Another book signing, this time at Indigo, downtown Calgary, went well. It is amazing the interesting people one meets at such events and as usual, the Indigo staff were very helpful. Visiting friends and family is another great addition to the visit. The drive through the park was beautiful, as the weather was fine.
On this day, exactly a hundred and fifty years ago, Abraham Lincoln delivered his ageless Gettysburg Address. There is five copies of the speech made in Lincoln’s own handwriting. I have had the privilege of holding in my hand, between glass, one of the copies he penned. Some years ago, a very pleasant curator of the Lincoln collection at the Illinois State Historical Library gave me a private tour of the collection which ended with him getting their copy of the Gettysburg Address out of their vault and showing it to me. According to the Library of Congress website, “the copy for Edward Everett, the orator who spoke at Gettysburg for two hours prior to Lincoln, is at the Illinois State Historical Library in Springfield”, so I may have held this copy. It would have been great to make it to Gettysburg and see a renactment of the speech on this occasion, but it didn’t work out. It is too bad there is so little about this in the media, especially in the History Channels of the world, where one would expect to hear a much about it. Rex Murphy, in the National Post, recently wrote that what Lincoln said remains a “perfect miracle of public utterance”. As I stated in my book, “in his speeches and proclamations, Abraham Lincoln did quote Scripture more than any other President in history, as he led the United States through the worst crisis of its existence. The words that inspired the war-torn nation, echoed and still echo with the power and the beauty of the King James Bible.”
Why does the Gettysburg Address continue to have such an impact among people in America and around the world? I suggest that this speech, like President Abraham Lincoln’s leadership, was exactly what the trying time, the nation, and the world needed, and still is in need of.
“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/gettysburg-address/
Another dispatch for the Far East, from Taipei, Taiwan. It is a balmy 23 Celsius here and likely will get to around 28. Taiwan is one of the tiger economies of the area, along with Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea. The country is clearly more prosperous than the Philippines, though it isn’t booming the way it used to before so much manufacturing went to China. The people are patriotic and are happy to point out when things are made in Taiwan, as opposed to mainland China.
Christianity, or so called Christianity, is held by only a small portion of the population. I am told that though Catholicism is here, it is a very tiny minority. The Taiwanese people don’t like the idea that priests cannot marry and have children, as family is very important to people here and is a form of security, instead of the social safety nets we have in the west.
The Taiwanese people are very friendly but most speak little or no English, as opposed to the Philippines, where English is spoken by many. Their driving habits are marginally better than what is seen in the Philippines. Traffic lights are often treated as optional and scooters also drive everywhere, including the sidewalk and through tight markets. You can often see mothers with their child balanced in front of them, zipping down the road, without helmets. They look like they are having a lot of fun though and I never saw any accidents, though I hear they happen.
Taiwan had a very low birth rate because there are three children aborted for every one born, which a shocking statistic. I would imagine that there wouldn’t be as many abortions in places like the Philippines.
There is much more corruption in the Philippines I believe. I was traveling as part of a group and I heard about the corrupt police. Then on the drive to the airport, the driver of the van I was in was shaken down. I was up front in the passenger seat and all of a sudden, there was a man on a motorbike beside us who was beeping his horn and pointing to the side. There were no lights flashing and you could see no identification on the man so our driver didn’t pull over immediately. The cop said the driver was getting a ticket for ignoring police directions and that would be 7500 pesos. It is difficult to dispute tickets so the driver gave a thousand peso note, or $25 approximately, and there was no ticket. A friend in Taiwan, who has been there 25 years said something like that has never happened to him or anyone he knows, in that country. In conversation, a Filipino pilot who happened to be sitting beside me a on a flight said he thought that the corruption is due to Spanish rule of the Philippines, but as I pointed out, that ended more than a hundred years ago. That doesn’t seem so believable.
