Friday, May 05, 2017

Can the acquired characteristics of fathers be passed on to offspring?

Epigenetics tells us that they can.  The article below reviews the now-extensive evidence to that effect.  So were Lamarck and Lysenko right?  Not quite.  The genes do not change but they can apparently be switched on or off. Knowledge of the effect is still in its infancy so there is not a lot we can say about it at this stage.  What we can say is that some things traceable to the father's lifestyle can apparently influence how the child will turn out.  Lifestyle leaves markers in the DNA that can be inherited.

Perhaps most interesting of all, however, is that a change in lifestyle seems able to change the epigenetics as well.  So if you reform yourself of unhealthy behaviours, the children will not inherit bad effects from them. As an hypothetical example:  Say you are a heavy drinker experiencing a lot of alcoholic depression:  You are in the grip of that when your son was conceived.  Your son may be born prone to depression.  But if you gave up the booze six months before your son was conceived he would probably not inherit a tendency to depression.

As lot to think about there and no certainty in any of it but we clearly have a new era in our understanding of genetic inheritance

For decades, prenatal advice has mainly focused on mothers. Leading up to and during pregnancy, women are told to take folic acid supplements, stop drinking and smoking, avoid high-mercury fish, and maintain healthful weight gain, among other wisdom. That advice is prescribed by physicians and public health experts to promote healthy pregnancies, normal fetal development, and long-term offspring health. A father’s behavior can also influence the health of a pregnancy, by exposing his partner to secondhand smoke or domestic violence, for example. But there’s a growing belief among scientists that a man’s behaviors and environmental exposures may also shape his descendants’ development and future health before sperm meets egg.

Researchers now understand that sperm contains a memory of a male’s life experiences, ranging from his nutritional status to his exposure to toxic chemicals, said Michael Skinner, PhD, a professor in the school of biological sciences at Washington State University. This information is captured in alterations to the epigenome, the suite of molecular on-off switches that regulate gene expression.

Moreover, it’s now been well-established through animal studies that some “epimutations” are heritable. Skinner and others, for example, have provided evidence in rodents that male exposure to endocrine disruptors and other environmental toxicants can induce epigenetic changes in sperm, which in descendants can cause infertility and other diseases.

Epigenetic information can be embedded in sperm in the form of changes in DNA methylation—the addition of chemical “tags” that switch genes “on” or “off”—or histone modifications—chemical tags on histone proteins, which regulate how DNA is condensed. In addition to these epigenetic marks, researchers also have become increasingly interested in changes in noncoding RNAs, such as microRNAs (miRNAs), which are involved in gene silencing and can be present in sperm.

Last year, a review of human and animal research suggested that epigenetic changes may be the underlying mechanism by which paternal factors such as age, diet, weight, stress, and alcohol consumption contribute to a range of health outcomes in offspring including birth defects, behavioral problems, developmental disorders, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

The senior author of the review, Joanna B. Kitlinska, PhD, an associate professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology at Georgetown University, cautioned, however, that all of the associations between paternal epimutations and offspring health in humans are still just that—associations. “There really is no direct proof at the moment,” she said.

Providing direct evidence that heritable environmentally induced epigenetic changes in human sperm (or eggs) increase susceptibility to disease in later generations remains challenging. But the epidemiological hints and laboratory evidence are starting to coalesce into a relatively simple public health message: When it comes to preconception health, fathers matter too.

From Men to Mice

A series of studies of historic cohorts from Överkalix in northern Sweden published last decade suggested that information about life experiences could be passed down several generations through the male line and could influence descendants’ health. In 2001 Lars Olov Bygren and coinvestigators from Umeå University in Sweden demonstrated that men born in 1905 who experienced food scarcity before puberty—when primordial sperm cells are developing into mature sperm—had paternal grandchildren with a lower relative risk of early death. The reverse was true for men who had plenty to eat: Their sons’ children were more likely to die young.

The researchers teamed up with a group in the United Kingdom to publish a larger study in 2006 that additionally included Överkalix cohorts born in 1890 and 1920 and looked at sex-specific effects. This study revealed that the food supply of paternal grandfathers was only linked to their grandsons’ mortality rate, while the food supply of paternal grandmothers was only linked to their granddaughters’ mortality.

Marcus E. Pembrey, MD, coauthor of the 2006 article and an emeritus professor of pediatric genetics at University College London, explained in an email, “The sex-specific effects were difficult to put down to ‘cultural’ inheritance,” adding that “the Överkalix data demonstrate some molecular ‘memory’ of the ancestral exposure.”

When the collaboration began, Pembrey was director of genetics on the landmark Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) at the University of Bristol. In the 2006 article, he and his coauthors also presented data from a cohort of fathers in the ALSPAC study. In this group, men who took up smoking before puberty had 9-year-old sons with higher BMIs than men who first lit up later in life, suggesting that the timing of the ancestral exposure matters. A follow-up study published in 2014 found that the sons of early smokers—who themselves were not necessarily overweight—had an average of 5 to 10 kg more body fat in their teens than their peers.

Several other epidemiological associations between a father’s health prior to conceiving and the health of his children have emerged. For example, there are also some indications that a father’s drinking may contribute to fetal alcohol syndrome–like symptoms, specifically low birth weight, congenital heart defects, and mild cognitive impairments.

Experiments in animals suggest that epigenetic changes in sperm may explain some of these associations. Male rats administered alcohol for 9 weeks prior to breeding, for example, have epimutations in their sperm, which may account for the significant decrease in fetal weight of their offspring. Many other studies have found a range of physiological and behavioral abnormalities in offspring, including altered organ weights, decreased grooming, and increased anxiety-like and impulsivity-like behaviors, in rodents whose fathers—but not mothers—were given alcohol, with sperm epimutations being the presumed underlying mechanism.

Early this decade, a spate of animal studies demonstrated that, in addition to toxins and alcohol, paternal weight and eating patterns—such as high-fat or low-protein diets—also appear to alter the sperm epigenome and offspring health. In one mouse study, a paternal diet low in folate was associated with an increase in birth defects in offspring compared with a paternal diet sufficient in folate. The fathers who consumed less folate had abnormal methylation of genes implicated in development and chronic disease such as diabetes and cancer.

And just last year, German researchers found that male or female mice with diet-induced obesity produced daughters (but not sons) who were more likely to be obese than those whose parents were both lean. Critically, the offspring were created through in vitro fertilization and gestated by lean surrogate females, eliminating potential confounding by gestational environment and pointing the finger squarely at epigenetic alterations.

Studies published last year also suggest a link between paternal dietary patterns or diet-induced weight gain and increased birth weight and breast cancer risk in female offspring. One of these studies identified shared epigenetic changes present in both the sperm of overweight male mice and the breast tissue of their female offspring. These alterations included reduced expression of miRNAs that regulate insulin receptor signaling, among several other well-characterized signaling pathways known to play a role in tumorigenesis. Alterations in miRNA expression may therefore underlie the metabolic reprogramming that, in turn, increases breast cancer risk.

“We see that the daughters of overweight fathers have increased breast cancer risks the same way as daughters of mothers who are overweight in pregnancy also have increased breast cancer risks,” said Sonia de Assis, PhD, the study’s senior author and an assistant professor of oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center. “I think we’ve been looking at only the half of the problem.”

Humans: The Next Frontier

Researchers are just beginning to tease out these underlying epigenetic mechanisms in humans. Investigators on the Newborn Epigenetics Study (NEST) at Duke University provided the first molecular evidence in 2013 and 2015 that a man’s lifestyle may be imprinted on his child’s epigenome.

The researchers, including Adelheid Soubry, PhD, head of the epidemiology research center in the department of public health and primary care at the Catholic University Leuven in Belgium, discovered altered epigenetic marks on genes associated with embryonic growth, as well as metabolic disorders and cancer in later life, in the cord blood of newborn infants whose fathers were obese. These marks were independent of maternal obesity and different in infants of nonobese fathers.

Human sperm itself also tells a similar tale. Last year, Soubry found epimutations on a number of growth-regulating genes in the sperm of obese and overweight men. Moreover, some of the epimutations in sperm were similar to those previously identified in the cord blood of infants of obese fathers, suggesting they may be passed on from father to offspring. Research in larger study populations will be needed to confirm this, Soubry said.

And it’s not just a father’s weight that can change his sperm epigenome. In February, Skinner published findings showing that men who underwent chemotherapy for bone cancer in their teens shared a signature of epimutations in their sperm about a decade later. Although his sample size was small—18 cases and the same number of controls—Skinner said the persistence of changes suggests that toxicants may permanently alter epigenetic marks in sperm stem cells, resulting in a lifetime of epigenetically altered sperm.

Skinner wants to see more studies on human paternal exposures and impacts on offspring and subsequent generations. He emphasized that studies should probe molecular-level changes in the epigenome that may explain the associations. He and a coinvestigator plan to study health outcomes in the offspring of human and rodent chemotherapy recipients. “When you do the exposure and you change the epigenetics of the germ line, you can’t predict what’s going to happen,” he said. “You just sort of have to look and see.”

It’s not fully understood how epigenetic changes may persist through generations. Two rounds of near-complete epigenetic erasure and reprogramming occur between fertilization and implantation and during gonadal sex determination. How some epimutations appear to survive these waves of reprogramming to promote epigenetic transgenerational inheritance will be an important question for future research.

Malleable Marks

There are early indications that some paternal lifestyle-associated effects on sperm and offspring can be reversed, with exercise and dietary changes or surgery-induced weight loss, for example. Although several windows of susceptibility may exist for paternal exposures and some changes in sperm may be permanent, the few months leading up to conception may not be too late to make lifestyle changes, Soubry said. de Assis agreed: “If they can’t do it for their entire life, then at least in that period before conception.”

Soubry suggested that physicians can encourage male patients who plan on conceiving to eat a nutritious diet, quit smoking (even temporarily), drink moderately, and manage stress—all of which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention already recommends for fathers-to-be. “That advice cannot harm, and I think it can even help to reduce the risks later on for the child,” Soubry said. Of course, behavior matters during pregnancy, too. Fathers—along with mothers and domestic partners—can have a profound effect on the health of pregnancies.

Kitlinska stressed that future studies should look at the combined effects of maternal and paternal factors, including epimutations. “Usually when we design experiments, we look at the effect of paternal exposures or maternal exposures, but really I think it’s an interplay of both.”


Trump to Sign Executive Order on Religious Freedom

President Donald Trump will reportedly be celebrating the National Day of Prayer by signing an executive order to boost America’s first freedom.

Trump is meeting with religious leaders for a dinner at the White House Wednesday night and is expected to sign the executive order Thursday morning in a Rose Garden event marking the National Day of Prayer.

A draft for an executive order was leaked in February to The Nation, a liberal magazine. The leaked order would, among other things, allow the purchase of pro-life health insurance on Obamacare exchanges, and would broadly protect religious expression in all forms, not just the act of worship. Liberal groups immediately attacked the order, claiming it would discriminate against LGBT people and religious minorities.

An executive order to reverse previous trends would be welcome news, said Ryan T. Anderson, a senior research fellow with The Heritage Foundation.

“President Trump should make good on his campaign promise to protect religious liberty for all Americans,” Anderson told The Daily Signal. “The executive order is a good first step to make sure this administration doesn’t violate religious liberty.”

The Daily Signal reported last week that a religious liberty measure would be a priority for Trump going into his next 100 days. White House media affairs director Helen Aguirre Ferré said Trump wants a measure with “profound impact on religious liberty.”

“Keep your eyes open for religious liberty,” Ferré told The Daily Signal last Friday. “It’s going to be an issue. The president made a commitment about the Johnson [Amendment] and I think he’s going to keep that commitment.”

Asked if the order would go beyond the Johnson Amendment, which restricts what churches can say about politics, Ferré said, “Stay tuned.” The amendment was named after Democratic Sen. Lyndon Johnson, before he was president.

According to an Anderson commentary in The Daily Signal, if the executive order Thursday follows the leaked version from February, it would:

Require all federal departments and agencies to respect statutes and Supreme Court decisions that make clear the free exercise of religion applies to all people, of all faiths, in all places, and at all times—and that it is not merely the freedom to worship.

That religious organizations include all organizations operated by religious principles, not just houses of worship or charities.

