Monday, December 20, 2010
European Commission criticised for omitting Christmas on EU school diary
The European Commission has come under fire for producing more than three million copies of an EU diary for secondary schools which contains no reference to Christmas but includes Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Muslim festivities.
More than 330,000 copies of the diaries, accompanied by 51 pages of glossy information about the EU, have been delivered to British schools as a "sought after" Christmas gift to pupils from the commission.
But Christians have been angered because the diary section for December 25 is blank and the bottom of the page with Christmas Day is marked only with the secular message: "A true friend is someone who shares your concerns and will double your joy".
While the euro calendar marks Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish and Chinese festivities as well as Europe Day and other key EU anniversaries, there are no Christian festivals marked, despite the fact Christianity is Europe's majority religion.
Roman Catholic lobby groups and Christian Democrat MEPs have already complained to the commission about its Christmas card for this year which bears the words "Season's Greetings" with no reference to Christianity.
Johanna Touzel, the spokesman for the Catholic Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community, said the absence of Christian festivals as "just astonishing". "Christmas and Easter are important feasts for hundreds of millions of Christians and Europeans. It is a strange omission. I hope it was not intentional," she said. "If the commission does not mark Christmas as a feast in its diaries then it should be working as normal on December 25."
Martin Callanan, the leader of the European Conservatives, accused the commission of being concerned about sending propaganda gifts to youngsters than the true spirit of Christmas. "Given that 2010 was the year when the EU was haunted by its own ghosts of the past, present and future, it comes as no surprise that the commission is turning into a bunch of Euro Scrooges. "Why is the commission spending money sending calendars to millions of schoolchildren in the first place? I'm sure that the children could manage without a present of this nature."
A commission spokesman described the diary as a "blunder" and said that in the interests of political correctness there would no references to any religious festivals in future editions. "We're sorry about it, and we'll correct that in next edition. Religious holidays may not be mentioned at all to avoid any controversy," he said.
No excuse for hating Christmas
Since the forces of good overwhelmed the anti-Christmas brigades a few years ago, the annual yuletide controversies have been rather muted. This year, the always-reliable ACLU threatened schools in Tennessee with doom if they promoted Christmas, and there were a few other atrocities. Generally, though, the traditions of Christmas are on display, bringing happiness to American children.
But dissenters remain. An atheist put up an anti-Christmas billboard outside the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey that reads: "You KNOW it's a myth. This season, celebrate REASON!"
You know, I would like to celebrate reason, too. That's why I support honoring a federal holiday that allows citizens a day off to think about a man who changed history by preaching "love your neighbor as yourself."
The view some liberal folks have of Christmas is interesting. New York Times columnist Gail Collins is a moderate lefty who says this about the tunnel billboard: "In this battle for the hearts and minds of commuters, the atheists seem to have been overly belligerent, although it is understandable that they get a little testy this time of year."
It is? Why would any rational person get testy about a federal holiday that brings joy to the majority of their countrymen and helps the economy, to boot? As a Christian, I don't mind the winter solstice people doing whatever it is they do. If it involves ice hockey, I might even participate. Why resent the happiness of others, especially if no harm is being done? That's not reasonable.
Some liberal people believe that Muslims, Jews and atheists might feel "left out" of the Christmas revelry. Well, I feel left out when folks eat onions because my stomach can't tolerate them. That's just the way it goes. Muslims, Jews, Hindus and most every other religious group have their own special days, do they not?
Jesus, I believe, would be shocked that his own humble birth has now become an occasion for attack billboards. The wise men would also be appalled. King Herod might approve, but he also might have executed the atheists involved just for fun. That's the kind of guy Herod was.
In the end, the anti-Christmas people are tiresome and petty. Christmas is about the birth of a child and the happiness of all the children who followed him into this world. The day is set up to create magic for youngsters and to steep them in giving and receiving. Fanatical adults should not be intruding on or interfering with the positive spirit of Christmas. That means you, ACLU.
Finally, there is a reason why Congress designates special days for official celebration. As far as Christmas is concerned, it benefits the individual citizen and the country in general to think of others. That is what Christmas is truly about. It's the reason for the season.
The soaring rate of 'no-father' families: Lesbian couples and single women rush for IVF in Britain
The number of lesbian couples and single women seeking to start a family through IVF has rocketed since the law governing a child’s need for a father was relaxed. There has been a doubling of lesbian couples undergoing fertility treatment, while three times as many women are taking the plunge into single parenthood.
Almost 350 lesbian couples underwent IVF treatment in the UK in 2009 – just after same-sex couples seeking to become parents were put on an equal legal footing with heterosexuals – compared with 176 in 2007 and only 36 in 2000. The number of single women undergoing IVF has risen still further, going up from 347 in 2007 to 1,070 in 2009.
IVF treatment resulted in the birth of 358 babies to lesbian couples over the past three years while the same treatment for single women led to 660 births.
The figures were collected by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the UK’s independent regulator of fertility clinics. Over the same time period the number of would-be lesbian mothers having donor insemination at registered clinics has stayed roughly constant at just more than 300 per year. If lesbians are fertile they can often conceive using this technique which is less complicated and much cheaper than IVF.
