Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A moderate thinker

I'm very pro-life, so it may come as a surprise to many people that I am not actually very conservative. I am sure that many liberals would read some of my pro-life stuff and roll their eyes at it. And I suppose some of the conservatives out there would read some of my other stuff and be shocked because I seemed like such a good conservative.

I do agree with many of the things that the Harper government has done. I totally agree with them in cuting funding to things like the Vancouver safe-injection project. We're not going to get rid of drugs by giving them a place to safely inject themselves. That money would be better put to use in detox programs. Perhaps in LONG-TERM detox programs. Perhaps the failure of some of these programs is that people don't actually STAY long enough.

I was all for the private member's bill making it a separate offense to kill a wanted unborn child. I think the government has "no balls" for backing down on that one.

However, when it comes to cutting funding for artists on the basis that we are funding some ugly stuff, well, doesn't that hurt the ones who create good stuff too?

I don't know if Celine Dion or Cirque du Soleil even need or get funding... I doubt Celine Dion even needs it, but there are others out there that could use a helping hand in promoting their music or art or filmography or whatever, people who aren't creating controversial or immoral art.

Apparently, according to one conservative source, cutting funding isn't even saving the government that much money. It seems to be all about shutting down objectionable art.

I happen to be an "artist" of sorts. I don't live off my art, nor do I need to. I would like to eventually publish a book or two, but I doubt I will need government funding to do so. But I know that being an artist, until you have made it "to the top" can be very hard. Most artists are not rich stars. Most of them are poor and struggling. Most of them need a "day job" to get by.

A culture needs art. Art opens people up to the beauty of things. Art passes ideas along. Art speaks to the soul. It speaks of the soul of a culture. To truly understand a society you must learn the language, and you must see their art, be it paintings, music, theatre, litterature, or other. Art is truly the soul of a culture. Art and faith used to be intertwined. Faith was expressed through art. People understood their faith better by listening to sacred music or looking at beautiful religious paintings. People were inspired.

It is true that art can be a tool for evil as well. But getting rid of art is not the answer.

The conservatives contradict themselves in this. In one breath, they stand behind people like Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn in their opposition to the Human Rights Commissions which would censor us from publically (and maybe even privately) expressing our opinions on controversial issues if said opinion is not the same as theirs. Yes, freedom of speech is a fundamental right. If you don't like what another has to say, you can choose to not listen to it. If there is no freedom of speech, if one side of an issue is continually censored, how can you have the whole picture?

In the next breath, conservatives then stand behind removing funds to artists on the basis that some artists are creating objectionable art. How can you have freedom of speech and then not have freedom of art? It does not make sense. If someone is creating objectional art, you simply do not go to see it. If noone goes to see it, then eventually, funding or no funding, it won't be viable.

There has also been mention of the government having the right to censor who should and who should not receive funding. This is dangerous. We may not like our tax money going to some art production with the title "F*ck Fest" or something similar but if we give the government that kind of power, what exactly are they going to censor?

What if it were a young, struggling Catholic production that was pro-family and pro-life, doing some kind of theatre act that promoted these values, and discouraged things like gay marriage. The government could just as easily censor this production as being politically incorrect. Would conservatives be so quick to promote government censorship then? Would they be so quick to cut government funding then?

There are better ways to discourage art we find offensive. The best way is simply to not go to see it. If noone is there to see it, it will die out.

Oh, and while we're at it, we can just continue to have 6 or 7 kids, bring them up to be morally solid people, and eventually the ones creating all that objectional art, and the ones going to see it, will all kill themselves off anyway, through abortion, euthanasia and contraception, or at worst become an insignificant minority again.

Did I just say that? Oops, I was trying to keep that a secret. We wouldn't want the dark side to know that we will eventually rule the world again simply by being the only ones left populating it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Gollum

From the desert Isle of Juana la Cubana:

He doesn't pay attention. His eyes go blank when I talk to him of things that he finds boring. He wants to do things his way. I am glad I do not live with him or I think I would go nuts. However as he passes by and drops in from time to time, I must still put up with chairs being placed just so, convenient for him, but in my way, or other such things. He does not want to listen to my arguments for something different, so I put up with him until he leaves again.

