Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Post below recycled from Dan Mandel's blog -- which see for links

For much of the Western media, "militants" is the preferred terminology for describing terrorists who deliberately and routinely murder civilians for much of the Western media. The practice, as I argued in a November 2004 piece in the Baltimore Sun, started with exempting Palestinians murdering Israelis from this designation, then spread more widely to include other Muslim groups attacking Western civilians.

Thus, as the blogger Adloya has elaborated so well, the BBC defended its policy of not referring to perpetrators of the 2004 Madrid bombings as terrorists by arguing moral equivalence ("One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter") and the spurious impartiality that comes with it. (Spurious, because the refusal to describe things as they are is itself a value judgement - namely, that terrorism cannot be said to exist. This tied the BBC in knots when home-grown terrorists perpetrated the 7 July 2005 London bombings, because the BBC website did at first describe the perpetrators as "terrorists". Confronted with its own inconsistency, the BBC did not review its policy; it merely removed the "terrorist" word retrospectively from its reports of the London attacks. Foolish consistency, as Emerson knew, is the hobgoblin of little minds.

Now, Reuters manages a new level of obfuscation. In its 28 March report on American funding to the tune of $59 million for the presidential guard of Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, Reuters notes that members of force "will be screened in advance for militant ties." Actually, they won't be; they'll be screened for terrorist ties, as a moment's thought would suggest - for if the people involved merely indulged in pushing and shoving, not murdering and maiming, they'd be no reason to screen or withhold anything. Yet another example of the incoherence that results from the mechanistic amorality of Reuters' choice of language.

One last thought: whether or not one is fighting for freedom tells us nothing about the validity of the methods used. As terrorist expert Boaz Ganor put it to me in an August 2002 interview, "When you deliberately choose to attack civilians, you cannot say any more, `I am not a terrorist because I am a freedom fighter.' Maybe you are a freedom fighter, but you are also definitely a terrorist."

Canada: No Right to Freedom of Conscience for Catholic Federal Civil Service Union Member

Decision called "chilling" in its implications for religious expression in Canada

Personal opposition to her union's support of the homosexual creed is not sufficient reason for a devout Catholic federal civil servant to withhold union dues, an Ontario court ruled on Friday. The National Post reports that Susan Comstock, a Catholic and senior intergovernmental relations officer with the Indian Affairs Department, has lost her bid to have her union recognize her right to freedom of conscience. Comstock had argued that the support of the homosexual political agenda by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) violated her right to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. She had proposed to divert her union dues, about $800 a year, to charity.

She argued that a collective agreement clause adopted by the union allows members to donate their dues to charity when they are members of a religious organization "whose doctrine prevents him or her as a matter of conscience from making financial contributions to an employee organization." Despite the existence of this clause, Justice Frederick Gibson ruled, "the union's political or social causes does not force her to act in a way contrary to her beliefs or her conscience."

Comstock's lawyer, Phil Horgan, head of the Catholic Civil Rights League of Canada, told the Post the decision is "chilling" in its implications for religious expression in Canada. "I think it's indicative of a problem Canadians will have in addressing what is becoming a somewhat oppressive environment," said Horgan. "The reach of these decisions is only starting to be felt," Horgan added.

While PSAC claims to represent equally all its members, during the 2004 federal election campaign, the union declared "zero tolerance" for homophobia and "heterosexism," which it defined as "the presumption that everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is superior to other forms of loving."

The Canadian Human Rights Commission had rejected Comstock's complaint that the union's policy discriminated against her based on her religious beliefs. She said the policy "has the effect, at the very least, of making me a moral and social outcast within my union, creating the impression or belief that my contribution in the workplace ... is unwelcome, inferior, and of little or no positive value."

Comstock's attempt to have her freedom of conscience rights recognized was supported by her PSAC Local. Last May, PSAC Local 70160 voted with none opposed, to support a motion denouncing "the actions of the leadership of PSAC for failing to accommodate Sister Susan Comstock's religious beliefs by allowing her to divert her union dues to a charity."

Comstock said she hopes to appeal the ruling, citing the protection of religious freedom in the federal same-sex "marriage" law. Although the Canadian Catholic bishops praised the provision, many observers were more sceptical in the light of recent decisions that have largely disregarded religious conscience in cases of conflicts with the homosexual activist community. Courts and extra-judicial human rights tribunals have consistently found in favour of homosexual claims against Christians.


Australia: A Catholic organization not allowed to be Catholic?

THE ruling Catholic leadership of the St Vincent de Paul Society faces trial over alleged religious discrimination after telling one of its leaders to convert or resign as an office-holder. The welfare organisation, founded in Paris in 1833, may be forced to change its constitution in Australia because of the looming case in Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Tribunal, brought by former volunteer and local area president Linda Walsh, a Presbyterian.

