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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

It is estimated that the United Nations mission in the Congo is the largest and most expensive peacekeeping mission in the world.  The United Nations has 20,000 troops there.  20,000.  The UN has been on the ground there providing peacekeepers since 1999.  And what have all the billions of dollars, military manhours and brute strength achieved in Congo?

Peace?

Prosperity?

Stability?

Er…no.  What it accomplished is a new title.  Congo is now — according to the UN — “the rape capital of the world.”  Yes, that’s right.  In the Congo, where we have a gigantic UN peacekeeping force, 48 women are raped EVERY HOUR.  That’s some peacekeeping going on right there.  Way to protect the women and children, United Nations!

I guess it’s the best we can expect from our earthly princes over at our savior body, the United Nations.  At least the news reports of rapes and pedophilia by the UN’s very own troops it has had in the Congo for last decades have slacked off.  Or is it that the major media just isn’t reporting on these atrocities?  After all, the Food-for-Oil and rape scandals of the past barely made page 3 of the New York Times.  And although it was National Public Radio that reported this shocking news of the rape statistics in Congo, NPR did not even mention the presence of UN forces, nor their complicity in the ongoing rape of that country’s women and children. Not one mention of the multitude of accusations there. 

So you may well ask, because no one has really told you, what atrocities?  Well, to date UN troops have been accused of widespread rape, child sexual abuse, child trafficking, and pornography, in some cases systemic,  in Congo, Haiti, Sierra Leone, Sudan….basically everywhere there are UN troops stationed, there are reports of raping and sexual abuse of children.  And there are over 200,000 UN troops currently stationed around the world

Here’s what the UN’s confidential report from 2004, obtained by the Washington Post, said:

U.N. peacekeepers threatened U.N. investigators investigating allegations of sexual misconduct in Congo and sought to bribe witnesses to change incriminating testimony, a confidential U.N. draft report says.

The 34-page report, which was obtained by The Washington Post, accuses U.N. peacekeepers from Morocco, Pakistan and Nepal of seeking to obstruct U.N. efforts to investigate a sexual abuse scandal that has damaged the United Nations’ standing in Congo.

The report documents 68 cases of alleged rape, prostitution and pedophilia by U.N. peacekeepers from Pakistan, Uruguay, Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa and Nepal. U.N. officials say they have uncovered more than 150 allegations of sexual misconduct throughout the country as part of a widening investigation into sexual abuse by U.N. personnel that has plagued the United Nations’ largest peacekeeping mission, U.N. officials said.

Sexual exploitation and abuse, particularly prostitution of minors, is widespread and long-standing,” says a draft of the internal July report, which has not previously been made public. “Moreover, all of the major contingents appear to be implicated.”  (emphasis mine)

Apparently, troops from countries like Morocco, Pakistan, Tunisia, Sri Lanka and Nepal (who were accused of raping a 10 year old girl inside a United Nations armored vehicle) did not receive the memo about the United Nations being the savior of the world, yada yada.  About how the new world order will lift up all mankind because mankind will save itself via well, the new world order.  And these troops are not remembering to act like saviors of mankind.  Apparently, they still act like conquerers, barbarians and such. 

It was with disappointment that the UN spokesperson dealt with reports surfacing in Haiti as far back as 2006.  They thought things were going so well there!  As the Washington Times writes,

Reports that peacekeepers raped teenage girls have surfaced in Haiti, where a United Nations mission so far had avoided the sexual abuse scandals that have sullied the international organization’s reputation in other parts of the world.

Has it truly “sullied” the UN’s reputation?  Has anyone truly questioned why this enormous body of mostly barbarian third world countries is given a blank check to send poorly disciplined, undereducated, racist troops into helpless, struggling countries with little or no oversight?