Then Gollum will suddenly appear, with some project he has been working on and asks my opinion. I am not sure why he wants it, as most times he is not interested in what I think. Perhaps he is just excited about what he is doing, and in spite of him he needs to share that excitement with another. Perhaps my opinion still does not count, and this is just one way to get some kind of approval or compliment. Perhaps it makes him feel generous to let me voice an opinion on some subject of his choosing.

But how does one politely decline the honour? I am not interested in voicing my opinion on anything to him, if my opinion has no worth in more important issues.



Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obamacide

By J. Matt Barber

During a partial-birth abortion, the abortionist pulls a fully developed, fully "viable" child - often kicking and thrashing -- feet first from her mother's womb, leaving only the top of her head in the birth canal. He then stabs her through the skull with scissors or some other sharp object, piercing her brain until her kicking and moving about suddenly and violently jerk to a halt. Her brains are then sucked out -- collapsing her skull -- and her now limp and lifeless body is tossed aside like so much garbage.

Again, medical science has determined that this horrific practice, which is nothing short of infanticide, is never necessary. But Barack Hussein Obama -- the man who would be President -- doesn't see it that way. He called the partial-birth abortion ban, "a concerted effort to roll back the hard-won rights of American women."

Although Obama's love affair with partial-birth abortion has served to chip away at his finely polished veneer, his opposition to the Born Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) has revealed to the world that backward extremism permeates his marrow.

BAIPA very simply requires that when a baby survives an attempted abortion - when she is "born alive" - further attempts to kill her must immediately cease, and steps must be taken to ensure her health and well-being.
read more on this

People need to read that description of a partial-birth abortion over and over... "the abortionist pulls a (...) fully "viable" child (...) from her mother's womb, (...) then stabs her through the skull with scissors or some other sharp object, piercing her brain until her kicking and moving about suddenly and violently jerk to a halt. Her brains are then sucked out -- collapsing her skull."

They especially need to re-read the part about stabbing her through the skull. Gosh, WHEN are people going to freakin' come to their senses?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Juana la Cubana's Rant

From Juana la Cubana
Thoughts from a desert isle...

I used to think it was a given that if you cared for a person, you would go out of your way to make that person feel special in little ways. I thought everyone thought like this. With the exception of course of crappy, criminal-type people. I was wrong.

It just doesn't occur to some people to do that sort of thing. Either they were not brought up in families that made a big deal about each other, or else they are actually oblivious to the fact that people around them have gone out of their way to do something to please them and do not think to do the same in return.

Oh they love you, they don't want to see you hurt or poor or sick or in dire straits. They'll help you out if you ask for it. But if you're far away and lonely, they won't think to send photos or keep you up to date as if you were close. They don't care if you do anything for their birthday or not, and expect you not to care either. Birthday and Christmas gifts, if they get you any, are symbolic tokens only because they really have no idea what you like, because they don't make a point of remembering when you exclaim over something.

They aren't mean-hearted, they aren't cheap or miserly, it's not like they don't appreciate you, they just don't see the point in getting excited over nothing.

For someone who delights in doing little things for someone they care about, it's hard to understand someone who doesn't. In fact, more often, we might tend to think that that someone doesn't care at all. Even when it isn't true.

Disappointment comes in waves, like the ones crashing against the shoreline of my island, and then it goes out with the tide.

Doctors must always have right to follow conscience

Susan Martinuk
Calgary Herald
Friday, August 22, 2008

(Just doing the copy - paste kind of blogging again, but these people know better than me what they are talking about...)