Instructs agencies, “to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law,” to reasonably accommodate the religion of federal employees, as required by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Instructs the secretaries of health and human services, labor, and treasury to finally grant relief to the Little Sisters of the Poor and others not exempted from Obamacare mandates on contraception and abortion-inducing drugs.

Ensure that consumers buying health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges have the option to buy plans that don’t cover abortion or subsidize plans that do.

Prohibits the federal government from discriminating against child welfare providers, such as foster care and adoption services, based on the organization’s religious beliefs.

Adopts the Russell Amendment, instructing agencies to allow religious organizations to hire in accordance with their faith principles.

Effectively rolls back the Johnson Amendment by instructing the Treasury Department to ensure that it doesn’t revoke nonprofit tax status because a religious group speaks on politics.

Instructs agencies to refuse to recognize any decision by a federally recognized accrediting body that revokes or denies accreditation to an organization because of religious beliefs.

Instructs agencies not to take adverse action against federal employees, contractors, or grantees who express their belief on marriage outside of their employment, contract or grant; and that agencies should reasonably accommodate such beliefs inside of employment, contract, or grant.

The order Trump is signing Thursday will reportedly be scaled back, but it’s unclear how much.

The order will send a message that Trump is willing to use the bully pulpit of his office to promote religious freedom, said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a religious liberty legal group.

“Candidate Trump promised to be a champion of religious freedom, and this executive order has been long anticipated,” Staver told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

Staver said he doesn’t anticipate the action will be limited to the Johnson Amendment.

Liberal groups Wednesday strongly criticized the plans for an executive order, before seeing it, though referring to the contents of the leaked order from February.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment Wednesday, saying, “we don’t get ahead of executive orders until they are announced.”

On its website, Americans United for Separation of Church and State said:

The harm [the executive order] could cause to real people is hard to overstate. It reads like a wish list put together by Vice President Mike Pence and his allies, who are among the forces leading the charge to discriminate against LGBTQ people and women under the guise of religious freedom. We’ve got to act so that Trump doesn’t grant their wishes.

The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT advocacy group, also opposes the action.

“There is no religious freedom crisis in America today, but there is a crisis of hate and discrimination,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, in a public statement. “At a time when two-thirds of all LGBTQ people report having experienced discrimination, Donald Trump is making the problem worse by giving legal cover to perpetrators.”

President Barack Obama’s two terms in office were filled with religious freedom controversies, often stemming from rules in the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. The health law required businesses to pay for the cost of contraception and abortion-inducing drugs that might violate an employer’s religious beliefs.

Two prominent Supreme Court cases, the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case and Zubik v. Burwell, better known as the Little Sisters of the Poor case, gained the most attention after going to the Supreme Court. The Obama administration also opposed state religious freedom laws.


Do Palestinian Arabs Want a Peaceful State Alongside Israel?

What consistent polling of Palestinians tells us.

Discussion of the Arab/Israeli situation is often unilluminating because so much of it is based on groundless assumptions and stubborn fictions. Perhaps the most pervasive one today afflicting the international political class is the notion that Palestinian Arabs primarily desire a state of their own, living peacefully alongside Israel.

Some recent examples:

December 2016, then-Secretary of State John Kerry: “polls of Israelis and Palestinians show there is still strong support for the two-state solution.”

July 2016, the Middle East Quartet (US, EU, UN and Russia): “the majority of people on both sides . . . express their support for the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security.”

December 2014, then-Vice-President Joe Biden: “a two-state solution … the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians, they think that it is the right way to go.”

May 2014, then-envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Martin Indyk: “Consistently over the last decade, polling on both sides reveals majority support for the two-state solution.”

Go back a decade, and one can easily produce essentially identical quotations from President George W. Bush, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and so on.

However, the idea that Palestinians prioritize peace, statehood and prosperity flies in the face of reality. Consistent polling of Palestinians tells a diametrically opposite story.

For example, a June 2016 joint poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) found that 58% of West Bank Palestinians oppose a Palestinian state involving mutual recognition between Israel and the envisaged Palestinian state and an end of claims.