It has been a very busy past few days. There was a ride down the B.C. interior, through striking fall colours and the province’s stunning beauty, into the Thompson and Fraser canyons, among craggy snow tipped mountains, dry lands, even sagebrush and lush river bottoms to the lower mainland and Vancouver.
Then a flight to the capital city of the Philippines. On the trip over, I sat beside an accomplished Filipino lady who was returning from Toronto to attend her brother’s funeral. She was very interesting and had some fascinating things to say about the predominant religion of the Philippines. She was born before World War 2, and remembers the news that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor and the invasion of the Philippines. She survived this but some members of her family did not. She went on to go to the United States and get a master’s degree from Yale University in pharmacology.
A good job offer brought her to Canada, where she did research on DNA.
She told me that they were brought up in the Church of Rome and her father was a Catholic but he hated the priests and didn’t believe in confession. She told me that as a boy, he had witnessed terrible wrongdoing by priests, that stayed with him. He was an adventurous boy and though they were not supposed to, he and others had gotten into a convent. They must perhaps heard or seen someone, then hid on the grounds and inadvertently witnessed the rape of a nun by a priest. This lady indicated that this must have happened more than once. Her father reported what he saw but was not believed. It is quite a report from a very credible, accomplished woman, information that she volunteered. Echoes of the sensational nineteenth century book, The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk. She also said she was not allowed to read the Bible as a young person because the Church forbid it, as Charles Chiniquy also said in his autobiography.
It is has been also interesting to see the role of Catholicism here in the Philippines, on the surface, still a predominantly Catholic nation. I noticed one prayer room at the Manila airport, that obviously was for Catholics with all the photos of John Paul 2 on the wall. And there is Manila, the steaming, bustling capital. I had heard about the streets and the driving but you have to experience it to believe it. I don’t think I would like to try. A friend here said that reportedly an F1 race driver said he wouldn’t want to drive Manila streets also. Friends are staying in possibly the most exclusive hotel in the city. I am staying in a very nice new Holiday Inn nearby but we apparently don’t rate the machine guns that the guards are holding in front of that hotel. This place moves, even in shopping malls, you lead, follow or get out of the way or get run over, it seems.
It is quite strange that religious organizations that profess to be Christian, such as the Roman Catholic Church, also declare their belief in evolution. Especially since the Bible makes it clear that God created the world and the universe in six literal days.
This support of evolution must come from a need to be accepted by the world and be in step with “science”.
Recently, the Creation Science Association of British Columbia, of which I am a member, had another speaker give a lecture at the University of Northern B.C. The speaker was astronomer Dr. Danny Faulkner. He lectured on comets and the age of the solar system.
It was an interesting, though technical lecture and there was a fairly good turnout and a full question period. What I thought remarkable was the fact that, unknown to organizers, someone left pamphlets outside the lecture room on a chair so, it appears, people coming in late would think that they were part of the talk. They weren’t. They were entitled, “How Old is the Earth?” and presented arguments for why the world could be considered millions of years old rather than thousands of years. What I also thought was very interesting was the subtitle on the front of this pamphlet which read, “The evidence against a recent creation is overwhelming. There is perhaps no greater attack upon science and rational thought than the doctrine of a recent creation of the planet of Earth and / or the universe.” Now the translation, what this was really saying: “there is perhaps no greater attack on the belief system/religion of evolution than the doctrine of a recent creation of the planet of Earth and / or the universe.” The author of the pamphlet preferred to remain anonymous.
Well, thanks anyway Mr. Anonymous Pamphlet Author for the admission that the message contained in the best-selling book of all time, the Bible, is a tremendous bulwark against evolution. Also thanks very much for admitting, by this pamphlet, that these local lectures of the Creation Science Association are also effective. It would be great if you could get to the point of also admitting that evolution isn’t science, although we are told over and over again that it is. Despite the propaganda, no one has ever observed a man come from a pool of chemicals and never will, and no repeated claims will change that.
