Wednesday, 30 December 2009

UK was morally powerless to stop Akmal Shaikh's execution in China

I would like to express my deep sympathy to the family of Akmal Shaikh, said to have suffered from a mental illness, following his execution in China as a convicted drug smuggler.

His family have written to The Guardian newspaper criticising the British government, saying:
"Britain's economic dependence [on China] far outweighs these 'individual cases'".

"Did the British Government pull out its diplomats in protest? Did it have a hard-hitting strategy to persuade the Chinese authorities to change their decision?"

"This is an example of Britain's powerlessness in the world."
I think there's a lot of truth in what they say. When Wen Jiabao, China's premier, visited the UK earlier this year, Gordon Brown (pictured above with Wen) set a target of doubling British exports to China in the following 18 months, from £5bn to £10bn, in order to help lead the world out of recession.

Britain's powerlessness - and the European Union's which made repeated calls for the death sentence to be commuted - reflects, in my view, its moral powerlessness. Quite apart from any other considerations, why would China heed the representations of western governments which are giving so handsomely to its forced abortion, one-child policy through their funding of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)? (Three months ago, the European Parliament voted  against pro-life amendments to stop EU money being spent on coercive and sex-selective abortions.)

This is the China where earlier this year, Zhang Minan, a law professor at Guangzhou's Sun Yat-sen University and an expert on the the government’s population policy, told Reuters: "'They (the authorities) do have the right (to force abortions) ... " The same report interviewed a young Chinese woman, pregnant with four-month-old twins, who last February had been dragged into a maternity ward and had her belly injected with a needle in forced abortion.

The UNFPA's participation in China's forced abortion one-child policy is well-documented. Furthermore,  when Colin Powell (a supporter of abortion) was US Secretary of State, the State Department verified the pro-life Population Research Institute’s allegations that the UNFPA was cooperating with China's coercive abortion programme:
“UNFPA's support of, and involvement in, China's population-planning activities allows the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion,” (letter from Colin to Congress, 21 July 2002)
The UK government gave over 40 million US dollars to the "regular funds contributions" of UNFPA in 2007 (the latest report available), about 10% of the total income China received in regular donations from over 180 countries worldwide.

So long as the UK, the US (under the Obama administration), and European governments eagerly fund, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, the brutalization of China's women and the forced abortion of their children, we should not be surprised if China airily dismisses our concerns about the execution of a drug smuggler said to have suffered from bi-polar disease.

Again, my heartfelt sympathy goes to Akmal Shaikh's family.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Pro-lifers are warned not to become pharmacists

A commentary by Liz Hoggard in yesterday's Independent newspaper, entitled A morning-after pill is best served without a sermon, is a sign of the direction in which Britain and much of Europe is going.  Her message for pro-life and pro-family Britons is:
A job in a registry office that conducts same-sex civil partnerships may not be for you. Don't open a hotel or a B&B if you think you will want to turn away certain sections of the community. And most of all, please don't become a pharmacist.
This is why Britain urgently needs the kind of leadership I noted yesterday in Spain.

As my colleague José Pérez Adán (pictured right), professor of sociology at Valencia university, put it to me regarding the Spanish government's abortion law, recently passed by the Spanish parliament's lower house:
" ... if the law goes as it is, we'll have to break it. This means we will be punished: fines, detention and maybe imprisonment ... "
The conscientious objection of parents to their children being provided with access to abortion is already being swept aside by the British government in schools in England and Wales, including Catholic schools.

It's essential that we do everything in our power to stop this situation getting even worse, by opposing the government's Children, Schools and Families Bill. The bill threatens both children and families as never before in our country. Once again I  urge readers in Britain to please read our alert and act now by writing to Gordon Brown and your MP.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Spanish-style pro-life Catholic leadership is needed in England

Thanks to Catholic leaders in Spain and from the Vatican, the world is in no doubt that there's a massive battle between life and death in Spain.

