almost unlimited demand for food that is given away for free and that it does not necessarily mean people are going hungry.

Last night Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes, chairman of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, said: ‘I don’t remember church leaders in years gone by talking about the huge debt mountain this Government inherited, or talking positively about the number of people now back in work.

‘Of course church leaders can comment on politics, but they should get an appropriate balance.

Fellow Tory Douglas Carswell, the MP for Clacton, said: ‘You can’t criticise debt from the pulpit and then have a go at a Government that is trying to do something about it.’

Archbishop Welby left himself open to accusations of hypocrisy after it emerged yesterday that the Church of England still has financial interests in Wonga.

The Archbishop lambasted the payday loan company last year, only for it to be revealed that the church’s pension fund had invested money in one of the high-interest lender’s financial backers.

Church Commissioners continue to hold shares in the firm worth around £90,000.

But in a newspaper interview on Saturday Archbishop Welby dismissed the issue, saying he had not acted because he had ‘a million other things to do’ and was not an ‘investment manager’.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Monday, April 21, 2014

Franklin Graham: ‘At Every Turn, the Gay and Lesbian Agenda is Being Pushed by This Administration’

President Barack Obama, his administration, and many people in Congress are pushing “a gay and lesbian agenda” and, like Russian President Vladimir Putin, our Congress “needs to do more in protecting our nation’s children” from exploitation, said Rev. Franklin Graham, son of the world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham.

Graham added that gays and lesbians biologically cannot have children but they can “recruit,” and he believes in “protecting children, okay, from exploitation, all exploitations.”

Reverend Graham, who heads the international Christian aid group Samaritan’s Purse, made his remarks during a recent interview with reporter Tim Funk at the Charlotte Observer.

“Gays and lesbians cannot have children. Biologically, it’s impossible,” said Graham. The reporter then said, “Right, they can adopt,” and Graham answered, “Yes, they can recruit.”

When asked the difference between recruit and adopt, Rev. Graham said, “Well, you can adopt a child into a marriage but you can also recruit children into your cause. I believe in protecting children, okay, from exploitation, all exploitations. So that’s all this is about.”

Graham then referred to actions taken by the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin last year to outlaw the “propaganda” or promotion of homosexuality to children.

“I think I agreed with Putin, I think protecting his nation’s children I think was probably a pretty smart thing to do,” said Graham.  “I was very clear, I supported Putin in his decision to protect his nation’s children, and I think our Congress needs to do more in protecting our nation’s children.”

Graham continued, “Our Congress, our president, and others are going forward with an agenda – a gay and lesbian agenda and many in the Congress are following them.”

When asked what that agenda entails, Graham said, “Well, just look at where we are today. At every turn, the gay and lesbian agenda is being pushed by this administration.”

Asked whether he meant “on marriage, for example,” and Graham said: “Sure, of course it is.”

During the 2008 presidential campaign and his first three years in the White House, President Obama said he opposed gay “marriage,” but he changed his position in May 2012. His administration pushed to end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the U.S. military, opposed the Defense of Marriage Act, and made it an official element of U.S. foreign policy to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues.

There is a White House website dedicated to promoting the gay and lesbian agenda. It is called “President Obama and the LGBT Community” and can be viewed here. As it states, “This site is a tool for you to learn about how President Obama and his team are working to win the future for LGBT Americans.”

In his interview with the Charlotte Observer, Rev. Graham also said, “As far as persecution, I’m attacked all the time because of my religious beliefs, what I believe, what I say. There are people who are very quick to demonize you if you disagree with them: the left, the gay-lesbian movement.”

“If I disagree with a  gay person, then I’m a ‘homophobic,’ I’m ‘intolerant,’” said Graham.  “It’s not that I’m a homophobe, I’m not afraid of them. I’m not intolerant. I just have a different opinion, a different view. And it’s the same thing with anybody that disagrees with them. They demonize you.”


British civil servants sent on course telling them how to 'do God': Many don't know basics of Christianity

Civil servants are being given lessons on religion amid fears that many have no understanding of Christianity and other faiths.

In a sign of the increasing secularisation of our public services, employees across Whitehall have been urged to attend ‘How should governments “do” God’ seminars.