Some 2,500 years ago, doctors were both healers and killers. Abortion and euthanasia were commonplace, and the type of medical service rendered depended on who was paying the bill or how the 'payee' asked the 'doctor' to take care of the patient. That ended in 400 BC, when a Greek physician named Hippocrates decided that patients deserved better and wrote an oath to affirm the sanctity of life and the doctor's duty to protect it.

Doctors who took the Hippocratic oath could then offer patients an element of trust and care that was previously non-existent and, for obvious reasons, Hippocratic physicians became the physicians of choice.

Well-known anthropologist Margaret Mead commented on this marked shift in the physician's role by saying, "For the first time in our tradition there was a complete separation between killing and curing. Throughout the primitive world, the doctor and sorcerer tended to be the same person. He with the power to kill had power to cure . . . (but now) One profession . . . (would) be dedicated completely to life under all circumstances . . .

"This is a priceless possession which we cannot afford to tarnish, but society is always attempting to make the physician into a killer -- to kill the defective child at birth, to leave the sleeping pills beside the bed of the cancer patient . . . it is the duty of society to protect the physician from such requests."

This oath became an important symbol of a doctor's integrity and commitment to protect life at all stages. But as with most traditions, it has increasingly fallen out of favour with medical schools. So, too, society seems to have come full circle in terms of its expectations of physicians -- the sanctity of life is no longer as important as our own convenience and demands.

The proof of this is in a draft proposal put forth by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario that will severely compromise the ethical integrity of physicians by limiting their ability to practice according to their own freedom of conscience and moral/religious beliefs. It would force physicians to set aside their moral consciences to fulfil all demands by all patients -- including providing or assisting patients in obtaining morally controversial services such as abortion, birth control and reproductive technologies for same-sex couples.

If physicians ignore the guidelines, they would be considered to have contravened the human rights code and their licences could be suspended; not because of incompetence or inappropriate activities -- but because of their religious beliefs.

Such tolerance is coming to Ontario physicians, courtesy of their government and its plan to expand the scope of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and increase the number of cases it hears from 150 to 3,000 per year. Sadly, this has motivated the commission to insert its misguided, Orwellian human rights policies into the realm of the physician-patient relationship.

Of course, a 2,000 per cent increase in cases doesn't equal a 2,000 per cent increase in human rights. Rights remain a very circular concept in that there are only so many to go around. Giving more rights to one group inevitably means taking rights from another. That means the commission will be taking away a whole bunch of rights from unsuspecting Ontarians. In this case, it's the physicians who lose.

All of this is disturbing on many levels. The college knew this would be controversial. A 2006 guest editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that called for all physicians to be forced to make referrals for abortion generated such a firestorm that the CMA's director of ethics had to publish a statement saying CMA policy would not require this, since it would violate the conscientious or religious beliefs of many physicians.

Yet, in an indication of how much tolerance and freedom this new era of rights will bring, the college developed this proposal behind closed doors. There were no press releases and, despite placing an Aug. 15 deadline on consultations with physicians, no attempt was made to inform physician groups that will be most affected by/and want to comment on the policy. Since this proposal only came to light on Aug. 14, the college has now graciously responded to outraged demands by extending the consultation deadline to Sept. 12.

Section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees freedom of conscience to all Canadians. Yet, for some reason, the college (that should be defending the rights of its members) is eager to prematurely cede these rights at the mere suggestion of a human rights complaint. This willingness to give up suggests that college leaders may be moonlighting as motivational speakers for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The fact is that every physician operates on some sort of moral framework, whether it be religious or secular or adamantly anti-religious. Just as one physician might encourage a patient to consider other options than abortion, another physician may withhold such information and suggest abortion is the only option. If we discriminate against one doctor's framework for practising medicine, we will inevitably discriminate against others. No doctor will be safe to practise or offer any human interpretation of, or context to, the medical facts.

We have an obligation to not let that happen.

