Monday, April 05, 2010

British Leftist wants to ban zoos

A Labour minister has called for zoos to be banned, describing them as cruel 'relics of the Victorian era'. Charities minister Angela Smith said it was wrong to keep animals in captivity and called for a debate on whether the Government should close all Britain's 400 zoos.

But last night colleagues slapped her down, saying her views were personal and not those of the Government.

Ms Smith is patron of the Captive Animals' Protection Society campaign group, and earlier this year she boycotted an event because it was being held at London Zoo. She said some zoos 'tried very hard' to treat their animals well, it was in general wrong to lock animals up when their natural instinct is to roam free in the wild. 'It's inappropriate to keep wild animals in captivity this way,' she said.

'You can understand the Victorians who were amazed by what they saw when these specimens were brought back, because they couldn't travel - but now they can travel and they can see animals in amazing films and television documentaries.

'You can't shut down every zoo tomorrow, but you've got to set a point in the future where we don't bring in any more animals, then set another point saying this is the last zoo.'

She said she had received letters from children upset at the conditions they have seen animals kept in. 'It's partly emotional for me,' she said. 'In my mind I can still see a polar bear with its head swinging from side to side in a concrete enclosure. It's time we moved on.

'I'd like to get a group of people sitting down and discuss how we can end zoos, but we've got to be practical about it - there are lots of animals in zoos at the moment. No one's saying they should all be destroyed.

'We've made a lot of progress recently. If you think back to some of the tatty pets' corners we used to have and the little zoo we used to have in Basildon, we've moved on. No one nowadays finds those acceptable.'

The Captive Animals' Protection Society believes zoos are part of the entertainment industry and questions the value of the conservation work they claim to do. Zoos very rarely release animals back into the wild, they say, and keep animals - such as giraffes - that are not endangered. They say it is wrong to teach children it is acceptable to keep animals in captivity.

But zoos hit back at Ms Smith's comments. David Field, director of London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo, said: 'To say stop bringing wild animals into zoos just shows Angela Smith’s incredible naivety about why zoos exist.

'Yes, we have species like giraffes that aren’t necessarily endangered, but when people come to see the giraffe they learn about all the incredibly endangered species in the next enclosure.

'It has to be a balance. We would never be able to get enough people into the zoo to be able to fund all this [conservation and scientific] work if all we were able to show was the less exciting animals.

'A zoo has an incredible power to connect you directly with nature. It’s unpredictable and different. The animals will react differently all the time. It may just be that an animal stands right next to a child – and that’s a life-changing moment.

'If I got the chance to see the FA Cup Final live at Wembley or on TV, I’d watch it live. In the same way I’d prefer to see the animals live at the zoo.'

Ms Smith's comments caused anger in Government, with animal welfare minister Jim Fitzpatrick accusing her of straying beyond her remit. He said: 'Angela doesn’t have responsibility for this area. We’re not going anywhere near zoos.'

Tonight a spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: 'We have no plans to ban zoos. Animal welfare is of the highest importance and ministers have recently announced that they are minded to ban animals in circuses.'


An Easter People: The Centrality of the Resurrection

In recent weeks, some local governments and activist groups around the country have made headlines for attempting to remove Good Friday from municipal calendars in favor of the more ambiguous and inoffensive “Spring Holiday.” Not only is this evidence of the growing animosity towards the Christian religion in certain corners of American society, it also reveals a growing ignorance of (or disregard for) the immense significance of the Easter holiday to Christians. For the millions of Americans who profess Christ as their Risen Lord, Easter is not just another excuse to buy chocolate and send greeting cards.

This Sunday, Christians around the world will celebrate Easter as a memorial of Christ’s resurrection. If Christians are correct about what happened on the first Easter morning, then the resurrection is the single most important event in human history – much more than merely a “spring holiday.” If true, then in this single event Christ’s teachings were validated. He is the Son of God who came to earth as a sacrifice for our sins, and those who accept him by grace through faith will have eternal life. On the other hand, if the resurrection did not occur, then Christianity is a hoax and the claims of Christ were false.