The events are designed to help officials ensure policies meet the needs of religious people.

Faith groups said it was astonishing that the civil service is so packed with metropolitan atheists that they have to be reminded to take into account the views of millions who are members of a major religion.

The seminars, which have been advertised across government departments, are being arranged by the faith team at the Department of Communities and Local Government.

They are designed to combat the sort of ‘biblical illiteracy’ which saw an Oxford Council official refuse permission for a traditional Good Friday Passion play.

As reported in yesterday’s Daily Mail, the official did not know what a Passion play was and thought it might be a sex show, rather than a traditional Easter performance depicting the trial, crucifixion and death of Jesus.

A flyer for the ‘How should governments “do” God?’ seminars, seen by the Mail, urges civil servants to sign up for them in order to ‘tailor your policy making to ensure it is responsive to the needs and perspectives of people of faith’.

It says: ‘The seminar is designed to boost what we are calling “religious literacy” among civil servants. Ministers have stressed the importance of government establishing productive working relationships with faith communities in policy development and implementation, in the UK and overseas.

‘Baroness Warsi, minister for faith and communities, has been clear that she sees it as part of the role of Government to set the conditions to be able to enable people of faith to manifest their religious beliefs openly and contribute to society.

‘This seminar... will focus on the drivers, obstacles to and benefits of departments “doing God” well.’ It adds that the idea is to improve ‘religious literacy’ across Whitehall and in the public sector in general.

David Cameron spoke this week of his own faith, saying that Britain should be unashamedly evangelical about its Christianity and let religion play a greater role in society.

Writing in the Church Times, the Anglican newspaper, he said he had experienced the ‘healing power’ of religion and Christianity could transform the ‘spiritual, physical, and moral’ state of the country.

However, his government has been accused by Christian groups of ignoring their concerns on issues such as gay marriage.
Gormless Labour council bans Good Friday Passion play fearing it's a sex show

Last night a source close to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: ‘The Labour government adopted an attitude of secular intolerance towards religion.

'By contrast, this Government strongly supports faith in public life. A little more education and training will help Whitehall recognise the important role than all faiths, including Christianity, play in our nation.’

Dr Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said: ‘I am daily dumbfounded by the depths of biblical illiteracy displayed by Britain’s chattering classes and especially by many in Parliament and our major institutions.

'Many members of this new liberal elite are simply intelligent barbarians; university graduates who know less about the basic tenets of Christianity than the three-year-olds in my wife’s Sunday school class.’


Half of foreign doctors are below British standards

More than 88,000 foreign-trained doctors are registered to work in Britain, including 22,758 from Europe

Half of all foreign doctors in Britain do not have the necessary skills to work here but can practise because the competency exam is too easy, a major study finds.

The majority of the 88,000 foreign doctors in the health service would fail exams if they were held to the same standard as their British colleagues, according to the research.

The disclosure will add to concerns over the reliance of the NHS on foreign doctors. The language ability of some has been questioned in recent years. The research potentially shows more wide-ranging inadequacies. Around 1,300 foreign physicians are licensed each year by the General Medical Council after passing an exam which assesses clinical and language skills.

But the study, by University College London, found that around half would fail to reach the standards expected of British doctors. Its authors have called for the pass rate of the competency exam to be raised from 63 to 76 per cent to “ensure patient safety”.

Chris McManus, professor of psychology and medical education at UCL, said: “There is no real mechanism for checking that doctors coming from outside Britain have been trained to the same level as British doctors. We wanted to find out what level overseas doctors would have to reach if they were to be as competent as British graduates. I think it’s inevitable that the bar will need to be set higher.

“The fact that you already have overseas doctors being over-represented at GMC hearings is indicative of the problem. Many are simply not trained to the same standards.”

More than 88,000 foreign-trained doctors are registered to work in Britain, including 22,758 from Europe. They make up almost a third of all NHS doctors but account for approximately two thirds of those struck off each year. The Professional and Linguistics Assessments Board, the exam they must pass to practise in Britain, is designed to ensure the same skill level as a British graduate a year after completing medical school.

But UCL discovered there was “no formal mechanism” to ensure the exam was as tough as assessments taken by British doctors. When researchers compared results they found that foreign doctors were consistently performing less well.