According to Wikipedia, the bulk of troops come from poor third world (sorry, I mean “developing”) countries because “peacekeeping” brings in alot of money for them.  Less that 4.5% of UN troops are from the EU and less than 1% from the US.  Here is the breakdown, according to Wikipedia:

Despite the large number of contributors, the greatest burden continues to be borne by a core group of developing countries, who often profit financially from their participation in such missions.[citation needed] The 10 main troop-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping operations as of September 2010 were Bangladesh (10,736), Pakistan (10,691), India (8,935), Nigeria (5,709), Egypt (5,458), Nepal (5,044), Jordan (3,826), Ghana (3,647), Rwanda (3,635), Uruguay (2,489).

It doesn’t take a world geography major to see that these countries are known by and large for their despotic rulers and human rights abuses.

The UN has been in Congo since 1999.  The conflict is still ongoing there.   As far back as 2004, the UN’s own confidential report stated that sexual exploitation by U.N. personnel in Congo “appears to be significant, wide spread and ongoing.”  Citation.  Eight years later, we have a hell on earth for woman and children, a place where 1,152 women are raped EVERY DAY in what is generally thought to be an under-reported crime. 

So who is going to save these people, if the United Nations can’t do it?  The psalmist knows.

Hallelujah!  
Praise the LORD, my soul; I shall praise the LORD all my life, sing praise to my God while I live.
I Put no trust in princes, in mere mortals powerless to save.  
When they breathe their last, they return to the earth; that day all their planning comes to nothing.
Happy those whose help is Jacob’s God, whose hope is in the LORD, their God,  
The maker of heaven and earth, the seas and all that is in them, Who keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free;  
the LORD gives sight to the blind. The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD protects the stranger, sustains the orphan and the widow, but thwarts the way of the wicked.
The LORD shall reign forever, your God, Zion, through all generations!
Hallelujah!

Pray to the Lord our God for the safety and peace of the peoples of the earth.  Pray for the weak and helpless, the women and the children who are most vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

Lord, hear our prayer.

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From the Boston Herald:

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“…Meanwhile, Charles Skidmore, principal of Arlington High School, where a Maria Talks poster hangs in the nurse’s office, said, “I’m assuming because it’s from the Department of Public Health, it’s balanced information. There’s so much information available now, at least this has someone standing behind it that is a state-sponsored organization.” (emphasis mine)

I read the quote from the principal and my reaction is, “Orly?”  (that’s teenspeak for “Oh, really?” said in a sardonic and sometimes sarcastic tone.)  So what is the state doing that Principal Skidmore feels so secure in?

“The commonwealth is using taxpayer money to tell kids how to get a secret abortion, and that’s wrong,” said Linda Thayer, a former Boston schoolteacher who is vice president for educational affairs of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, which this week took aim at the site. (emphasis mine)

Ah, so let’s look again at the ‘assumption’ that Principal Skinner is making with regards to some posters hanging in his school. Scripture warns us directly to trust in God, not in earthly power, yet, we do it all the time.  Government is our friend, it’s here to protect us, we are America, we are the land of the free and the brave, the great democratic experiment.  Surely, we can trust those we elect to make the best decisions for us. Can’t we?

If that were ever true (and I doubt it were), it is far from true today.  Today, our bloated government is chockful of liberal bureaucrats who are intent on pushing an activist social agenda that you and I not only do not want, but realize is damaging to us, our children, our country and our future.

Today’s Boston Herald has a good example of the hateful activities which our government is sponsoring and funding, in the Orwellian-like insistence that this is a good thing.  In Massachusetts, the commonwealth is paying for a website to encourage teens who are sexually active.  We’re told the website is “essential” and “non-judgmental” and it has the full support of NARAL and the AIDS Action Committee:

A state-funded sex education Web site that tells teens an abortion is “much easier than it sounds” has drawn fire from outraged pro-lifers who say mariatalks.com is glossing over ugly truths, steering teens toward the controversial procedure and counseling them how to keep mom and dad in the dark.

Aren’t you glad to know that public money is being spent to tell kids how to avoid the law, skirt their parents, trash their young lives, and do longtime psychological damage to themselves?

I think Mr. Charles Skidmore is naive at best, and disingenious at worst.  He has passed the buck along and is not accepting responsibility on behalf of these kids, or just as likely, is complicit in the sexualization of our youth.  Either way, it’s not a pretty picture in Massachusetts.