For another, the June 2015 Palestine Center for Public Opinion poll found that, for the near term (the next five years), 49% of Palestinians support “reclaiming all of historic Palestine from the river to the sea,” while only 22% favored “a two-state solution” as the “main Palestinian national goal.”

Indeed, Daniel Polisar of Jerusalem’s Shalem College, in a recent examination of literally hundreds of Palestinian surveys, established that majorities of Palestinians reject Palestinian statehood alongside Israel by an average of more than 3 to 1.

It takes only a moment’s checking of the Palestinian scene to see that the idea of peaceful statehood and acceptance of Israel that would be its prerequisite has yet to emerge.

In the past month, official Palestinian Authority (PA) TV joined the family of a jailed Palestinian terrorist, As’ad Zo’rob, who murdered an Israeli who had given him a ride, lauding him as a “heroic prisoner” and a source of “pride for …. all of Palestine.”

Also, Fatah Central Committee member and Commissioner of Treasury and Economy, Muhammad Shtayyeh, publicly reaffirmed that Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas’ party, which controls the PA, “does not recognize Israel. The topic of recognition of Israel has not been raised in any of Fatah’s conferences.”

The PA, after all, is a regime that names schools, streets, sports teams and youth camps in honor of suicide bombers, pay stipends to jailed terrorists and pensions to the families of dead ones. It also routinely denies that Jews have any connection with Jerusalem or the land. When, in February, UN Secretary-General António Guterres correctly stated that the Jewish biblical temples stood on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, PA officials and publicists publicly upbraided him.

How, then, does the myth of Palestinian desire for peaceful statehood and acceptance of Israel persist?

George Orwell, as so often, put his finger on the problem, as long ago as 1940, when he wrote, “Mr. Hitler has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all ‘progressive’ thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security and avoidance of pain. Hitler knows… that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice [emphasis added].”

In contrast to Orwell’s acute analysis, just think of George W. Bush contending that “an independent, viable, democratic, and peaceful Palestinian state is … the dream of the Palestinians”;

or of British Green Party pro-Palestinian activist Peter Tatchell, claiming that Palestinians “in their hearts, want exactly the same things as Israelis. They want peace, security, equality, jobs, housing, healthcare”;

or President Obama’s CIA head, John O. Brennan, claiming “there are certain aspirations that we all share –– to get an education, to provide for our families, to practice our faith freely, to live in peace and security” and one senses the incomprehension and heedlessness, genuine or deliberate, that afflicts analysis of this problem at all levels.

Until the facts are faced, don’t expect edifying public discussion of the subject. President Trump broke new ground when he publicly pointed to the “tremendous hate” inculcated into Palestinian youth and non-acceptance of Israel that would have to change before peace becomes possible. In this he is correct. The “ultimate deal” that brings peace will have to await a change of heart and direction in Palestinian society.


Let’s reflect on Muslim nations’ Christian genocide

Comment from Australia

Our nation’s newest refugees recently celebrated their first Easter in Australia. It is a momentous ­occasion for those who survived Islamic State’s genocide of Christians and have been given a new life in our country.

Yet many Western nations ­refuse to recognise asylum for Christians fleeing genocide and persecution.

Typically, politicians cite the principle of non-discriminatory immigration to justify policies that result in discrimination against Christian victims of genocide. It is morally reprehensible.

Last year, the US Congress declared that the Islamic State persecution of Christians and other minorities constituted genocide. The term was coined by Raphael Lemkin who recognised the slaughter of Armenians in 1915 as the first genocide of the 20th century. He wrote: “It [genocide] happened to the Armenians and after the Armenians, Hitler took action.”

It is estimated that the Ottomans massacred between 800,000 and 1.5 million Armenians in the genocide, most of whom were Christians. To commemorate its centenary, Pope Francis said: “The first genocide of the 20th century struck your own ­Armenian people, the first Christian nation.”

Turkey’s Islamist government continues to deny the genocide took place.

Western nations bear a special responsibility to shelter Christians fleeing genocide because they ­suffer systemic oppression in many Islamic states.

According to not-for-profit group Open Doors, last year was the worst on record for the persecution of Christians since it began reporting 25 years ago. Each month, an estimated 322 Christians are killed for their faith and 772 suffer serious violence. In ­addition, 214 Christian churches and properties are destroyed.