Around half of doctors trained abroad would not pass the most comparable British test, the report authors said.

“It may be that some overseas doctors have had poor training and when they come to Britain they will catch up quickly and thrive in a better environment,” said Prof McManus.  “But alternatively some may feel completely overwhelmed, particularly with new technology that they have not yet come across. And that is of concern.”

Figures from 2012 showed that of 669 doctors who were struck off or suspended in the previous five years, 420 had trained abroad.

The country with the largest number of doctors removed or suspended from the medical register is India, followed by Nigeria and Egypt.

In 2011 the GMC set up a working party to review whether the competency exam needed to be updated and asked UCL to compile research. The working party is due to report later this year but UCL’s findings have been made public after they were used to defend an allegation that the GMC was racist in marking the exams of foreign doctors.

The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin launched a judicial review claiming the GMC failed too many doctors from overseas in GP tests. But a High Court judge ruled against them this month after seeing UCL’s report.

Prof McManus said: “We’ve been through the figures with a fine-toothed comb and there is simply nothing to show that examiners are being racist.”

The Indian physicians’ association (BAPIO) said it was dismayed by the findings. It has called for a common test for all doctors. Dr Ramesh Mehta, its president, said: “We must drive standards up, but we need objective evidence and fair processes. We are foremost NHS doctors and want the NHS to be the best; this blame game is not helpful.”

The GMC said the research raised important questions and agreed that changes were “vital” for patient safety.

“We are determined to do what we can to maintain high standards of medical practice in the UK, regardless of where doctors receive their training,” said Niall Dickson, the chief executive of the GMC.

“That is why we are reviewing the way in which we assess the knowledge and skills of those seeking to practise here … This review, along with our decision to increase the score we require in our assessment of English language skills, will help us ensure that high standards of practice are maintained.”

The study, which is published in the British Medical Journal, also showed that doctors from within the EU fall short.

In 2008, David Gray, a pensioner, died after a doctor trained in Germany, Daniel Ubani, gave him ten times the recommended dose of pain relief while working his first shift as a locum GP.

Tougher language checks for European doctors come into force this summer.

Dr Maureen Baker, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners said: “In the interests of patient safety and fairness to international medical graduates, we recommend that the current Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board standard setting process is reviewed as a matter of urgency.”


The Distinct, Positive Impact of a Good Dad

Are dads dispensable? A lot of scholars and writers weighing in on fatherhood these days have come to the conclusion that they are. As Jennifer Aniston, for example, once put the point in the high-profile context of a press conference: "Women are realizing it more and more knowing that they don't have to settle with a man just to have that child."

Her perspective has a lot of intuitive appeal in an era where millions of women have children outside of marriage, serve as breadwinner moms to their families, or are raising children on their own. Dads certainly seem dispensable in today's world.

What this view overlooks, however, is a growing body of research suggesting that men bring much more to the parenting enterprise than money, especially today, when many fathers are highly involved in the warp and woof of childrearing. As Yale psychiatrist Kyle Pruett put it in Salon: "fathers don't mother."

Why Do So Many Father-Daughter Movies = Feisty Kid + Bumbling Dad?
Pruett's argument is that fathers often engage their children in ways that differ from the ways in which mothers engage their children. Yes, there are exceptions, and, yes, parents also engage their children in ways that are not specifically gendered. But there are at least four ways, spelled out in my new book, Gender and Parenthood: Biological and Social Scientific Perspectives (co-edited with Kathleen Kovner Kline), that today's dads tend to make distinctive contributions to their children's lives:

The Power of Play: "In infants and toddlers, fathers' hallmark style of interaction is physical play that is characterized by arousal, excitement, and unpredictability," writes psychologist Ross Parke, who has conducted dozens of studies on fatherhood, including a study of 390 families that asked mothers and fathers to describe in detail how they played with their children. By contrast, mothers are "more modulated and less arousing" in their approach to play. From a Saturday morning spent roughhousing with a four-year-old son to a weekday afternoon spent coaching middle-school football, fathers typically spend more of their time engaged in vigorous play than do mothers, and play a uniquely physical role in teaching their sons and daughters how to handle their bodies and their emotions on and off the field. Psychologist John Snarey put it this way in his book, How Fathers Care for the Next Generation: "children who roughhouse with their fathers... quickly learn that biting, kicking, and other forms of physical violence are not acceptable."