We perhaps cannot expect too much from these anonymous supporters of evolution but they might be getting better as a year or two ago, someone tore down all the advertising posters for an upcoming Creation Science lecture and that hasn’t happened lately. Possibly the same person that year complained to UNBC that such a lecture shouldn’t be allowed on campus but the staff at UNBC, to their credit, explained to the man about a little thing like freedom of speech extended to community users, that apparently this evolutionist / totalitarian couldn’t seem to understand. Oh well, baby steps.
Does the current pope know what he is saying at any given time? It has been recently reported that Pope Francis has stated that God will “forgive” atheists and agnostics as long as they behave morally and live according to their consciences. In an article entitled, “Pope Francis to atheists: ‘God forgives those who obey their conscience’” the National Post reported that pontiff penned a large letter to the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, which reproduced more than four pages. http://life.nationalpost.com/2
One could imagine a response from the Almighty: “God to Pope Francis: ‘you do not speak for me’” Hebrew 11:6 reads, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
In another article in the Post also, entitled, “Vatican clarification: Yes, we still think atheists are going to Hell”, the Post stated that “The Vatican retracted Pope Francis’ statement that everyone, ‘even the atheists,’ were save from sin and redeemed by God and therefore welcome in heaven. People who know about the Catholic Church ‘cannot be saved’ if they ‘refuse to enter or remain in her,’ Vatican spokesman the Rev. Thomas Rosica said in an ‘explanatory note.’” http://life.nationalpost.com/2
No salvation outside of the Roman Catholic Church. Thank you for that clarification. People like Charles Chiniquy and those who support and think like him are called “anti-Catholic” but is this not an “anti-Protestant” statement? Yet the mainstream media will not take the Church of Rome to task for these words I expect. So this “infallible” man needs to have others clarify and clean up after him and yet people are supposed to follow him? Jesus asked people to follow him, not some man no matter what opinion he has of himself. John 8:12 reads, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
It has been an interesting summer. The weather has been great. I have been quite busy but look forward to some travel this fall, including promotion and furtherance of my writing.
Not too long ago, I happened to be talking to a librarian of an academic library, that holds my book, and I mentioned that according to the trollesphere, I had written my own reviews. She laughed and laughed. Ah trolls, they can be funny in a strange, pathetic sort of a way, as long as one gives them the kind of respect that such darkness-loving, generally hypocritical creatures deserve, which is basically nothing.
Anyway, regarding important things, out in the light, where of course they should discussed, on the Sun and Shield site of Harry Gaylord, for instance, Donald R. McClarey declared, “The Chiniquy conspiracy allegations are all bunk and have been debunked countless times, most notably by Professor Joseph George, Jr”.
Donald McClarey got it wrong but he, at least, understands that honest scholarship starts with identifying himself. He got a few responses to what he said, including one from me, and he hasn’t been heard from again. Hopefully he is reading and checking what was said and he should respond, even if it means he has to admit he and Joseph George were wrong. That is ultimately the most important thing, getting to the truth. Jesus said “the truth shall make you free”, John 8:32. Interestingly, Jesus said this to his own, the Jews, and John records them as responding in the next verse, “We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?”
Wow, how could they be so ignorant, how could they get it so wrong? They had an ideological bent and therefore it blinded them to the facts of their own history. Of course they were in bondage, Abraham’s seed were slaves in Egypt and their deliverance was one of the main themes of one of the books of Moses, which was Exodus. History is important and an ideology will blind people to historical facts. I believe it blinded Joseph George, something certainly did. It will be interesting to see if Mr. McClarey is going to respond to the answers he received in regards to what he said about Charles Chiniquy.
Now in the news in Canada is the fact that Quebec’s Marois PQ government is ready to introduce their new values charter which would potentially limit many Quebec minority groups’ religious freedoms.
