Thursday, April 06, 2017
British PM attacks 'ridiculous' National Trust over 'airbrushing' of Easter - now event is quietly rebranded
Theresa May has hit out at the National Trust for dropping "Easter" from its egg hunt, describing the decision as "absolutely ridiculous".
The Prime Minister said Easter was "very important" to her and that she didn't know what the organisation "are thinking".
It comes as the National Trust Twitter was bombarded with messages on social media from disgruntled members asking how to cancel their membership.
Now the Trust has admitted fault by quietly editing the heading of its webpage for the egg hunt to include the word "Easter".
Following this newspaper's coverage of the outrage over the event's rebranded name, it now reads: "Join the Cadbury Egg Hunts this Easter."
Mrs May was speaking in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, where she is making a trade visit. Mrs May told ITV News: "I'm not just a vicar's daughter - I'm a member of the National Trust as well. I think the stance they've taken is absolutely ridiculous and I don't know what they're thinking about.
"Easter's very important. It's important to me, it's a very important festival for the Christian faith for millions across the world. "So I think what the National Trust is doing is frankly just ridiculous."
Mrs May's comments come after the Church of England has accused the National Trust of "airbrushing faith" after it dropped the word "Easter" from its annual Easter egg hunt.
The annual event, which sees hundreds of thousands of children search for chocolate eggs at National Trust properties, has been rebranded to exclude Easter for the first time in 10 years.
Asked whether he agreed with Theresa May, the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "It upsets me as well because I don't see why Cadbury should take over the name, because that's what it's done, it's commercialisation gone a bit too far. "I'm a member of the national trust and I will be buying an Easter egg for my grandson."
National Trust members have threatened to cancel their membership
In previous years it has been called an "Easter Egg Trail", however this year it has been renamed the "Great British Egg Hunt". Cadbury, which sponsors the event, said that it wanted to appeal to non-Christians, saying: "We invite people from all faiths and none to enjoy our seasonal treats."
But last night senior figures in the Church of England condemned the decision.
The National Trust denied it was downplaying Easter and claimed Cadbury was responsible for the rebranding of the egg hunt.
A spokesman said: “The National Trust is in no way downplaying the significance of Easter, which is why we put on a huge number of events, activities and walks to bring families together at this time of year. We work closely with Cadbury, who are responsible for the branding and wording of our egg hunt campaign.”
A spokesman for Cadbury said: "Each year, our Easter campaigns have a different name and this year our seasonal campaign is called the ‘Cadbury’s Great British Egg Hunt’.
"It is clear to see that within our communications and marketing we clearly state the word Easter and include it in a number of promotional materials, including our website, where we do also promote our partnership with National Trust at this seasonal time of year. We invite people from all faiths and none to enjoy our seasonal treats, which can be found around Easter time.”
The Air Force Flies Over the Rainbow
Col. Kristin Goodwin, who is openly lesbian, has been nominated to become the next commandant of the U.S. Air Force Academy. She was included on a list of several military officers in an announcement from Secretary of Defense James Mattis of nominees for rank increase and position appointments made by Donald Trump. Should Goodwin’s nomination be confirmed, she would be the second openly homosexual service member reaching a significantly high position since Barack Obama repealed the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Goodwin’s appointment has greatly troubled former Navy Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, who heads the Pray in Jesus Name Project. He is concerned over the impact her appointment will have upon religious liberty at the Air Force Academy — a legitimate concern after the AFA’s “So Help Me God” episode. Klingenschmitt blames the nomination on Barack Obama’s appointees, saying, “Obama’s bureaucrats in the Pentagon are still running the show. Obama is gone. Why does he still have this power?”
While the announcement of Goodwin’s nomination in an Academy article makes no mention of her gender disorientation pathology, this may be an attempt to fly her under the radar in order to secure Senate approval later this year. In all probability, Goodwin was chosen by Obama lackeys in the Pentagon based primarily upon the fact that she is openly homosexual. In other words, it’s possible she was promoted to this position not despite her sexual orientation but because of it. This is all part of a continuing effort by the Left to fundamentally transform society and culture, and Obama’s effort to destroy military morale through social engineering.
The Goodwin choice also highlights the obstructionism game of Democrats to slow down the confirmation of Trump’s nominees. Continuing to have Obama appointees entrenched in the government will only prove to further hinder Trump as he seeks to implement his aggressive policy changes.