Many try for a baby using DIY insemination with donor sperm outside registered clinics or at foreign clinics, a group which may also be growing.
The legal changes affecting such families came in the 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, which allowed birth certificates to record two mothers or two fathers. The same Act scrapped the requirement for fertility doctors to consider a child’s need for a male role model before giving IVF treatment. Instead couples had to demonstrate only that they can offer ‘supportive parenting’.
NHS Trusts which deny lesbians fertility treatment while funding it for heterosexual couples face possible legal action.
When the law was changed many Christian groups and campaigners for traditional family values warned it would further undermine the role of fathers. Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, said: ‘It was always inevitable that removing the legal requirement to consider the need of a child for a father would result in a rise in fatherless families.
‘The change in the law had nothing to do with the welfare of children and everything to do with the desires of adults to subvert the natural order and redefine the family to suit themselves.
‘Research demonstrates that the absence of fathers has adverse consequences for children, for mothers and for society. Men and women are not interchangeable and fathers are not an optional extra. ‘If we are really committed to giving children the best start in life, we should not tolerate a law that denies children something as fundamental as a parent of each sex.’
Gary Nunn, of Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity, said it had produced a guide for gays on how to get pregnant using fertility clinics in response to increasing demand. He said: ‘Now the law has changed it has made it fairer and easier for them to get treatment.’
Stay-at-Home Moms are the Real World
Momma, don't let your babies grow up to be stay-at-home mommas. That seemed to be the underlying bias from a popular daytime TV show. It's not a new message, but it's one that may be changing.
"She almost made it," is how Barbara Walters introduced Rachel Campos-Duffy and her husband, Sean Duffy, a congressman-elect, to the set of ABC's "The View." Campos-Duffy, a former reality-TV cast member and now author and mother of six, had auditioned for, and come close to joining, the women of "The View," years before.
Walters went on to ask, "Did you ever think, 'I wish I had a career and I didn't have six kids?'"
Without hesitation, Rachel happily responded: "Well, being a mom is the best job in the world." She said this, by the way, while her youngest, 8-month-old Maria Victoria, sat on her lap.
Knowing that she was representing a lot of women who will never make the daily talk-show circuit, Rachel later all but apologized for not saying more. She wrote on her parenting blog: "I couldn't help being disappointed with my response. Not that it wasn't true -- being a mom is the best job in the world -- but I felt that a question as culturally loaded as this one deserved a better answer." What she may not have realized is that her witness was already as powerful as any longer response would have been.
Walters also pointed out that the Capitol tastemakers at Politico have dubbed Rachel and Sean the new D.C. "hot couple." That really is quite the testament -- if "hot" is now to be the mom who stays in Wisconsin with the kids while the tea-party dad commutes from cutting spending in D.C. (I'm not that hopeful about the social pages understanding this yet -- they may still be stuck on the couple's MTV "Real World"/"Road Rules" past.)
Rachel isn't new to the type of questions asked by Walters -- I doubt any mother of six in 2010 is. Looking askance at stay-at-home mothers, ones with many children especially, may be the sexual revolution's most acceptable bias.
Walters left it out of her intro, but Rachel knows so much about this problem that she wrote a book: "Stay Home, Stay Happy: 10 Secrets to Loving At-Home Motherhood." When I interviewed her about her tome earlier this year, Rachel explained what there wasn't time to say on "The View." After her second time trying out for the show, she realized that she was already "doing what God was calling me to do -- being home, taking care of my kids." Previously, she was in a bit of a holding pattern, "waiting for my next big break." But her oldest child was 5 at the time and, she explained, "I was starting to see the fruits of my time at home with them -- their manners and sense of compassion, the things that happen when you parent well."
At the same time, though, she confronted firsthand a culture that is extremely unsupportive of the choice to stay home. She admitted: "Even if we feel good about our days and choices, we still crave that outside validation." She's fortunate enough to have a supportive husband, but realizes that not every woman does. And it can still get lonely when people feel free to provide commentary in the supermarket line, as folks still do. "I guess I hoped that by writing this book I might in a small way help elevate this noble profession," she told me.
During our interview, she went on to say: "I have made a choice to fully enjoy my kids and this particular season of my life. It's a very conscious, powerful decision. In some ways, it takes more guts to buck the financial rewards and adulation that come from a professional career to pursue something so culturally undervalued as at-home motherhood."
Therein she hit on something almost as powerful as the maternal instinct: the backlash against feminism that we're living through right now. People everywhere are admitting to a growing discomfort with a worldview that insists that women should want to "have it all," that we girls should do anything and everything.
True, you absolutely can choose not to have children and still have a fulfilling life in other ways. But for all too long now we have -- in prep schools and pop culture and in our social lives -- acted as if the woman who is a media mover and shaker or business mogul is somehow superior to the woman who moves to Wisconsin with the man she loves.
Walters implied, in an almost perversely natural way, that Rachel's life was missing something.
Women who prioritize raising their children have no reason to feel inadequate to anyone. They've got our greatest natural resource on their laps. And there is absolutely nothing to regret; there's everything to love and enjoy. That's life in the real world.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.