A huge rally in Madrid was led last Sunday by a veritable who's who of Catholic European leaders, against the Spanish government's legislation to make abortion available on demand, including without parental consent for 16 and 17 year-olds.  Check the list below for cardinals, archbishops and bishops who attended the rally - from the Vatican, from Spain, from Poland, from Holland, from Germany, from Austria, from Portugal, from Italy and from France.*

The Daily Telegraph reports that Cardinal Antonio Rouco, the leader of Spain's Roman Catholics, spoke as follows about the Spanish government's plans to legalize abortion on demand for young people of 16 and 17 years without parental permission:
"Who denies to defend a human being so innocent and weak, already conceived but not born, commits a grave violation of moral order."
And last month Juan Antonion Martinez Camino, the spokesman of Spain's Catholic bishops' conference, told members of the Spanish parliament:
"This is a warning to Catholics, that they can't vote in favour of this and that they won't be able to receive communion unless they ask forgiveness ... They are in an objective state of sin".
In the meantime, back in England, our church leaders are not only failing to break their silence on government legislation in the Children, Schools and Families bill, the Catholic Education Service (CES), on behalf of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales, gives general support to compulsory sex education

Moreover, the CES (of which Archbishop Nichols was chairman until his appointment as archbishop of Westminster this year) welcomes Connexions into Catholic schools. Connexions is a government agency which is committed to giving schoolchildren, under the age of 16, access to abortion and abortifacients without parental knowledge or permission. Connexions' advisers are trained to tell young people that they can obtain abortion and abortifacients without parental knowledge or consent.

Through the Children, Schools and Families bill, the government not only wants universal sex education, but it also wants to use all state secondary schools, including Catholic ones, as centres for promoting access to contraception and abortion services. Not since the Abortion Act 1967 has there been such a determined effort to promote universal access to abortion.

Archbishop Nichols (as reported on the Bashing Secularism blog, which cited an interview in Standpoint magazine), appears to believe that British government policy means that Catholic schools have "retained their rights through the governing body that their sex and relationships education is delivered according to Catholic ethos and teaching". This is simply not the case.

The government has accepted all the major recommendations of the 2007/2008 report by the Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group. The report's major recommendations include that:
"The Government's current review of SRE should ...
  • ... [s]tate clearly that all schools including faith schools must teach all aspects of SRE within the context of relationships in an anti-discriminatory way; contraception, abortion and homosexuality are all legal in this country and therefore all children and young people should be able to learn the correct facts
  • ... [m]ake explicit links to young people's advisory services and provision of contraception and sexual health services and demonstrate this by teaching young people how to access services"
* Here are the Catholic leaders listed as being present at last Sunday's rally in Spain:
England and Wales urgently needs Spanish-style Catholic leadership, to assist the pro-life movement in opposing the government's abortion plans for our children, rather than the Catholic authorities' co-operation with government policy which currently obtains.

During the past month, SPUC has written to churchmen and women throughout the UK concerning the Children, Schools and Families bill. I would urge readers in Britain to please read our alert and act now by writing to Gordon Brown and your MP.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

John Lennon regarded over-population as a myth

It's interesting to note that John Lennon regarded over-population as a myth, as the video link below shows.

His view is supported by many leading demographers, including Dr Nicholas Eberstadt, who holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute. Dr Eberstadt has written a comprehensive paper on population questions entitled "Too Many People?".



Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy

Monday, 28 December 2009

Traditional Anglican Communion will strengthen Catholic pro-life witness

Whilst in Australia for our son's graduation at Campion College, I had the pleasure of speaking with Archbishop John Hepworth (pictured right), the primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, and bishop ordinary in the Anglican Church of Australia.

I have no doubt that part of the impact of Pope Benedict's Apostolic Constitution for “former Anglicans to enter into the fullness of communion with the Catholic Church” will be greatly to strengthen Catholic witness on pro-life matters.

In a post today on The Anglo-Catholic, we can find a message from His Grace Archbishop Hepworth for Holy Innocents Day which bodes well for the Catholic Church. It includes the following:
" ... Our bishops have realised from the start of our separation from the Anglican Communion that it was a separation of pilgrimage.  Pilgrimage must have a goal.  Our goal was the healing of catholic disunity, that Anglicans had sought and then abandoned.

"There is great integrity in being a pilgrim.  If the destination be holy, God sustains on the journey.  We will not be rushed or stampeded.  Nor will we falter.  So in our waiting as the vision of our destination becomes clearer in the mists of our wandering, let us take clear sight of the martyrs who are our Octave companions.  Their echoes are all around us, in the destruction of innocent life, in the failure of episcopal teaching, in the denial of the Christ Child’s godliness, in the transformation of love into hate, even within the company of those who bear His Name ... "
Please forgive my self-indulgence in highlighting the text above. As we prepare early in the new year to face "government legislation which threatens both children and families as never before in our country" in the Children Schools and Families Bill, the Catholic church in England and Wales urgently needs the kind of strong witness we see in the Archbishop's words, delivered with a welcome Aussie bluntness.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy