Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Some religions are more equal than others

A BRITISH teenager whose teachers had stopped her wearing a "purity ring" at school to symbolise her commitment to virginity lost a High Court fight against the ban today. Lydia Playfoot, 16, says her silver ring is an expression of her faith and had argued in court that it should be exempt from school regulations banning the wearing of jewellery. "I am very disappointed by the decision this morning by the High Court not to allow me to wear my purity ring to school as an expression of my Christian faith not to have sex outside marriage," Miss Playfoot said. "I believe that the judge's decision will mean that slowly, over time, people such as school governors, employers, political organisations and others will be allowed to stop Christians from publicly expressing and practising their faith."

Miss Playfoot's legal challenge was the latest in a series of disputes in British schools in recent years over the right of pupils to wear religious symbols or clothing, such as crucifixes and veils. Last year, the Law Lords rejected Shabina Begum's appeal for permission to wear, against her Luton school's uniform policy, a Muslim gown. That case echoed a debate in France over the banning of Muslim headscarves in state schools.

Miss Playfoot's parents are key members of the British arm of the American chastity campaign group the Silver Ring Thing, a religious group which urges abstinence among young people. Those who sign up wear a ring on the third finger of the left hand. It is inscribed with "Thess. 4:3-4", a reference to a Biblical passage from Thessalonians which reads: "God wants you to be holy, so you should keep clear of all sexual sin."

During the case, Miss Playfoot's lawyers argued that the ban by her school in Horsham, West Sussex, breached her human rights to "freedom of thought, conscience and religion" which are protected by the European Convention on Human Rights. Lawyers for the school denied discrimination and said the purity ring breached its rules on wearing jewellery.

They said allowances were made for Muslim and Sikh pupils only for items integral to their religious beliefs and that, for the same reason, crucifixes were also allowed. But it argued that the purity ring was not an integral part of the Christian faith. [There is only ONE version of Christianity????]


Galloway suspended

Post lifted from Don Surber. See the original for links

The British Parliament will suspend George Galloway, The Times of London reported. Galloway finally pays for the kickbacks he received under Saddam Hussein's Oil-for-Food scam, in which Iraq bought off the UN (Kofi Annan's son was among the many frontmen).

Said the Times:

In 1998 Galloway founded the Mariam Appeal, which campaigned for the lifting of sanctions on Iraq. The appeal, which paid Galloway's wife and funded international travel for the MP, received almost œ450,000 from Fawaz Zureikat, a Jordanian businessman who was also a trustee of the appeal. It subsequently emerged that more than half of this money came from the proceeds of Iraqi oil sales. An investigation by the American Senate alleged that the Mariam Appeal was used by the Iraqi regime to finance Galloway.

American liberals have praised this crook repeatedly, especially after a lie-spewed spiel he gave in 2005. Daily Kos said at the time: "George Galloway is a member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow and stands (falsely) accused by conservative US senators of taking bribes from Iraq in an oil-for-food scandal. His statement before the US Senate is a truly righteous, withering, and devastating critique of the US position in Iraq"

Well, we can take that "(falsely)" out, can't we? The Kos reaction to the crooked, bribe-taking, lying, sniveling, self-important Galloway getting suspended for a month from Parliament? cricket chirp

The irony is the left praised this thief who raked in a small fortune by fronting for a brutal regime through an oil scam. Yet teh left cries "Haliburton! Haliburton! Haliburton!" at Dick Cheney, even though the vice president severed ties with Haliburton long ago. Indeed, the profits the Cheneys made from their Haliburton stock goes to charity. Since taking office, Cheney and his wife have given $7.8 million to charity.

The much-praised lefty Galloway? He took bribes from a fund meant to buy food for Iraqi children. There's your hero, lefties.