According to some people today, however, whether or not the resurrection actually occurred is of little importance. Confronted with the bold truth claims of Jesus Christ – for example, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) – they try to obscure or avoid Christ’s declaration by saying they simply revere him as a great moral teacher, nothing more. If archeologists unearthed Jesus’ occupied tomb, it would not change their opinion of Christ at all.

Compare this mentality to that of the Apostle Paul: “…if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men…” (1 Cor. 15:17-19) Paul understood the centrality of the resurrection to the Christian faith. He avowed, “…if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (1 Cor. 14:15) If all we have is this earthly existence, the Apostle affirms “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Cor. 15:32) Paul understood clearly that ideas have consequences and that what we believe determines how we behave. If we believe that Christ is who he claimed to be and that he defeated death and the grave, we must live for him?in his presence, under his authority, and for his glory. But if all we have is this earthly existence, we might as well just live for ourselves because the grave is truly our final resting place.

In this age of relativism, tolerance, and inclusion, Christ’s claims of absolutism and exclusivity make many uncomfortable. It is deemed to be in poor taste to assert that there is only one way to God. Therefore, acknowledging Jesus as a great moral teacher is a convenient way of partially embracing him, while at the same time keeping him at a distance. But Jesus doesn’t allow us to have it both ways. Christ did not come to earth to merely usher in a new morality. C. S. Lewis explains, “…Christianity is not the promulgation of a moral discovery. It is addressed only to penitents, only to those who admit their disobedience to the known moral law.” In other words, Christ did not come to teach morality to those who are ignorant of it. He did not come to offer a new moral law. He came to save those who had fallen short of the existing one. Ultimately, Christ came to save sinners. (1 Tim. 1:15)

The Scriptures teach that salvation comes through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. In perfect, loving obedience to the Father’s will, Christ bore the curse of man’s sin. He paid the price of our salvation with his own death. Had the story ended there, one might think that God himself had been defeated, and that there is no hope for any of us. But the story does not end there. On Easter morning, light burst forth from the tomb. Christ conquered death and was risen to new life. Just as Jesus died a physical death, his physical body also rose again. It was the ultimate act of redemption, for in Christ’s resurrection, all things were made new.

For Christians, then, there is eternal hope in the death and resurrection of Jesus. With Christ we die to our sins, and in Christ we rise to new life. Christ has promised to restore all things; there is hope even for our aching bones and wrinkled flesh in the resurrection of the body. In that one historical event?the most important event in human history, when Jesus’ dead body was restored to life?the whole world was given hope that, in Christ, we too can live again. The reality of the resurrection is what prompted St. Augustine to declare, “We are an Easter people, and Alleluia is our song.”

Had Christ simply told mankind of the many ways in which we all fall short of God’s perfection, the life of Jesus would have brought only despair, not hope. Who could bear seeing the stark contrast between the perfection of God and the sinfulness of men? But Christ did not bring sorrow and despair, but hope. Our hope is an Easter hope: that in the face of death and deterioration, when confronted with the many sorrows of this world, Christ has triumphed over the grave. In conquering death, Christ promised to renew all things.

This is the one true and lasting hope. Without the resurrection, the Christian religion would be cruelly deceitful. And far from being a great moral teacher, Jesus would be a malicious charlatan. During this Easter season, we do well to confront the claims of Jesus Christ. We should run with Peter and John to the tomb to see if it is really empty. If it is not, then we should grab all the gusto we can in order to anesthetize us from hopelessness and despair. If it is, we can sing “Alleluia!” for the curse has been broken, death has been defeated, and life eternal is available to those who believe.

God grant that we might proclaim with the apostles of old: “He is risen! With our own eyes we have seen it, he is risen indeed!”


No Mr. President... You're Wrong

President Obama believes that there is little difference in the faiths that people hold. The basis for this, in his own mind, comes from a lack of conviction to his own belief in his own faith, and therefore the assumption is easily transferred to those of other faiths as well.

But lest you think I'm making assertions that aren't well founded, let me back up.

During his time in office, he claims to have replaced participation in a local church with getting little messages sent to him on his blackberry. Evidently God now has an app, and as such can easily fit in his pocket. He still has infamously not found, nor attended a church in the Washington DC area and he is nigh fifteen months into his Presidency.

Digging further on his lack of belief, however, if we are to understand him from his own explanations, the last church he did attend was “pastored” by Dr. Jeremiah Wright. This was the same Afro-centric racist, "brother of the cloth,” that President Obama denounced in his run for Presidency. He denounced him for supposedly beginning to spout a whole new line of racist rhetoric, flat out lies, and distortions that while Obama "attended" faithfully for twenty years, Wright had somehow kept hidden from him.

Wright had even kept those core convictions from Obama while Wright was mentoring the young family man, baptizing his two daughters, and acting as a family pastor to the Obamas. Yet if we are to understand Obama correctly, either he had never heard the core convictions of Wright's racism preached from the pulpit, or somehow, in all the meaningful mentoring talks they had engaged in since young Obama moved to Chicago, Wright had avoided discussing them.

I find both hard to believe since there are hours of video tape of Wright screaming the garbage at the top of his lungs.

The President has attempted to be as pragmatic in his approach to faith as he has been towards foreign policy. To be blunt, constantly kicking in Israel's teeth on one hand, while going to the University in Cairo and telling the Muslim world that America shared their values on the other.

Woah big fella--female subjugation, stoning to death women who have been raped, and even female genital mutilation have nothing to do with American values.

And in this week's radio address to the nation, the President did it again. He showed either a lack of sophistication that faiths are all different, or he purposefully intends to make them such, drawing them all into--not the family of God--but the “family of man."

In honesty Obama, wants little of organized faith to be present in today's national culture. Oh sure getting the little first daughters all decked out in their new Easter dresses and letting them scurry for eggs on the White House lawn is fun and all, but anything more "faith-based" than that and we're going to have problems.

That's why he didn't just not attend a White House National Day of Prayer and Remembrance last year... He canceled it. Those people of faith are the ones causing all the problems after all.

They don't trust his government schemes because they'd prefer to keep more of their own dollars and be able to give more generously to the missions and causes they believe in.

They don't trust his view of caring for the "least of these" because every time the President attempts to, it creates worsening conditions for those who are the least.

They don't trust his view of what is sacred, because President Obama believes it's somehow moral to allow a born infant to die of starvation on the shelf of a soiled utility closet in a hospital named "Christ."

They don't trust his view of morality because he's desiring to put homosexuals in the same bunks with soldiers they are attracted to. Yet he seems to think that men lockering with women would be a problem.

They don't trust his judgement because he seems to trust others whose judgement is not even debatable. (Wright, Wallis, Ahmedinejad, Chavez) He also openly defies the sound judgement of our allies.

Mr. President there is a world of difference between the moral code of Islam, and that of Jews and Christians. Even the debate between Judaism and Christianity is an important one as the two groups couldn't be more apart on the fundamental understanding of redemption, the Messiah, and what is to come.

Your ignorance in attempting to sweep it all together and tie it up in a bow is as pathetic and dishonest as nearly any policy move you've made. (And that's admitting a great deal!)

Finally, towards the end of your radio address this week you claimed that religious faith had been openly practiced in every corner of the world for thousands of years. Mr. President, this simply isn't true.

Jews were put to death in the 30's and 40's for identifying their faith and practicing it even in secret. And for the better part of 70 years throughout the Soviet block of nations the same could be said for genuine Christianity.

And in many ways this exact persecution continues in Somalia, the Sudan, sub-saharan Africa, and for much of Asia and the middle and far east.