Ms Walsh was a leading light in the organisation for more than six years, working full-time - as one of the 5000 non-Catholics in the society's 8000-strong volunteer force in Queensland - with refugees and migrants, and holding the elected position of president of three local conferences, or area groups, in Brisbane. But in 2004, despite being previously open about her religious status, the State Council of the society allegedly informed her that her "non-Catholic" status had become a "point of contention for some members" of the organisation. Ms Walsh said she was then advised she had three options: to become a Catholic, resign her elected position and remain with the society only as a member, or leave the society.

She has not worked with the organisation since. Instead, the mother of four launched legal action against the society, seeking financial damages for pain and suffering, and changes to the worldwide constitution banning non-Catholics from leadership positions except in extreme cases. The society last week lost its bid to have the action thrown out on the grounds it was "frivolous and trivial" and that the ban is exempt from Australia's anti-discrimination laws because it constituted a "genuine occupational requirement".

In its plea to the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal, the society said a worldwide review of its constitution in 2003 had stated that the "Catholic beliefs and ethos" of the organisation must be preserved. The society's state president, John Campbell, said the organisation welcomed volunteers and staff from "all walks of life" and that assistance was provided to anyone in need. "But presidents, vice-presidents and spiritual advisers must be Catholic to maintain the ethos of the society," he said. "The society is an international Catholic organisation that consists of many people who volunteer their time to do good works. Some do this to deepen their Catholic faith in a practical way, while others simply want to make a real difference in their community."

Ms Walsh's solicitor, Rob Stevenson of Nathan Lawyers, said there was no reason why his client should be excluded from leadership positions with St Vincent de Paul. "She was working full-time for the society, doing good work and holding significant positions," he said. "It was no secret she was not a Catholic - she had made it known when she began volunteering and before she was elected to these positions, and no one objected."


Britishness lessons 'fuel racism'

As one of the many Indian refugees from Africa, one might have thought that the lady below would see Britain as different in important ways but she does not appear to. Perhaps she should relocate to Africa or India to check her impressions. She did however get a standing ovation for her speech so it would appear that she is just a typical teacher -- with the blind Leftism that so often implies

The first ethnic minority president of the National Union of Teachers has said ministers fuel racism by ordering schools to teach "British values". London assistant head teacher Baljeet Ghale told the union's annual conference Britain did not have a monopoly on free speech and tolerance. The move only fuelled the "shadow of racism" behind some notions of Britishness, she said. A government spokesman dismissed her claims as "nonsense".

Ms Ghale, who came to England from Kenya at the age of eight, also criticised Labour's record on other education issues.

In January, the government published a report it had commissioned from Sir Keith Ajegbo in the wake of the London bombings, into how "citizenship" and "diversity" were being taught in schools. It said more could be done to ensure children "explore, discuss and debate their identities".

At the NUT conference, in Harrogate, Ms Ghale said Education Secretary Alan Johnson had described the "values we hold very dear in Britain" as "free speech, tolerance, respect for the rule of law". "Well, in what way, I'd like to know, are these values that are not held by the peoples of other countries?" she said. [Judging by what they DO, many countries do NOT follow such values]

It was another example of government making policy without talking to those it would most affect. She wanted an education system that valued diversity and accepted her right to support Tottenham Hotspur - but France in the European Cup, Brazil in the World Cup, Kenya in the Olympics and India in cricket but England in the Ashes. She went on: "I certainly don't pass Tebbit's cricket test but none of my affiliations make me a less valuable person or less committed to being part of this society, but they do make me a global citizen."

For some people, racism lay behind notions of what it meant to be British, she said. The government's move was not about integration, participation or national pride but failure to assimilate or who should be here in the first place. "To demand that people conform to an imposed view of Britishness only fuels that racism," Ms Ghale said.

A spokesman for the Department of Education and Skills said: "It is nonsense to suggest that learning British values in citizenship classes - based on a major independent review by respected former headteacher Sir Keith Ajegbo - has anything to do with racism. "On the contrary, teenagers learning about shared British history is one of the essential building blocks of community cohesion. "Sir Keith's report in January concluded that all children should be taught core British values such as tolerance, freedom of speech and justice and included a series of recommendations aimed at improving community cohesion and helping children understand both diversity and identity."

In her wider attack on Labour's record, the NUT president gave examples of failures in the school rebuilding programme, such as a new roof on part of a school being removed because the supplier had not been paid. She said the money being spent on academies should be spread more widely around the system and she highlighted the smaller class sizes enjoyed by pupils in Cuba.

She called for the end of national testing and league tables and accused the government of having a negative and low expectation of pupils. "If the current government was marked with an Ofsted grading it would be given a notice to improve," she said. Its leadership and management was inadequate and change was required.



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, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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