Adolescent motherhood a likely prescription for failure

By Julia Steiny

According to RI Kids Count, researchers estimate that if all of Rhode Island's teen moms had waited until they were 20 to have babies, the state's prison population would be down 11.2 percent. The sons of teenage mothers, they say, are 2.2 times as likely to be incarcerated. Crime is hardly the only issue here. Premature pregnancies increase all kinds of social problems, from dropping out of school to poverty. In fact, 1 in 10 babies in Rhode Island is born to teen parents, and of those, 85 percent are poor. Premature pregnancy is a big part of families getting caught in a vicious cycle of poverty. Many, if not most, of the parents of the troubled kids that I'm profiling this summer were teenagers when they began bearing children.

Dr. Patricia Flanagan, a physician, spoke recently about teen moms at Bradley Hospital, at the request of the Infant Mental Health Association. She is the medical director of Hasbro Children's Hospital's outpatient services and also directs its teen and tot clinic. She says, "We all bring lots of things to being a mother - personal histories, personal beliefs. Adolescents bring developmental constraints as well, and these constraints have very real consequences."

She says teen moms tend to fall into two types. One type loses herself in the child. The baby is an extension of the mom's life and personality. The other treats her baby like a doll, a thing, a prized possession - dressing the child up, showing the baby off. As one teen mom said, "I got something that's all mine, that nobody can take away from me!" In both cases, the baby isn't understood as a person in his or her own right, an evolving being with a unique future and a changing set of needs. After all, teens are in the process of forming their own identities. Though perfectly natural, a young parent's egocentricity keeps the baby's self from becoming entirely real.

Before adolescence, Flanagan says, "Young kids think concretely. They can be taught abstraction, and they can feed back what you just told them, but they live in the here and now. They have great difficulty taking on other people's perspectives, and they have trouble thinking about cause and effect." It's only in the course of adolescence that the brain develops the uniquely human ability to think abstractly, to put feelings and sensations aside, and to reason through issues. The brain's "executive function" doesn't fully mature until our early 20s. Until then, as Flannagan says, "The whole world is what I know and what I feel."

Parenting is tough enough without the handicap of being a concrete thinker. Budgeting to have enough money for diapers at the end of the month is abstract. Walking into an unfamiliar room and assessing the room's potential dangers to a child - hot coffee, electrical outlets, lamp chords - is abstract. Heck, the idea that I could get a baby nine months after a little fun between the sheets is too abstract to be completely real. Flannagan notes that adolescents believe that if you don't think about it, it might go away. "The biggest mistake everyone makes around teen moms is to assume that motherhood is adulthood."

So while the adolescent brain is still developing, teens need grown-ups to provide that executive function for them. Everyone would love adolescents to be conveniently independent about making great decisions in their lives. But they aren't equipped for it. Not only that, taking risks is also developmentally normal at this age. So their decisions need constant monitoring and adult input. This is time-consuming, embattled, frustrating work. Furthermore, teens often assert their new sense of adulthood by fighting with their parents, or ignoring them, so parents per se aren't in the best position to provide enough help and supervision.

Flanagan strongly encourages adults to engage kids in conversations about intimacy. But for heaven's sake, don't start by lecturing them on how to prevent pregnancy. "Start by asking questions about what they want from one another in a relationship? And what do they want to do for themselves aside from a relationship? Would you like to finish high school? Would you like to save the money to buy a car? What do you want? Allow the kids to talk."

Teens have no experience with risky social situations, so they wind up doing what their friends or would-be friends want. Flanagan warns, "A lot of sexual activity is not exactly happening by choice. Social power, not knowing what to do, not being in control of the situation, drugs, alcohol - these all affect choice. Help them think through choices beforehand."

The bottom line: Kids who have big plans and goals - who want to play piano in a band, travel in Australia, go to college or win a medal - are not the kids getting pregnant. But goals are abstract. Kids need tons of help formulating them, planning how they'll get what they want, and avoiding the kinds of social trouble that can prevent dreams from coming true.

If we really want to prevent premature pregnancies, we need to pack all of our kids' lives with surrogate parents, teachers and after-school activity leaders who can help kids figure out who they are and what they want. Increasingly, I'm amazed by how little face time most kids get with adults willing to listen to them.



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


No comments: