Friday, July 31, 2009

Greetings Blognic Attendees Plus Some Thoughts On Assisted Suicide.

First of all a big and very belated hello to my new friends from last week's blognic. Catholic blogging mega-legend, Father Zuhlsdorf, was there as was His Hermeneuticalness. So were the strong woman herself, who - and this should not go unmentioned - had an enchanting mantilla in her car, Londiniensis, the very nice Oliver Hayes of The Expectation of Our Lady, Crouchback and other readers and lurkers. The only disappointment for me was that I missed Father Mildew but other than that, I think it's fair to say that we all had a good time and toddled off at the end of the evening in fine spirits.

Well, I was in a good mood until I got to the newspaper kiosk and saw this splash headline on the early edition of The Thunderer and my temper got increasingly worse as the week went on. And on that note, I should flag up this very good post by Fiorella which highlights what might be called the feminisation of euthanasia.

If we consider the age group that is most likely to be effected by changes in the law on euthanasia – the elderly - women are going to bear the brunt because, as SCBI points out in its paper ‘Euthanasia and Women’, women by and large live longer than men in western countries and the majority of older persons are therefore female.

Women are more likely to be poor than men in old age, more likely to have taken career breaks and been unable to contribute to pension schemes and more likely to have earned less during their working lives, regardless of their qualifications. Professor Silvia Canetto of Colorado State University found, during her research looking at the Hemlock Society’s database, that mercy killings are typically administered by men to women, and two-thirds of victims were female. Professor Canetto concluded that “the taking of one’s own life tends to be seen as a masculine act, thus mercy killing appears as a more permissible way for women to commit suicide.”

But as Sidney Callahan comments, the issue goes deeper than that. Like it or not, women tend to take the role of carers within society, more so than men. Even today, women still play a significantly greater role in the raising of children, for example, so the transition from carer to dependent can be extremely harrowing for women and lead to feelings of worthlessness and frustration. These feelings need to be addressed compassionately, not compounded by creating a culture in which ending one’s life is treated as the decent thing to do. The 'right' to die very quickly becomes the 'duty' to die as some euthanasia advocates already acknowledge.

This, of course, is precisely the point and what is so terrifying about the bland reassurances mouthed by the slick salesmen of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, or Dignity in Dying as it now likes to call itself. The VES (DiD) won't guarantee that any legislation in favour of assisted suicide will not be abused because it cannot do so. Yet as with capital punishment, if mistakes are made - and let's be frank here, no one is infallible - the finality of death ensures they cannot be reversed, undone or found unsafe with compensation paid to the person involved.

The debate over assisted suicide will be played out in the coming months. It's not completely unlikely that an MP favouring assisted suicide will come top of the private members' lottery and put forward a bill for its legalisation or decriminalisation. We'll have our heartstrings tugged by newspapers publishing emotive copy accompanied by pictures of Debbie Purdy and Polly Pot will be given free rein to foam incoherently about the religious interfering with the natural right of every free born Englishperson to head for the exit doors at a time which suits them.

All that is predicatable. But for one thing, prudent legislation is not best made when driven by the din of shrill ideologues who deal in hard cases but refuse to consider the potentially awful costs of assisted suicide. And for another, despite the Voluntary Euthanasia Society's aggressive colonisation of the terms, compassion and progress don't just belong on one side of this debate. It would be as well for Care Not Killing to remind everyone of that fact.

Hat Tip: My fellow member of the Potty Polly fanclub and do read his elegantly-written post on the subject of assisted suicide too.

Oh and read Dominic Lawson as well. He's sober, thoughtful and very insightful; a world away from the deliberate hysteria of the VES (DiD), in other words.

And when you have done all that, go forth and do good things.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Disgraceful coverage of the Debbie Purdy story by pro-euthanasia Newsnight.

Anyone watching BBC's Newsnight right now?

Its treatment of the Debbie Purdy assisted suicide story is cringe-makingly biased. Shame on you for that report, Sophie Hutchinson. You're not a journalist but a cheap propagandist.

Huh! At last, we get a few minutes of David Morris. A pretence of balance.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What is the point of weather forecasts?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Viva Nicaragua

Ireland - A glimpse at the Pro Life Future

Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

US 1 in 4,800
UK 1 in 8,200
Ireland 1 in 47,600

Maternal deaths in Ireland are now so infrequent, however, as to make it difficult to draw conclusions as to the general causes of maternal death from Irish data alone and therefore international experience in this area is also drawn on in analysing the issue.

