Sunday, September 24, 2006

Brokeback Ford

There was a time when the Ford Motor Company was synonymous with family. You might remember Dad packing you and your brothers and sisters into a Ford headed for a day at the beach, the zoo, or the farm. Ford meant stability, security, and tradition.

But those days have apparently gone the way of the Edsel. Now, we have a Ford that is openly endorsing a radical homosexual agenda--an agenda which is clearly anti-family. For instance, Ford has been known to force employees to take part in so-called diversity training classes. In these classes, workers are required to accept the concept of an active homosexual lifestyle-a lifestyle which may be directly counter to their own religious and moral beliefs. It's curious that such classes should be labelled "diversity training," given the fact that they are certainly not presenting diverse ideologies. Rather, this seems to simply be another case of political correctness in high gear.

Family groups are not taking Ford's actions lightly. Rather, they are engaged in a boycott of Ford products. However, homosexual rights groups have countered by announcing their own buying marathon--a "buycott" of Ford-produced cars.

To their credit, homosexual activists have been quite vocal and active in their push for homosexual marriage. But the question remains: are ordinary American families...those families tired of having the homosexual agenda infiltrate schools, news, and entertainment...willing to take on the boycott challenge? Or would they rather remain apathetic, and watch their way of life suffer as a result?

It has been said that few companies have done more to advertise and celebrate the homosexual lifestyle than Ford. Yet, many average citizens may not know this. Interestingly enough, the Human Rights Campaign actually rewarded Ford for its efforts at promoting the homosexual lifestyle by giving it a rating of 100-percent. In addition to supporting the idea of homosexual marriage, Ford has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to homosexual organizations, according to the American Family Association, an organization that objects to making homosexual marriage legal.

In fact, Ford has gone so far as to play bridesmaid to a homosexual "commitment ceremony." This isn't a case of tolerance--this is an undisputed embrace of the homosexual way of life.

The fact is that the kindest thing society can do to assist those dealing with same-sex attraction is to support the traditional concept of marriage--the concept that the marriage bond is limited to one man, one woman. Any other definition of marriage is, in essence, a lie and runs counter to the workings of Creation.

We need to deal with individuals with same-sex attraction with compassion, understanding, and support. We do not need to change the definition of marriage in a misguided effort to make their struggles easier.

And we need to rev up our efforts to make Ford accountable to the families that helped turn the automaker into a legend of the manufacturing industry. Our children are depending upon our willingness to stand up for the sanctity of family life.



From BBC Today Programme, 21 September 2006 (8:20)

Is it the job of Britain's foremost scientific academy, The Royal Society, to hector private companies about how they spend their money? There has been criticism of the Royal Society for asking the oil company Exxon Mobile to stop giving money to groups it argues misrepresent the science of climate change.

Dr David Whitehouse is a scientist and an author. Bob Ward is from the Royal Society. He wrote the letter to Exxon Mobile. Both join me now.

Dr Whitehouse. Why do you object to the Royal Society, to Bob Ward writing to Exxon Mobile?

David Whitehouse: My problem is not with the science, my problem is not with human-induced global warming. My problem is with the nature of science and the scientific debate, about different views. Different views, contrary positions, are essential to the progress of science. They are what keep arguments strong, the defence of arguments is what keeps them robust and healthy. And if somebody comes out with bad science, somebody comes out with misrepresentation, you tackle bad science with good science. It does not matter, it is irrelevant, whether these people are right or wrong, whether it's god science or bad science. What troubles me is that the Royal Society is demanding another organisation to stop funding groups that have views different from the scientific consensus. Their views, the value of their views, will be determined by argument and not by doing a tussle around their funding, to get their money turned off because you disagree with what they're saying.

BBC: Bob Ward. Can you respond to that.

Bob Ward: I can. Let me first correct the impression that being given. I did not demand that Exxon stops funding these groups. I made an observation in a meeting I had in July that they were making statements that misrepresented the science and that they were funding groups that were similarly misrepresenting the science. They then offered themselves to stop funding these groups. But let me make a distinction here.

BBC: Can we just follow this through. You then wrote to them saying...

Bob Ward: What happened is, after I'd explained why the Royal Society felt that the statements Exxon Mobile had made in a report in February, when I explained to them that they were wrong in our opinion, they then send me a report in the summer, a new report, which repeated all of the statements which I complained about in the first place.

BBC: And the letter which the Guardian got hold of yesterday was you saying to them: 'I would be grateful if you could let me know when Exxon Mobile plans to carry out this pledge.' Which is why I used the word 'hectoring,' it's a form of hectoring.

Bob Ward: Well, I like the idea that the Royal Society should be accused of bullying the world's largest multinational oil company. All we're doing is saying to them: it is very clear what the scientific community says about climate change. Anybody can find out by going to the website of the IPCC ( . And they can see what the scientific community thinks about climate change. And then they can compare for themselves the stsatements that are being made by Exxon Mobile and by these lobby groups - who are not groups of scientists. These are lobby groups, they are not scientists. Exxon Mobile are not offering scientific evidence.

BBC: Let me bring in Dr Whitehouse. Isn't that what the Royal Society should be doing, ensuring that the right information is out there?

David Whitehouse: The Royal Society should be arguing about science, it shouldn't be delving in such politics. It is clear from this letter that the Royal Society did have concerns about the support that Exxon was giving to groups which they disagree with. They can have concerns about that but their argument should not be with the funding, or the background. It's a question of free speech. Scientists in America won the right to criticise the Bush Government when they did not agree with them about global warming. The contrary should apply here.

BBC: Bob Ward. Have you stepped over a line here?

Bob Ward: We haven't. Let me be clear. We're not trying to shut scientists up. What we're trying to do is say to the lobby groups and to the companies that they should present properly what the scientific community is saying. Now, let me just tell you. One of the organisations that is getting funding from Exxon Mobile is the so-called Centre for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. This is a statement on their website: "There is no compelling reason to believe that the rise in temperature was caused by the rise in carbon dioxide." Now, can David Whitehouse tell me which peer-reviewed scientific papers that statement is based on?

David Whitehouse: My point is not an argument about the science. The science is irrelevant in this context. You can go to your own website and read scientists talk about the uncertainties of global warming. The question is not whether these people are right or wrong. It's a question about their right to speak. When scientists and scientific organisations like yourself want to serve the cause of public policy, they do so best by following the ethics of science and not public relations and spin.

BBC: Let me just come in here. Dr Whitehouse. Isn't it the case that on this argument people would say the price is too high. And you don't have a level playing field if you have millions being pumped into bad science.

David Whitehouse: First of all. Does is matter that it is bad science? The science, whether it is bad or god, comes out in scientific argument. My problem is with distorting the playing field. Science is about free speech, science is about the exchange of information and argument. It's not about trying to find out who get money paid to somebody else because you disagree with him. We tell young scientists, the most important thing, we tell them, is to question authority. Why should I believe this because you say so?

BBC: We have very little time left. I want a final thought from you, Bob Ward. Is the Royal Society going to continue that sort of approach to prevent funding of organisations that they don't like what they're saying?

Bob Ward: The Royal Society's motto is "Nullis in Verba" - which means "where is your evidence?" (sic) If organisations make statements that are clearly at odds with what the scientific community says the evidence shows, yes, then we will challenge it. Because it does not serve the public for them to be mislead about what the scientific evidence says.

Benny Peiser comments: "Well, I'm not a classicist. But to my knowledge the Royal Society's motto is generally translated as "on the words of no one," meaning: take no theory in trust ... which is in essence the ethics of scientific scrutiny and debate David Whitehouse has been arguing for". (David Whitehouse was until recently the online science editor for the BBC)


Late last year, at the invitation of Nato, and in the company of a small band of globetrotting pundits, I travelled to Afghanistan to witness first-hand the allied operation to reconstruct the benighted country. After a day of briefings in Kabul, our friendly Nato hosts flew us by military transport to Herat, on the western border with Iran. We were due to spend a day touring a Nato post in the city and then fly back that evening to the capital. But the Danish plane that had taken us developed propeller problems and was grounded. As we cooled our heels outside the airfield , we waited for word of the aircraft that was supposed to come for us: a German C-130.

It soon became clear that the replacement plane was not coming. The reason, it turned out, was that the Germans would not fly in the dark. German aircraft are not permitted by their national rules to undertake night flights. Now to those who survived the Blitz and Barbarossa, the news that today's Luftwaffe will not fly at night in potentially hostile environments might be regarded as a welcome historical development. But when you are trying to fight a war against a ruthless band of terrorists who operate 24/7, never pausing to consider the dangers of venturing out in the dark, limiting yourself to daytime operations is a little constraining.

The Germans are not alone. Many of the European nations with forces in Afghanistan are operating under similarly ludicrous restrictions. Though their soldiers and airmen are highly capable and indeed eager to take the fight to the Taleban, their governments are desperately fearful of the public reaction should their soldiers suffer significant casualties. They don't think that their voters will stomach it. And the tragedy is, they are probably right.

I was reminded of my unscheduled night in Herat, and what it said about Europe's dwindling commitment to its own survival, by a series of disheartening developments in the past week on the political and diplomatic front. Last week we had the tragicomic spectacle of European Nato countries lining up to decline politely the request to beef up their forces in Afghanistan, many of whom are now fighting in perilously under-resourced conditions against a resurgent enemy.

Then on Monday Jacques Chirac went to New York to upend the long, delicate diplomacy designed to deny Iran nuclear weapons. He said France no longer thought the UN should impose sanctions if Iran did not end its uranium enrichment programme. Various explanations were offered by commentators for this volte-face - from the thought that France might be fearful of the economic consequences of sanctions, to the possibility that M Chirac was trying to curry favour with sanctions-opposing Russia and China, to the suggestion that Paris worries that its new peacekeeping force in Lebanon might come under fire from Hezbollah if France acted tough with its Iranian sponsors.