Of the 10 countries ranked worst for Christian persecution, nine are Muslim majority nations. The other is communist state North Korea.

Islamist persecution of Christians is intensifying in African and Southeast Asian countries. Last year, Boko Haram changed its general strategy from attacking anyone classified as an infidel to targeting Christians. Its new leader, Abu Musab al-Barnawi, aligned the group with Islamic State and vowed to “blow up every Church” and “kill every Christian”.

The Islamist tactics used to ­annihilate Christians extend ­beyond bombs and guns. Muslim organisations in Nigeria that run camps for people displaced by ­Islamic State are reserving aid for Muslims only. Christian Bishop William Naga reported to Open Doors UK that: “They will give food to the refugees, but if you are a Christian they will not give you food. They will openly tell you that the relief is not for Christians.”

Christians are also under threat in Southeast Asia where militant Islamism is on the rise. The trial of Jakarta’s Christian governor Basuki Ahok for blasphemy (that is, “insulting” the Koran) is a case in point. On Friday, about 15,000 Muslims marched to demand Ahok be jailed. Associated Press recorded a protester who said: “There’s no room for kaffir to lead in this nation.”

The Hungarian government recognises the persistence of global Christian persecution and the West’s responsibility to become assertive in redressing it. The conservative government led by Viktor Orban reports that four out of five people killed for their faith are Christians. It has responded by establishing the world’s first state department dedicated to addressing Christian persecution.

In Australia, Labor and Greens politicians responded negatively to news that the Liberal Coalition has provided asylum to several thousand Christians fleeing Islamic State genocide in its dedicated program for Syrian refugees. Greens senator Nick McKim created a distinction between selecting on “genuine need” and religion in relation to the Syrian intake, and described the latter as “disgusting”. He might need a briefing on the reality of jihadist genocide.

Labor legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus reportedly “expressed concern about the prospect of persecuted Syrian refugees being selected for resettlement in Australia on the basis of religion”. He stated that more Muslims have been killed in the Middle Eastern conflict than members of any other religion.

Some leftists seem wilfully ignorant about Islamic State’s deliberate genocide of Christians and the systemic persecution of Christian people in Muslim majority nations. Thanks to ignorance, rank immorality, Christophobia or some combination thereof, the Western left has denied fair asylum to Christian victims of jihadist genocide for more than a decade.

Majed El Shafie, the Founder of One Free World International, highlighted the problem with “political correctness” in Canada’s humanitarian programs. He stated that among those accepted as refugees from Iraq and Syria: “Most if not all are Muslim Sunnis.”

Fox News reported that the Obama administration’s Syrian refugee program produced a questionable result. Of the 10,801 refugees accepted from Syria in 2016, almost all — 10,722 — were Muslims. Only 56 were Christians.

NGOs have reported that Christians suffering persecution across the globe face “double discrimination”. They are persecuted for their faith and subsequently experience discrimination in United Nations refugee camps and facilities. The Barnabas Fund charity rescues Christians from Syria and reports they are at risk of violence in “Muslim-majority shelters”.

Catholic Archbishop Jacques Hindo stated that Christians were denied aid in Syria. He told the Vatican’s news service: “We have a hundred Assyrian families who have taken refuge, but they have received no assistance either from the Red Crescent or Syrian government aid workers, perhaps because they are Christians. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is nowhere to be seen.”

In a column for Fox News, Nina Shea, the director of the Hudson Institute Centre for Religious Freedom, relayed that Christians in Lebanon are too afraid to enter UNHCR refugee camps in the ­region. There are many emerging reports of Muslim attacks on Christian asylum seekers in transit to Europe and in refugee camps across the continent.

The refugees who escaped the Islamist genocide of Christians to find safe haven in Australia should be welcomed. The coming Easter ritual focuses on the persecution and crucifixion of the world’s first Christian, Jesus Christ. But it culminates in a celebration of new life on Easter Sunday.

All peoples have experienced the relief of finding the light at the end of the tunnel after a long struggle. But in our time, none have struggled more than those who suffered genocide under ­Islamic State. Make them feel ­welcome this 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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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