Titus Oates does Glasgow North East

Sounds of the brakes being slammed on and the screeching of tires as the car is put into a sharp reverse in Glasgow.
spokesmen for the Labour and Conservatives parties told the Scottish Catholic Observer this week the politicians had been misquoted, their comments taken out of context, and that neither believed that membership of Opus Dei would bar a candidate from public office.
This looks like a definite reverse ferret.
But connoisseurs of bigotry shouldn't be disheartened, there's still one group which is up for some old-fashioned Catholic-bashing.
None too subtly playing the dual loyalties card, Titus Oates of the National Secular Society opined,
“The concern for voters would be that such a person would have their allegiance to the Church and not to the SNP. It is one thing to bring your religious beliefs to politics, but it is another to bring the dogmas of a right-wing Catholic organisation. That would be the worry for voters.”
Warming to his theme, Oates claimed that David Kerr had tried to "guilt trip" his critics into silence.
In fact, David Kerr had nothing more than plead for his religion not to be made an issue of in the election but in the topsy-turvy truth-distorting world of the NSS where "good" is inevitably described as "bad" and every Catholic in public office is carictured as a villain this is par for the course.
Hence Opus Dei is an "extremist" organisation, even though it doesn't teach anything the Catholic Church doesn't teach and Oates insisted, David Kerr's membership of a perfectly legal, legitimate organisation is an issue that the electorate of Glasgow North East should be "made aware of" even though David Kerr is emphatically not campaigning on a religious platform of introducing compulsory fish-eating on Friday.
Of course, the NSS has a lot of er, previous m'lud when it comes to stirring the currents of ancient hatreds and bullying people to whom it takes exception.
Two years ago, Titus Oates sprang to the defence of Dolphinarium favourite and honorary NSS member, la Venomballs when she caused uproar by suggesting that Catholics should be discriminated against in public office. Typically, he didn't just defend the bigots' champion, he also went on the attack against journalist Paul Donovan, who he described as having "launched a fussilade against her".
In fact Paul Donovan just reported the facts and gave la Nutball plenty of opportunity to reply. It's called being a journalist and writing relevant copy.
See that twisting of the facts, that distortion of the truth again, that aggressive totalitarian instinct for controlling the press and lashing out at any reporter who doesn't toe the NSS line? That's Oates's modus operandi, as is his scraping the bottom of every barrel of stereotypes his feeble impotent imagination can reach for.
In Oates's mind, Catholics are all the same. They are invariably sinister stooges of a foreign power, bent on breaking Britain under the Vatican cosh. Catholic bishops are "opportunists" who think "they have the whip hand" which they can direct with "hysterical ranting". Catholics have an "enforcement machine", which started a "campaign to silence" Mary Honeyball. Catholics are also secretive and duplicitous: "Ruth Kelly the Labour MP who became a cabinet minister, was revealed by the press to be a member of Opus Dei – she did not volunteer the information herself" and on and on.
And don't think that Titus and his friends restrict themselves to defaming Catholics in public life or running down working journalists doing their jobs. No way Jose Maria. Like the big badass fighters they are, they're a dab hand at picking on civilians, like Mrs Jackie Parkes. That must've taken some guts, boys. And, ooh, wasn't it sidesplitting to say, "this Catholic mum lives up to every stereotypie imaginable - and then some" .
That comment probably wasn't just an accident, by the way. Judging by the types the NSS invites to be honorary members, the fertility rates of different social groups are a cause of a lot of anxiety at 23 Red Lion Square. And yes, I am talking about the fragrant Baroness "tell the poor to have fewer children" Flather. She made those notorious remarks in 2004. Two years later, the NSS which has almost as obsessive a media monitoring operation as this blog does, welcomed her as an honorary member.
Ed West put it well when he described the National Secular Society not as secularists but as Athiest bigots. From producing what looks like dodgy research in an attempt to drive chaplains out of hospitals through bitching at working journalists to bullying civilian bloggers, there is no level the NSS will not stoop to in its drive to make the lives of religious people as unpleasant as possible. This isn't just another pressure group to be taken seriously in the corridors of power. The NSS is a purveyor of prejudice and it should be shunned by everybody.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Here We Go Again