Ugh.  I’d parse this article but I’m tired and discouraged.  Enough to bring it to your attention today.

Please pray for an end to abortion, and the strength to love and teach our kids in God’s ways, not the ways of earthly princes.

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We have been at our parish since we moved to the state.  From the start, we knew we were blessed to have such a loving community be our parish home.  But one Sunday, perhaps a couple months after moving here, I was surprised and upset that the Prayer of the Faithful was hijacked by someone whose intent was to lecture us on how we should vote.  I do not now recall the exact prayer but it went beyond the usual prayer for our leaders, and prayer for social justice and veered off into something about “taxes being used to ensure the equitable distribution of wealth” sort of thing.  My husband and I exchanged shocked glances at the blatant attempt to editorialize the prayer.  So after Mass, I approached Fr. Tom, who didn’t know me from Adam, and told him that I really hoped that this was the last time that the Prayer of the Faithful was politicized.  He looked very surprised, I remember.  I still don’t know if I did the right thing, or the right thing in the right way, but that was the last time we ever heard ideology mixed into our Prayer of the Faithful.

I thought of that time when I came across this article on the purpose for a Prayer of the Faithful, and how it should be done.  Deacon Frank Agnoli, the Director of Liturgy for the Diocese of Davenport writes up a guiding reflection on this underappreciated part of the Mass.  No mini-homilies or political rants, please!

Prayer of the Faithful
And, together, we raise our voices in prayer. Baptized into Jesus Christ, we share in his priestly office of offering praise and thanksgiving to the Father, and of interceding on behalf of the world.

It is important to keep in mind how the Prayer of the Faithful is structured. The presider first addresses the people, inviting them to prayer.

Next, the deacon (or, in his absence, another minister) announces the intentions.  We call these “general” intercessions because they ought to be petitions that the assembly can, by and large, agree on, and because they do not focus on the needs of any one individual.

This is not the time for a “mini-homily,” the place to make a particular point; or to tell God how to answer our prayers. It is neither the time to pray for an unknown “special intention” (to which the assembly cannot assent) nor to offer prayers of thanksgiving (the Eucharistic Prayer makes that part of its structure and focus).

Rather, we are called to imagine the reign of God as proclaimed in the Scriptures and give voice to what we see: a world of justice, a world where the hungry are fed and the sick made whole, a world where death and tears are no more.  Finally, the presider closes the intercessions by addressing God the Father, through Christ — the one through whom all prayer is made.

Entering the Mystery
Do I really believe what I say I believe? What have I done to learn more about this faith that I profess, about being a Christian?

Do I hear in the Prayer of the Faithful not a list of demands that we make on God, but instead a call to action?  If I dare pray for justice, for healing, for the drying of tears — what am I doing, filled with God’s grace, to make those things come to pass?

The Ars Celebrandi
As one who leads prayer, do I let my body reflect what I am doing? Here, as well as throughout the liturgy, do I look at the people when I am addressing them? Where is my gaze when I am addressing God?

As a deacon, does my liturgical role of being the one who announces the intercessions truly reflect my ministry of charity outside the liturgy — that I am the one who knows the cares of the community so well that I can give voice to those needs before God? Or is there a disconnect between what I do within the walls of the church and outside them?

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Editorial Opinion column in UK’s The Daily Mail:

These judges want to destroy our core moral values. We simply can’t let them succeed

It’s good reading.

(updated March 7, 2011)

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Pregnant women should be told that having an abortion is safer than having a baby, highly contentious new advice from doctors states.” Now I have heard it all. Women are designed to have babies and have been doing so for thousands of years. But if the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says so, we shouldn’t take any chances with our health. The upside is that if all women take this advice the human race will have finished destroying the planet within the next 120 years. Job done.– Soap Bar, Land of Flakes , 27/2/2011 17:17 (from a comment to UK Daily Mail online article, italics mine)

It breaks my heart to see how deeply moral relativism has progressed in Great Britain.  On the same day that we learn that NHS cancer patients in the UK are being denied life-extending drugs on cost grounds, The Daily Mail reports on upcoming guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists declaring that a procedure that kills life in the womb of a mother is really much better than actually gestating that life, nevermind that the whole purpose of a womb is to gestate life.