Susan Martinuk's column appears every Friday.
© The Calgary Herald 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Forcing our doctors' hands

http://www.nationalpost.com/todays_paper/story.html?id=730473&p=2
Lorne Gunter, National Post Published: Monday, August 18, 2008

One of the best-known aid organizations in the world is Medecins Sans Frontieres -- Doctors Without Borders. It may soon be joined by a similar group operating within Canada's largest province -- Medecins Sans Conscience -- Doctors Without Consciences.

If the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) gets its way, Ontario's doctors will soon be stripped of their right to follow their moral convictions or religious beliefs when treating patients. In other words, doctors will risk losing their licenses if they run afoul of Ontario's human rights police.

If, out of moral conviction, they refuse to perform abortions, refer patients for abortions or prescribe morning-after and birth control pills, or if they refuse to help same-sex couples conceive children, their own governing body will take away their right to practice medicine.

Should euthanasia become legal at some point, physicians would be expected to help patients die, too, even if doing so violated their every moral fibre. I may not agree with social conservatives that assisted suicide or abortion should be illegal, yet I am repulsed by the idea of coercing doctors into participating in procedures that contravene their morality. It is nothing short of politically correct extortion to threaten doctors with their livelihood if they don't buckle under and practice medicine the way Ontario's human rights junta thinks it should be practiced.

The key passage in the CPSO's seven-page proposal states that a "physician's responsibility is to place the needs of the patient first, [so] there will be times when it may be necessary for physicians to set aside their personal beliefs in order to ensure that patients or potential patients are provided with the medical services they require."

But a lot of the services the CPSO proposes forcing physicians to perform are hardly "necessary."

A particular woman may want an abortion for any number of reasons, but unless her own life is in danger from her pregnancy, it cannot truly be said that an abortion is necessary. Similarly with the desire of same-sex couples to have children; it may be a strong desire, but it is hardly a necessity.

So long as there are no prohibitions against doctors performing these services, the rights of women and gays and lesbians are not violated. They may get what they want without trampling on the rights of conscientious-objector doctors.

There may be some inconvenience involved. Patients seeking abortions or same-sex conception may have to travel to another Ontario town or city to fulfill their rights, but inconvenience is not the same as discrimination.

Freedom often isn't easy. Yet we have developed a very juvenile notion that unless our freedoms come with no obligations or consequences, we aren't really free, which is nonsense.

What the CPSO is proposing, in effect, is to set itself up as an enforcer for the new Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) by incorporating the Tribunal's concept of rights into the physicians' code of professional conduct. This would enable the college to discipline a doctor for political rather than medical conduct. Any Ontario doctor refusing to abide by the twisted definition of rights contained in the province's human rights code -- in which some groups are more equal than others -- could be deemed a bad doctor and decertified.

This is yet another example of the tyranny of human rights commissions over our daily lives. Should these new rules be adopted next month, an Ontario doctor could be barred from practicing medicine not because he or she is unethical or incompetent, but merely because he or she fails to share the same political view of rights and morality as the HRTO (and the brass of the CPSO).

If this were really about maximizing human rights, the college would be proposing to protect from professional discipline any doctor assisting in abortions, same-sex contraception or other morally charged procedures. Instead, by insisting that all doctors must participate in such procedures, regardless of their personal beliefs, the college is taking sides. Like human rights tribunals and commissions, it is placing the rights of women and gays ahead of those of doctors and people of faith, whether they are Jews, Muslims, Christians or others.

The college is not seeking justice, it is demanding conformity. It is not striving for "choice" for patients and doctors, it is attempting to force acceptance of one political and moral view on everyone.

If there is anything unethical in the debate over physicians' consciences, the one-philosophy-trumps-all attitude of the CPSO is it.

lgunter@shaw.ca

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Today is my blogoversary

Yep... I've been doing this for, hmmm... 4 years now.

I don't always have something interesting to say. I don't always have something profound to say either. Sometimes I even just copy and paste other people's articles. But doing this has been more than just good for getting things out of my system, it's been good for going back and remembering things, or even going back and pulling things out again that I want to use in my book. It's been a real help, and maybe the reason I'm actually going to eventually finish this book I started.

Since I have a headache and I don't have any profound thoughts on having a blogoversary nor how this is going to shake the foundations of your personal universe, I am going to end this here.

Happy blogoversary to me.

I Need a Change

Every year since we have been here, with the exception of one, we have bought passes for the Hot Air Balloon Festival here in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu. This year was the 25th anniversary edition. Each year is a bit different, and this year had some new attractions too, but in spite of that, Jean-Alexandre went reluctantly and I have to admit that I was not as thrilled as other years to be going either. I am starting to ache for a change of scenery.

Marc took the kids on Monday (August 11) but didn't have the camera. We all went on Tuesday, along with a friend of Maryssa's. The balloons went up within a limited timespot, a storm was heading in from Montreal.


The girls got their faces painted, Nicolas did too, but his came off in the rain.

August 13, we went back again, with a friend of Gabriel's this time, and this time we came prepared for rain.

No balloons went up this day, because of turbulent systems, so we visited the luminarium instead, a structure on site that lets light through different coloured canvass... quite interesting.


And Nicolas and I got our faces painted.
August 15 was nice and sunny for a change. And the balloons had a 15 minute time space in which to go up. Only the smaller regular shaped balloons took off. The bigger ones didn't have time to blow up and leave.


However some of the bigger ones and some of the differently shaped ones stayed on the ground for a "Magical Night" afterwards.

I did have fun, but just so you know... next year I still want to go camping... or something... I want TO GET AWAY darn it! I've got an itchy foot!!!

Pro-choice's guinea pigs

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/story.html?id=415216
Barbara Kay, National Post Published: Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The birth of my fourth granddaughter two weeks ago -- healthy, a good weight -- was the occasion for joy and relief in equal measure.

My daughter's pregnancy had first been fraught with ominous signs of imminent miscarriage. Then the worry was a probable extremely pre-term birth (at 24 weeks' gestation, her high-risk specialist ominously murmured, "Let's try to get you to 28 weeks … "). Even on bed rest she was offered only 5% odds of going 37 weeks (she made it to 39!).

This was our family's first experience with an abnormal pregnancy. In the course of the unwanted adventure I acquired an education in the risks associated with prematurity, today a feature of one in eight births.

The most harrowing risk of an extremely pre-term birth (XPB) -- under 28 weeks gestation -- is cerebral palsy. The risk is about 38 times higher in XPB than in the overall newborn population.

Sometimes XPB is just bad luck. Sometimes it isn't. According to obstetrician Barbara Luke's classic Every Pregnant Woman's Guide to Preventing Premature Birth, "If you have had one or more induced abortions, your risk of prematurity with this pregnancy increases about 30%." After two, a woman's chance of an XPB doubles. A woman who has had four or more abortions runs nine times the risk of XPB, an increase of 800%.

Studies of black American women throw the problem into bold relief. Black American women, although only 12% of the American population, undergo 35.2% of all abortions. In 1987 it was reported in The New England Journal of Medicine that black American women with two previous abortions had a 91% higher relative risk of a subsequent pre-term birth.

As far back as 1967, Dr. Malcolm Potts -- himself a robust defender of abortion -- writing in The Eugenics Review, noted: "There seems little doubt that there is a true relationship between the high incidence of therapeutic abortion and prematurity. The interruption of pregnancy in the young (under 17) is more dangerous than in other cases."
(Of the approximately 120,000 abortions performed annually in Canada, the repeat rate is more than 29%, and amongst teenagers repeats are four times as high as for older women.)

This concession by Potts, who actually believed in eugenics, well before the organized and militant ideological polarization on abortion we're so familiar with, gives the lie to pro-choicers insisting such claims are "scare tactics" fabricated by pro-life activists.

But you won't find a future-pregnancy prematurity risk on pro-choice Web site fact sheets. The National Abortion Federation's states: "Comprehensive reviews of the data have concluded that a vacuum aspirational procedure in the first trimester poses virtually no risk to future reproductive health."

Since "suction" is the standard abortion method, I wondered if abortion clinics give actual potential clients a more nuanced picture. So I asked a friend in her 30s to do some sleuthing in person.

"Johanne" visited two abortion clinics in Montreal.

The Morgentaler clinic does not offer consultations prior to abortions. One signs the consent form and proceeds directly to the abortion. A consultation was only reluctantly arranged at Johanne's insistence.

Johanne asked a number of questions, including: "Is there a risk associated with a second abortion?" Answer: "No, and the proof is that [the woman] is fertile … One, two, three abortions, there are no risks."

At the Clinique Medicale de l'Alternative, Johanne was received with less suspicion. As at the Morgentaler, there is no consultation prior to the abortion. (I stress this because where prior counselling is offered, as in Sweden, fewer women choose to abort).

Johanne asked a doctor there the same questions, and again, was there a risk to future pregnancies associated with a second abortion? "No, a woman can have one, two, three, four, five abortions with no problem… "

In response to Nazi atrocities in human experimentation, the Nuremberg Code was adopted in 1964. The code insists on animal studies before exposing human beings to any procedure. All surgical procedures in Canada have been tested on animals. Except one. There are no published animal studies on vacuum aspiration abortion.

So the fact that women are guinea pigs is something else you won't see on the pro-abortion fact sheets or on consent forms. What other abortion risks are women not being warned about? Too many to mention in one column, that's for sure.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

L'avortement sans risques mentaux?

Selon cet article dans Lapresse d'aujourd'hui, l'avortement ne cause pas de troubles mentaux.
Les femmes qui se font avorter ne risquent pas plus de développer des troubles mentaux que la population en général, affirme l’American Psychological Association (APA).
Alors,que dire de toutes les femmes qui professent ressentir la coupabilité toute leur vie face à un avortement? Quand on fait une fausse-couche, on ne ressent aucune coupabilité. On est triste, c'est sur, mais ce n'est pas de notre faute.
Selon l’APA, les symptômes comme la tristesse, la dépression et l’anxiété sont parfois signalés après un avortement. Toutefois, aucune recherche ne prouve que l’avortement crée automatiquement ces troubles ou que les femmes qui se font avorter sont plus à risque de vivre ces effets psychologiques. « Les femmes qui vivent un avortement ne risquent pas plus d’avoir de troubles psychologiques que les femmes qui font une fausse couche durant leur premier trimestre », dit le rapport.
Comment peuvent-il nous assurer qu'une femme ne risque pas plus de développer des troubles mentaux qu'une femme qui fait une fausse-couche?  Est-ce qu'ils ont vraiment étudier et comparer les deux cas?  C'est insensé. J'ai déjà fait une fausse-couche. J'ai été triste. Un peu. Mais, à part de me demander qui il (ou elle) aurait été si tout s'était bien passé, je n'y ai plus pensé beaucoup. Par contre, choisir de mettre fin à la vie d'un bébé en parfait santé, sachant exactement ce que je fais, je ne sais pas comment je pourrais vivre avec moi-même après.

Je sais que quand on est enceinte et que ce n'est pas prévu ni désiré, on est plus émotive, et on est plus facile à convaincre que l'avortement est la seule option. Je ne vois pas comment une femme qui ne veut pas vraiment se faire avorter mais qui n'a pas le temps de penser froidement et qui a de la pression de partout pour se faire avorter, ne puisse pas avoir plus de chances d'avoir de troubles psychologiques une fois que c'est fait et qu'elle ne peut pas revenir en arrière. C'est vraiment illogique.

C'est certain qu'il existe des femmes qui n'y pensent même pas, et pour qui le foetus ne signifie pas plus qu'une parasite, mais je crois bien que ces femmes-là sont plutôt rares. Elles sont peut-être plus vocales, mais plus rares.