Encouraging risk: In their approach to childrearing, fathers are more likely to encourage their children to take risks, embrace challenges, and be independent, whereas mothers are more likely to focus on their children's safety and emotional well-being. "[F]athers play a particularly important role in the development of children's openness to the world," writes psychologist Daniel Paquette. "[T]hey also tend to encourage children to take risks, while at the same time ensuring the latter's safety and security, thus permitting children to learn to be braver in unfamiliar situations, as well as to stand up for themselves." In his review of scholarly research on fatherhood, he notes that scholars generally find that dads are more likely to have their children talk to strangers, to overcome obstacles, and even to have their toddlers put out into the deep during swim lessons. The swim-lesson study, for instance, which focused on a small sample of parents teaching their kids to swim, found that "fathers tend to stand behind their children so the children face their social environment, whereas mothers tend to position themselves in front of their children, seeking to establish visual contact with the children."

Protecting his own: Fathers play an important role in protecting their children from threats in the larger environment. For instance, fathers who are engaged in their children's lives can better monitor their children's comings and goings, as well as the peers and adults in their children's lives, compared to disengaged or absent fathers. Of course, mothers can do this, to an extent. But fathers, by dint of their size, strength, or aggressive public presence, appear to be more successful in keeping predators and bad peer influences away from their sons and daughters. As psychologist Rob Palkovitz notes in our book, "paternal absence has been cited by multiple scholars as the single greatest risk factor in teen pregnancy for girls."

Dad's discipline: Although mothers typically discipline their children more often than do fathers, dads' disciplinary style is distinctive. In surveying the research on gender and parenthood for our book, Palkovitz observes that fathers tend to be firmer with their children, compared to mothers. Based on their extensive clinical experience, and a longitudinal study of 17 stay-at-home fathers, Kyle Pruett and psychologist Marsha Kline Pruett agree. In Partnership Parenting they write, "Fathers tend to be more willing than mothers to confront their children and enforce discipline, leaving their children with the impression that they in fact have more authority." By contrast, mothers are more likely to reason with their children, to be flexible in disciplinary situations, and to rely on their emotional ties to a child to encourage her to behave. In their view, mothers and fathers working together as co-parents offer a diverse yet balanced approach to discipline.

The Difference Good Dads Make

The contributions that fathers make to their children's lives can be seen in three areas: teenage delinquency, pregnancy, and depression. Here, to illustrate the connection between fatherhood and child well-being, I compare adolescent boys and girls who fall into one of four categories: those living in an intact, married family with a high-quality relationship with their father (top third), or an average-quality relationship with their father (middle third), or a low-quality relationship with him (bottom third), or living in a single-mother family. Relationship quality was measured by a scale of three items tapping a child's assessment of his father's warmth, communication skill, and overall relationship quality.

Delinquency: Boys who enjoy average and especially high-quality relationships with their fathers in an intact family are less likely to engage in delinquent behavior. For instance, boys who enjoy high-quality relationships with their fathers are about half as likely to be delinquent, compared to boys being raised by single mothers or by fathers in intact families who only have low-quality relationships with them.

Teenage Pregnancy: Dads also seem to matter for daughters. Here, teenage girls living with their father in an intact family and enjoying at least an average-quality relationship with him are about half as likely to become pregnant as teenagers, compared to girls living with a single mother, or who only have a low-quality relationship with their father in an intact family.

Depression: And for both boys and girls, a high-quality relationship with dad is associated with less depression. Such teenagers are less than half as likely to end up depressed, compared to their peers in single-mother households, or intact homes where dad only has a low-quality relationship with them. (Note also that most of these associations remain statistically significant after controlling for maternal education, household income, race/ethnicity, and respondent's age.)

The story told by this data, then, suggests that there is a case to make against the fathers who fail to have good-enough relationships with their children. At least on these outcomes, single mothers do about as well for their children, compared to dads who have poor-quality relationships with their children. By contrast, great, and even good-enough dads, appear to make a real difference in their children's lives.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here