Whatever the proximate cause of this latest French surrender, the basic reality is that Europeans have been extremely reluctant to press Iran with sanctions all along - the same noises are coming out of Berlin now - and are content instead to acquiesce in the nightmare of a nuclear-armed Tehran.

Then, of course, we have had the predictable European outrage following the latest apparent provocation of Islamic extremists by free speech in the West - Pope Benedict XVI's remarks last week on Islam.

I actually heard a senior member of the British Government chide the Pope this week for what he described as his unhelpful comments. This minister went on to say that the Pope should keep quiet about Islamic violence because of the Crusades. It was a jaw-dropping observation. If it was meant seriously its import is that, because of violence perpetrated in the name of Christ 900 years ago, today's Church, and presumably today's European governments (who, after all, were eager participants in the Crusades) should forever hold their peace on the subject of religious fanaticism. In this view the Church's repeated apologies for the sins committed in its name apparently are not enough. The Pope has no right, even in a lengthy disquisition on the complexities of faith and reason, to say anything about the religious role in Islamic terrorism.

It is apt that Pope Benedict should have received such European opprobrium for his remarks. His election last year looked like a final attempt by the Church to revive the European spirit in the face of accelerating secularisation and cultural morbidity.

But the scale of Europe's moral crisis is larger than ever. Opposing the war in Iraq was one thing, defensible in the light of events. But opting out of a serious fight against the Taleban, sabotaging efforts to get Iran off its path towards nuclear status, pre-emptively cringing to Muslim intolerance of free speech and criticism, all suggest something quite different. They imply a slow but insistent collapse of the European will, the steady attrition of the self-preservation instinct. Its effects can be seen not only in the political field, but in other ways - the startling decline of birth rates across the continent that represent a sort of self-inflicted genocide; the refusal to confront the harsh realities of a global economy.

It may well be that history will judge that Europe's decline came at the very moment of its apparent triumph. The traumas of the first half of the 20th century have combined with the economic successes of the second half to induce a collective loss of will. Great civilisations die not in the end because of external force majeure but because internally the will to thrive is sapped.

The symptoms of this moral collapse may be far away from the affluent and still largely peaceful cities and towns of the old continent - in the mountains of Afghanistan, the diplomatic reception halls of Tehran and the angry Pope-effigy-burning streets of the Middle East. But there should be no doubt that it is closer to home where the disease has taken hold.


Australian Federal treasurer: Pope's critics 'stifling free speech'

Peter Costello has said Muslim critics of a recent speech by Pope benedict XVI have "lacked proportion" in their angry response and have tried to stifle free speech. The Treasurer, in a speech to be delivered today to a Christian lobby conference in Canberra, will also dismiss Islamic extremists' efforts to create caliphates bound by religious law, saying instead that the creation of a secular Muslim state in Turkey is a model that should be adopted by the modern Islamic world.

Earlier this month, the Pope triggered condemnation when he discussed Islam's tendency to justify violence. The Pope had quoted criticisms of the prophet Mohammed by 14th-century Byzantine Christian emperor Manuel II Paleologos.

Mr Costello says he "will not repeat the sentence because it would thoroughly detract from what I have to say". "But it was said 700 years ago," he says. "Read the speech and wonder at the reaction. In response, we are told, seven churches were set on fire on the West Bank and Gaza, and effigies of the Pope were hung and burned in Pakistan. "No doubt the fire bombers on the West Bank and the demonstrators in Pakistan would claim that their actions were incited by the 'insult' of the Pope's speech. "But one can't help thinking that there are some people who love to find an insult and have no concept of proportionality when they do so. "We are moved to think that there are other agendas here. And one of those agendas is to stifle free speech and legitimate open inquiry."

Mr Costello will tell delegates the Muslim world has an "outstanding example" of a secular state created last century in the nation of Turkey established by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who commanded the Turkish victory at Gallipoli. "He should be held out as a model of leadership for the modern Islamic world," Mr Costello will say. Movements such as al Qaeda and its south-east Asian affiliate Jemaah Islamiah are engaged in a violent struggle to create Muslim caliphates, often dominated by sharia law. "They have a vision of a caliphate stretching across the Middle East toppling what they see as corrupt nation states and enforcing a more 'pure' version of Islam," Mr Costello says. "In our own region, the ambitions of Jemaah Islamiah is to create a pan-Islamic state stretching down and encompassing the southern Philippines, Malaya and Indonesia."

But Mr Costello argues the separation of church and state is good for society and should be embraced by the Muslim world. "I believe that a secular national state can be adopted by Muslim societies and, what is more, that doing so will lead to greater economic technological progress," he says. Mr Costello says Jesus Christ rejected any opportunity to seize political power, while Mohammed, who was persecuted for his religious teaching, formed an army, defeated those who had forced him out, made peace and instituted a government. The Treasurer has previously sparked controversy by condemning "mushy multiculturalism" and warning Muslim migrants who want sharia law to leave Australia


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