Et bien sur, Lapresse ne deigne pas présenter l'avis contraire. L'APA considère que les autres études ne sont pas valides. Et puis? Peut-être que d'autres ne considèrent pas que les études de l'APA soient valides. Peut-être qu'on devrait dire aux femmes qui disent avoir fait une dépression après un avortement qu'elles sont folles. Que l'avortement n'a rien a foutre avec leur dépression.

(gros soupires...)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Next time I need shoes...

... I'm going to get them here: http://canada.zappos.com/



These are the ones I want for Christmas:


They're only $143.00 USD, but I'm worth that right? They'd look great with my jeans... Yes, one must dream in life... if they ever go on sale, please let me know...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Got class?

I was styling the hair of an older client today, for a wedding. She'd been to a different wedding two weeks ago. She told me she had been worried that she wasn't dressed up enough, but apparently, compared to others, she ended up being over-dressed.

This first wedding ended up being a civil wedding, all done at the bride's home, where the mother of the bride, who had paid to get all the papers/permission, was the one who conducted the wedding herself. So no need for a justice of the peace or judge or minister. Needless to say, my client found that a little strange. That's the first I've heard of anyone doing something like that myself.

Some people came in flip-flops and casual shorts, no more than what one would wear to the beach. The groom himself, was in black jeans. A very casual affair.

Basically, this is what you're telling us you think about marriage: "It's just a piece of paper." I've heard it said before too, but you don't even have to say it. It shows. Marriage is no big deal. It's a walk in the park. (Or a day on the beach in flip-flops).

Nothing has any value these days. It's in fashion to have no class, to be the "flower child" with "no cares". In the fifties, everyone had class, (mostly) even poor people. Today, few people have class. Most either dress sloppy, or dress trashy. What does that say about what they think about themselves?

My friend Pansy, from Pansy and Peony has been complaining about the baby-boomer generation and it's repercussions. They wanted to be fancy-free. They had children and then discovered that having children got in the way of their fancy-free lifestyle. So then they resented their children.

Having no class is just one more gift to society that this generation has bestowed on us. Fancy-free people don't care. Fancy-free people put no effort into anything. It shows in the way they dress, and in the way they un-parent. No wonder so many young people are so clueless. Noone ever took the pains to teach them how to live.

Some of us were lucky enough to have parents who went against the flow. Some of us still have class. Some of us have it in spite of our parents. Some of us are still teaching our own children to have class. How about you?

Got class?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Culture shock - Catholics and Protestants

Being around non-catholics again brings me to realize something. It's not so much what we believe that is different, (although there is that too) but how we believe that is different. It's a culture shock!

You know, culture shock is worse and more badly understood when it happens between two similar cultures. When you go to China, you expect them to be different. You expect them to do different things, react in a different way.

When you go to the next province or state, or hey sometimes even just go from the south of the same province to the north, you don't expect so much of a change. Had I been visibly native, my friends in Québec may have realized that some things I did were just a part of native culture. I'm not native, but I grew up with them, and I grew up in a Northen culture. Not understanding this, noone thought to set me right on cultural dos and don'ts in Québec, because I "should have known better."

Protestants (especially the Pentecostal/Baptist type) like to learn verses from the Bible by heart. A good Protestant knows his Bible well and knows the exact references for every one of the verses he learns by heart. He can't go wrong.

Catholics, on the other hand, like to learn prayers off by heart. There's the Our Father that all Christians know, but we also have the Hail Mary, the Glory Be, the Apostle's Creed, and if you're an extra good Catholic, the Nicene creed as well. Then there's the "Oh my Jesus" one that comes at the end of each decade of the rosary, the St Michael archangel one, the "Hail Queen of Heaven" one, and I bet my mother could rattle off a dozen more she knows by heart. If I were a good Catholic and followed in her ways, I'd know them too. She tried. I just never saw the point in learning a whole bunch of prayers and never coming up with anything orignal to say myself. Too influenced by those protestants I guess.