Pregnant women should be told that having an abortion is safer than having a baby, highly contentious new advice from doctors states.

The guidelines, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, also say that most women who terminate a pregnancy will not suffer any psychological problems as a result.

The guidance, which is still in draft form, has horrified medical ethicists and Christian groups, who say it forces an ‘absurdly liberal agenda’ on women in a vulnerable situation.

As the paper notes, these recommendations are no only controversial but are more tellingly, not medically sound.  In what appears to be a well-written and researched article, the reporter presents the views of leading ethicists, psychiatrists and medical doctors refuting the science underlying the proposed guidelines:

 And, with abortion clinics among those contributing to the guidance, [critics] likened the procedure to allowing a tobacco company to review the consequence of smoking or putting McDonald’s in charge of a study on how fast food affects health.

The RCOG guidance on the care of women asking for an abortion states is aimed at all doctors, nurses and counsellors involved in terminations.

One of the first sections, on ‘what women need to know’ about abortion, states that major complications are rare and that women ‘should be advised that abortion is generally safer than continuing a pregnancy to term’.

But critics called on the RCOG to produce the evidence to back its claim, and added that many complications caused by abortions will be recorded in A&E and other stats and so are missing from the official tally.

The chapter finishes with the statement that ‘the great majority’ of women who have abortions do not experience adverse psychological effects.

It continues: ‘Although abortion can be associated with a range of feelings, long-term feelings of guilt, sadness and regret appear only to linger in a minority of women.’

This leaves much less room for doubt that than current RCOG advice, while simply states that while rates of psychiatric illness and self-harm are higher in women who’ve had an abortion, there’s no evidence that the termination itself was the trigger.

Dr Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, accused the RCOG of ‘perpetuating a myth’ about the safety of abortion.

Questioning why the report’s 18 authors include representatives from two of the country’s largest abortion clinics but not one psychiatrist, he said: ‘The RCOG has been heavily criticised in the past for underplaying the physical and psychological consequences of abortion for women and this new document appears to continue in that vein.

‘Asking this group to comment objectively and honestly about the physical and psychological consequences of abortion for women is like asking Philip Morris or British American Tobacco to review the health consequences of smoking or Macdonald’s to outline the adverse effects of fast food consumption.

There are simply too many financial and ideological vested interests at stake that threaten a fair assessment.’

Trevor Stammers, a former GP and a lecturer in medical ethics at St Mary’s University College in Surrey, said the RCOG had ignored one the most authoritative studies into the psychiatric effects of abortion.

He also accused it of rushing out the updated guidance ahead of a Royal College of Psychiatry report into the psychological effects of abortion.

He said: ‘When they can’t refute the evidence, they have just ignored it. This is an absolutely disgraceful stitch up that they have forced through quickly.(more…)

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I really like Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana governor and Catholic convert.  It took him seven years to decide to convert to Christianity from Hinduism and he has spoken before about how difficult that was for relationship with his parents.  He seems like an intelligent and thoughtful man, and it seems like he is earnest, which we don’t really see much of in politics these days.  Oh sure, they all make out that they are so very very sincere, but how many truly earnest politicians can you name?

Anyway, I read this brief interview that Sarah Bailey Pulliam (also of GetReligion.org ) wrote for Christianity Today about Gov. Jindal and it reminded me of what a tough road politicians of faith have.  So many contradictory and conflicting interests, their road is full of traps and snares, and Satan keeps setting out more.

We should pray for Bobby Jindal and all our elected officials.

Q & A: Bobby Jindal on his Vision | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction.

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I’ve begged for prayers for politicians before and been burned so you think I know better.  Still….

God bless Rep. Mike Pence

and…please!  Pray for him!

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