So Mr. President your assertions and statements in this week's radio address were either grotesquely ignorant or purposefully dishonest. Which was it sir?


Obama Removes Jesus from Easter Message

My friend Vince Haley, VP of Policy at Newt's American Solutions, wrote this wonderful piece for Renewing American Leadership about Obama deChristianizing an amazing sermon delivered on Easter at Iwo Jima in 1945. I pasted it below:
President Obama literally edited Christ out of his “holiday greeting” today when he excerpted a sermon given by a military chaplain on Iwo Jima on Easter Sunday 1945.

Below is the relevant paragraph from Obama’s holiday greeting today:

The rites of Passover, and the traditions of Easter, have been marked by people in every corner of the planet for thousands of years. They have been marked in times of peace, in times of upheaval, in times of war.

One such war-time service was held on the black sands of Iwo Jima more than sixty years ago. There, in the wake of some of the fiercest fighting of World War II, a chaplain rose to deliver an Easter sermon, consecrating the memory, he said “of American dead – Catholic, Protestant, Jew. Together,” he said, “they huddled in foxholes or crouched in the bloody sands…Together they practiced virtue, patriotism, love of country, love of you and of me.” The chaplain continued, “The heritage they have left us, the vision of a new world, [was] made possible by the common bond that united them…their only hope that this unity will endure.”

Their only hope that this unity will endure.

Now read below the same paragraph again, but this time note the additional bolded language that comes from the original audio of the 1945 sermon and its context, but which President Obama decided not to include:

There, in the wake of some of the fiercest fighting of World War II, a chaplain rose to deliver an Easter sermon, consecrating the memory, he said:

He has risen. With all due reverence, we apply these words to our beloved dead.

There are too many air call wings encrusted with the stain of their owners’ life blood, too many marine trousers upon the graves, too many symbols of American dead – Catholic, Protestant, Jew. Together,” he said, “they huddled in foxholes or crouched in the bloody sands under the fury of enemy guns here on Iwo Jima. Together they practiced virtue, patriotism, love of country, love of you and of me. Together they stand before the greatest soldier of them all – Jesus Christ, to receive the token of our triumph. For Christ has said: “Greater love than this no man hath then that he lay down his life for his friends.”

And so our beloved dead have gone from the world of hate to the world of eternal love.

The chaplain continued, “The heritage they have left us, the vision of a new world, [was] made possible by the common bond that united them in the drudgery of recruit training or here in the chaos of bursting shouts. Their only hope: that this unity will endure.”

And so our dead have risen to glory.

The American President is president of all the people, believers and non-believers alike. So when presidential messages are delivered to mark the special observances of major religious groups, it is understandable that a president will strive to provide some measure of explanation of how a particular religious observance honors values that all Americans can share.

But there are limits. A president cannot possibly hope to be a grand synthesizer of all religious traditions in the United States. Despite his skills, it is above President Obama’s pay grade to construct some kind of civic religion that stands above traditional religions and which should guide Americans going forward.

Instead of providing separate messages to Jews and Christians on the observance of Passover and Easter, President Obama said in this holiday greeting that “while we worship in different ways, we also remember the shared spirit of humanity that inhabits us all – Jews and Christians, Muslims and Hindus, believers and nonbelievers alike.

Obama then went on to say that “on this Easter weekend, let us hold fast to those aspirations we hold in common as brothers and sisters, as members of the same family – the family of man."

The problem is that when you start to water down what people actually believe in an attempt to construct a religion of the “family of man”, you start to misrepresent fundamentally the nature of the hope that is at the center of lives of believers.

In the case of Christians, Christ is our hope. Our hope is in the risen Christ, which we celebrate on Easter Sunday.

But if a president wants to water down religious beliefs in an attempt to find a synthesized religion of the ‘family of man’, you end up removing Christ from Easter, which is, strangely, exactly what President Obama did today in his Easter message.

Is this the first American president to dechristianize Easter?



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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