Protestants like to get spontaneous in their prayers. Personally, I like spontaneity. I find it easier to concentrate on what I'm saying, if I haven't just repeated it 10 times already. It's refreshing. On the other hand, if I'm at a loss for words, then it's nice to be able to pray something I don't have to make up along the way. It's like repeating a poem to God, or singing a song of praise. On that, both Catholics and Protestants can agree, hymns, learned by heart, are a great way to pray.

As a not too shabby catholic who's had a few exegetic courses on the Bible, I know my way around the Bible not too badly. However I know practically none of it by heart, although I can repeat a lot of it in my own words. If you hand me a Bible, I will probably, eventually find what I am looking for. But never as quickly as a Protestant. Please don't ever ask me for references. Just trust me on it. It's in there. Somewhere. I read it. Before.

Protestants go around asking each other to pray for them. Good Catholics do that too. Really organized Catholics like my mom (I love my mom by the way) have whole lists of people and details to pray for. Catholics, as well as Protestants, believe that the soul does not die. We take that a step forward and ask the saints in Heaven to pray for us. This does not mean that by praying to them, we believe they are God. To pray also means to beg, or to beseech. All we are doing is begging them to pray for us here on earth.

You know, Protestants should even feel at ease praying something like the Hail Mary, instead of being shocked by it. The first part of the prayer is a verse from the Bible. A verse from the Bible! I know a verse from the Bible by heart and I repeat it all the time! It is what Elizabeth says to Mary when Mary comes to visit her after the angel Gabriel's visit.
Hail Mary! Full of Grace the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.
Absolutely nothing scandalous there. Except that we don't tend to tack the reference on at the end. Instead we finish by simply asking Mary to pray for us.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Jesus is God. Mary is Jesus's mother. Therefore it is logical to call Mary the mother of God. Mother, not creator. In the same way, I may be my children's mother, I may even have participated in creating them, in God's plan for creation, but the ultimate creator of my children, is God, not me. Who better to ask to pray for us than the one person Jesus was closest to here on earth?

No, we don't need to go through Mary to get to Jesus. Using the same logic, we don't need to ask anyone else here on earth to pray for us either. We can pray to Jesus for our own selves, for our own needs. Sounds a bit selfish though, a bit individualist. We're a Church. We're community. We pray for each other. Catholics (and I'm sure Protestants too) consider souls already in Heaven as part of the Church, part of our community. So we talk to them, and we ask them to pray for us. We all believe that praying as a community makes our prayers that much stronger. Jesus himself said, "For wherever 2 or more of you are together, I am with you." Or something like that. In a Gospel. Somewhere. I could find it if I wanted to, but I'm Catholic and I'm making a point. And if you are reading this and you are Protestant, you already know the exact reference and don't need to be told anyway.

In some English communities, it might be considered an insult to be offered money for a service rendered. As if we thought it didn't come from the heart, or that somehow our relationship was cold and calculating. A small personalized gift would be more acceptable than an amount of money.

Come to Québec and if you do not offer money for a service rendered, then people think that you did not really appreciate the gesture. Your friends will most likely refuse the money, (unless the service cost them something, or they really need the money) and you probably expect them to refuse, but you offer anyway, to show how much you appreciate them and they refuse anyway, to let you know that it was from the heart.

It took a really long time for me to get this. Where I come from, noone offers money for anything. You help me one day, another day I'll be helping someone else, who'll in turn help another and another who'll maybe help you, and it's just a community pulling together, with noone counting points.

My friends got frustrated with me, and I didn't get why, and noone thought "culture shock". That was too easy. We'd all been to Paraguay, and experienced real culture shock. Yes sir.

I think Protestants and Catholics could get along really well if we just got over a lot of the culture shock we don't even recognize as culture shock. We might just find out that we have a lot more in common than we think. And that we have a lot to learn from each other.