Reversing Another Obama Policy, Trump Pulls Funding for UN Population Fund
The Trump administration said Monday it was ending funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), long a target of conservatives over concerns that its work in China abets the communist authorities’ controversial population limitation programs.
The administration’s first confirmed cut to a U.N. agency will cost the UNFPA $32.5 million.
Its budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 calls for unspecified reductions to contributions to the U.N. budget, and further “seeks to reduce or end direct funding for international organizations whose missions do not substantially advance U.S. foreign policy interests, are duplicative, or are not well-managed.”
The move comes as a follow up to President Trump’s decision, three days after his inauguration, to restore Reagan-era policy that denies federal funding to abortion-supporting or promoting groups.
The State Department said the determination to cut UNFPA funding “was made based on the fact that China’s family planning policies still involve the use of coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization, and UNFPA partners on family planning activities with the Chinese government agency responsible for these coercive policies.”
The 1985 “Kemp-Kasten amendment” prohibits federal funding for any agency that “supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.”
The Reagan administration first withheld UNFPA funding under the amendment in 1986, and the first Bush administration followed suit in 1989. President Clinton restored the funding in 1993, before President George W. Bush defunded the UNFPA from 2002 to 2008, in a move costing the U.N. organization a total of some $244 million.
President Obama restored funding soon after taking office. In FY 2016 it gave $67.88 million to the agency in assessed and voluntary contributions.
The UNFPA has long denied that its work in China supports Beijing’s efforts to curb population growth through the “one-child” and subsequent “two-child” policies, which critics say are characterized by coercive measures such as forced abortion and sterilization. It did so again on Monday in a statement regretting the administration’s decision.
“This decision is based on the erroneous claim that UNFPA ‘supports, or participates in the management of, a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization’ in China,” it said. “UNFPA refutes this claim, as all of its work promotes the human rights of individuals and couples to make their own decisions, free of coercion or discrimination.”
The agency said it was being denied U.S. funding for “its life-saving work the world over.”
“The support we received over the years from the government and people of the United States has saved tens of thousands of mothers from preventable deaths and disabilities, and especially now in the rapidly developing global humanitarian crises,” it said. ‘The blood of Chinese women and babies is on our hands’
China introduced its “one-child” policy in 1979, restricting couples to one child only, with some exceptions – for example some rurally-based or ethnic minority couples were allowed a second child if their firstborn was a girl.
Over the decades since it has been enforced through forced abortions and sterilizations, punitive fines and other penalties for violators. Critics have described it as one of the most far-reaching government-enforced human rights violations in history.
In a society with a cultural preference for baby boys, sex-selective abortions – although illegal – have contributed to a lopsided male-female ratio which experts warn will have troubling implications for future generations.
In 2015 Beijing loosened the policy to allow two children.
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers president Reggie Littlejohn told a panel discussion alongside the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women session in New York last month that forced abortions and the conditions that give rise to sex-selective abortions of baby girls continue under the “two-child” policy.
“I believe that any independent, unbiased investigation into UNFPA’s activities in China will lead to the inescapable conclusion that they are complicit with China’s population control practices, which include forced abortion and involuntary sterilization,” Littlejohn said.
“To the extent that the global community is funding the UNFPA, the blood of Chinese women and babies is on our hands.”
At least two of the four men and women who have led the UNFPA since its formation are on record as having praised the Chinese birth-limitation efforts.
“China has every reason to feel proud of and pleased with its remarkable achievements made in its family planning policy and control of its population growth over the past 10 years,” UNFPA executive director Nafis Sadik of Pakistan told the Xinhua news agency in April 1991.
“China made some outstanding achievements in a very short time and fulfilled its commitment to the world,” she said. “The UNFPA is going to employ some of these [Chinese demographic] experts to work in other countries and popularize China’s experiences in population growth control and family planning.”
Ten years later Sadik’s successor, Thoraya Obaid of Saudi Arabia, also praised China’s policy, according to a March 2001 report in China’s People’s Daily.
As a general policy, UNFPA claims not to “promote abortion as a method of family planning.”
At the same time, however, it is a key partner of two of the world’s largest abortion providers, Marie Stopes International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
Our teens are out of control. Why? Because parents are too weak
Angela Mollard, writing from Australia
Among parents of teens, talk has been of nothing else this week. A 15-year-old boy allegedly filming another 15-year-old boy allegedly raping a girl who had passed out drunk. Apparently she wasn't aware of what had happened until video emerged of the attack.
Cranbrook student charged with aggravated sexual assault
The response has been predictable: shock, horror, revulsion, fear, incredulity and blame.
The fact is teenage girls are being sexually assaulted every weekend at parties, according to drug and alcohol campaigner Paul Dillon.
"It literally happens every single weekend and the saddest part is that girls very rarely report it because they think it's part of the alcohol experience," he told me this week.
"I can't tell you the number of girls who've told me they've blacked out and only found out there's been a guy on top of them or having sex with them when they've been shown a photograph."
Consent, alcohol, morality, social media - all are at the heart of this growing social problem but the issue none of us are willing to discuss is this: parental meekness.
Parents have become like mice, scurrying around trying to keep their children happy yet willing to disappear into a hole when their lion-like teens demand it. "Can I have a party?" inquires the teen. "There's 80 people coming. Some will sleepover. Don't worry about food. Oh, and can you and Dad stay upstairs all night?"
And what do parents say? "Well, OK, but make sure things don't get out of hand."
But things do get "out of hand" because, as Paul Dillon tells me, in teenage brains the desire for reward outweighs the sense of risk.
We talk about parental neglect in Aboriginal communities and yet in metropolitan suburbs all over the country parents - including the wealthiest - are turning a blind eye to what their kids are doing. Dillon tells me about the rise of the "mixed sleepover"; of parents hiring security guards for a party then thinking they can go out themselves; of a teenager being encouraged to drink by her parent even though she doesn't want to.
He tells me of an incident he couldn't believe "didn't make the papers". A 13-year-old girl had 20 friends to stay for a sleepover and the parents went out to the movies. Apparently they came home to find an ambulance in their driveway and other parents in uproar because one of the kids had slipped over and badly smashed her head on the concrete. Fortunately the girls had the wherewithal to contact emergency services.
Another mum contacted him, beside herself after her daughter had been sexually assaulted at a mixed 14th birthday sleepover.
"The mum had dutifully rung the parents to check they would be home, how many kids would be staying and to leave her contact number. The one question she'd neglected to ask was if boys would be staying. Her daughter had woken in the night to find herself being sexually assaulted. She was mortified so said nothing until she got home."
When I was a teen parents were a tribe. They'd call each other and if one said "no" they'd all say "no". Nobody gave their own teen alcohol let alone anyone else's. And no one let school-age boyfriends or girlfriends sleepover.
On one occasion when I wasn't home at 11pm, aged 16, my Dad drove over to my boyfriend's house where we were standing outside kissing. He shone the car lights on us, yelled at me to get home and told me I was grounded for a fortnight.
Now, as a mother of two girls aged 16 and 13, I - along with my friends - are dealing most weekends with parties, sleepovers, alcohol, and how to keep our kids safe. A friend who had a successful 15th party for her son - no alcohol, everyone checked off at the door, all bags locked in the spare bedroom, extra parents for security, and a finish time of 10.30pm, told me she recently agreed to a small "gatho" a year later.
Big mistake. There were only 15 kids but some brought alcohol, a couple disappeared into a bedroom and, monitoring alone, she spent the evening feeling as if she barely had control.
As Dillon, who heads up Drug and Alcohol Training Australia (DARTA) tells me: "A trained publican finds it difficult to effectively monitor a room full of drinkers so how can parents expect to control 40, 60 or 80 teens when alcohol is tolerated."
Dillon advises making it as "bloody difficult as humanly possible" for teens to drink. If you won't supply alcohol or let them drink at home and they threaten to go and drink in the park, don't cave. As he says, most won't.
Likewise, I believe parents need to lose our meekness and work together like the mafia. We have the mature brains so we make the rules. We need to monitor, to shine torches into the dark recesses of the garden, to tell groping teens to cut it out, to alert the parents if a teen we've collected from a party is drunk.
We need to be there as a deterrent and a sounding board. We need to have each other's backs as we strive to teach kids to protect their own.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.