Don Macpherson, of the Montreal Gazette is quoted in a recent report, calling the values charter “sinister, ridiculous and pathetic.”http://blogs.montrealgazette.c
He stated in his Tuesday’s column.”If the PQ wants to reduce the Quebec charter to an object of ridicule, this is a good way to do it,”
“It is based on the premise that the values held by an overwhelming majority of Quebecers are so weak and unappealing that they must be imposed by law on the tiny minorities among them that wear religious headgear.”
You said it Mr. Macpherson. Once again the Montreal Gazette got it right. What would those weak and appealing values be? Ones based on Catholicism? What symbols will be left undisturbed, Catholic ones?
Yahoo! Canada News, quotes Montreal-based political scientist Bruce Hicks regarding the ongoing struggle for Quebecers to define nationalism.
The rejection of ethnic nationalism in favour of civic nationalism is a recent phenomenon not just in Quebec, so there is a generational divide. Younger people are more likely to accept being part of a civic nation while older people who have always tied their identity to their cultural heritage and ancestral roots (n Quebec’s case going back to New France, the so-called «pure laine») will be slow to accept ethnic diversity within their ‘nation.’
Yes, pure laine. Even some people from Quebec haven’t heard of this.
As I stated in my book,…in 2006, in a controversial article in one of Canada’s national newspapers, The Globe and Mail, journalist Jan Wong pointed out that of the three shooting rampages that have occurred in postsecondary institutions in Canada, all of them have happened in Montreal. In the piece entitled “Get Under The Desk”, Wong, who grew up in the city, pointed out that each of the three gunmen were not “pure laine” or “pure” francophone. While each killer was mentally disturbed, Wong said that because of the decades-long language struggle, each one “had been marginalized by a society that valued pure laine”. Wong was roundly pilloried for what she wrote, especially in Quebec, despite remarks like the infamous statement of the province’s highest elected official, Premier Jacques Parizeau, who, after the failed 1995 referendum, blamed “money and the ethnic vote“
Both Jan Wong and the Globe and Mail have never apologized for the sentiments expressed, though other journalists in the province disagreed with what was said.
What Pauline Marois is doing is not much of a shock then, as I pointed out in my book, her party, the Parti Quebecois,
…came from a secret Catholic group founded in the 1920s by French members of the Roman Catholic clergy. Nicknamed La Patente, or “the gimmick“, the organization was anti-Semitic, anti-English, anti-Protestant, anti-foreigner and closely aligned to the leadership of the Catholic Church. In 1941, one French journalist described it as “the Ku Klux Klan of French Canada“.
As Andy Radia concluded in his article, (http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blog
Under a headline, “Pope’s gay tolerance no shock: Column” USA Today stated, “Yet Francis made worldwide news this week for saying the most Christian of things: “Who am I to judge?” He told reporters, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill,” don’t judge him. The New York Times called this “revolutionary.” Time magazine said the statement “will send shock waves through the church.”
Wow, the pope has stopped calling for death to homosexuals? “Gay tolerance”, isn’t that more accurately, homosexual acceptance? I wonder how the Catholic Church is going to say no to homosexual marriage. “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill,” and meets someone just like him, can they get married? Who is the pope to judge? Come to think of it, who is he to judge for the actual church of Jesus Christ and of course, he does not. He may think he does, but he does not.
Isn’t this more evidence that this is the world’s church? A “church” that is influenced by the world, instead of by what God has clearly said in his Word. At the funeral of John Paul II, politicians, top leaders from around the world came to honour and mourn for him, at the death of Jesus Christ, those in power, came to mock him and consent to his death. Oh but maybe the world has gotten better. Really, in light of people like Hitler, Stalin and others?
Francis did not say “the most Christian of things”. The church of Jesus Christ has relatively little to say about the behaviour of the world and very much to say about the behavior of those claiming to be part of the church. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 5: 12, 13, For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. In verses 9 and 10 he stated, I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
Therefore the church correctly still rejects for membership, those that do not live as their new life in Christ should have them live, despite what this pope may say.