Thursday, July 07, 2016


One of the world’s most respected campaigners on men’s issues believes “dad deprivation” is directly causing what he’s termed “the boy crisis” – and unless society urgently intervenes, we will be in danger of writing off a generation of men.
Dad-deprived boys are less likely to display empathy, be less assertive, depressed, have nightmares, talk back and disobey.

Farrell believes modern society is being tangibly eroded by dad deprivation – through increased relationship breakdown, family courts that favor mothers, and fathers denied access to their children after a separation.
He points out that in in every one of the largest 70 developed nations, boys have fallen behind girls, and what they have in common, Farrell says, is divorce.
“Dad-deprived boys are less likely to display empathy, be less assertive, depressed, have nightmares, talk back and be disobedient,”. 
A report in February found that men accounted for more than three times as many suicides as women in 2014.
“These boys will also be more likely to have low self esteem, fewer friends, and are likely to do worse in every single academic area, especially reading and writing, and maths and science."
“These boys hurt: and boys who hurt, hurt us – and themselves. Prisons are centres for dad-deprived boys. There has been a 700 per cent increase in incarceration in the USA since the 1970s – in the UK it has more than doubled. Dad deprivation is directly related to that, and to suicide, which is the number one killer of British men aged under 45."
“At age nine, girls and boys commit suicide in equal numbers, but boys are twice as likely aged 14, four times more likely aged 15-19, and five times more by age 20-25. This is the time when dads drift out of their lives”.
Some proposed solutions include having more male teachers,  by state legislation if necessary.
“We need a major overhaul of education system, especially in inner cities where we know dad deprivation is higher,” he says. 

“These boys have no positive male role models. That makes them vulnerable to strong, destructive alpha males like gang leaders or drug dealers."
“These boys are also most likely to be brought up by mums, then move from a mother-centered home to a woman-centered school.
“Boys need to see males caring at every stage of their lives. So we need more male teachers, period. I’d say equal amounts at least, although, in areas where there are 70 per cent single mothers, why not have 70 per cent male teachers?
“We need to encourage men into the caring sectors, to challenge the cliché that caring work is women’s work”.
Farrell also urges dads not to willingly abandon their children, which he sees as a dereliction of duty.

“Men should not withdraw like cowards,” he says. “To an eight-year-old boy, their dad is God. Backing off or abandoning them leaves the child feeling not important. Dads must fight to be a part of their children’s lives, especially if the mother blocks that”.
Here, Farrell urges separating parents to park their own differences.
Boys need to see males caring at every stage of their lives. So we need more male teachers, period. I’d say equal amounts at least
“Allowing dads in helps both the boy and the mother, as the child will be easier to manage for her as sole carer,” he says. “Data shows divorced mums are five times more likely to bad mouth dads than dads do mums. That to me is child abuse: not by intent, but by outcome. It makes the boy feel that when he’s a dad, he will be a second class citizen. It makes him hesitant to have kids himself as he won’t be respected”.
Above all, Farrell believes we need to preach that fatherhood is the ultimate reward, one that outweighs money or success.
“Fatherhood is about passing on character, which is the most empowering and gratifying feeling,” he says. “We should celebrate gentle, caring, loving values in men; not just power, but responsibility”.

Friday, May 20, 2016


Media Want To Make Sure You Never Hear About ‘The Little Sisters Of The Poor’

The Little Sisters of the Poor just beat Obama in court, so why don't the media want you to know anything about them?
Mollie Hemingway
Last week I was at a religious liberty confab attended by some of the Little Sisters of the Poor. One of my favorite vignettes from the conference was watching a decorated Sikh Army captain, who recently won his religious liberty battle to wear a turban while he serves in non-combat scenarios, chat it up with the cheerful gaggle of Little Sisters, who are in a major religious liberty battle against President Obama over whether the government can force them to violate their religious beliefs or face crippling fines. Both are represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
Holocaust survivor and human rights activist Elie Wiesel, a Nobel Laureate, bestowed the Becket Fund’s Canterbury medal on Armando Valladares, a dissident who spent 22 years imprisoned and tortured by the Cuban regime because he refused to publicly state his support of Fidel Castro. At many points during his imprisonment, he could have signed a piece of paper to be freed, but he refused to do so because, he said, for him it would be a form of spiritual suicide. His beautiful speech — a must-read for anyone concerned about totalitarian bureaucracies — specifically praised the Little Sisters of the Poor for, as he put it, “their seemingly small act of defiance”:
The Little Sisters of the Poor know [that religious conscience is priceless]. They may be called the Little Sisters of the Poor, and yet they are rich in that they live out their conscience, which no government bureaucrat can invade. They know what my body knows after 22 years of cruel torture: that if they sign the form, the government demands they will be violating their conscience and would commit spiritual suicide. If they did this they would forfeit the true and only wealth they have in abandoning the castle of their consciences.
I watched the nearby table, full of Little Sisters, dab their eyes as this great man praised them. The Little Sisters of the Poor is a large Roman Catholic religious order for women, founded 177 years ago to care for the impoverished elderly as they approach their final rest. The Little Sisters make vows of chastity, poverty, obedience and hospitality. They view their physical care of the elderly as a spiritual calling. They serve in 31 countries and they are awesome.
They won a major religious battle yesterday. The Obama administration wanted to fine them $70 million per year for their religious objection to taking part in a government scheme to distribute birth control. Nine times the government rewrote regulations that would force the nuns to take part in the plan or be fined out of existence, each time claiming that the present version of regulations was as far as they could go to accommodate religious belief. Each time the sisters remained steadfast. Their story never changed. They didn’t weigh in on the government’s birth control plan except to say they wanted no part in it, due to their long-standing, sincerely held religious beliefs.
Yesterday the court ruled against the fines and vacated lower court rulings against the sisters. Since the Obama administration had already admitted to the court that it could find another way to accomplish its goals, the court simply asked lower courts to give them time to do just that.
It’s a big religious liberty win, even if the court didn’t weigh in on the question of whether the federal government could force the Little Sisters of the Poor to violate their consciences if there were no other way to accomplish the regulatory goals of the unpopular Obamacare legislation.
Mona Charen noticed something curious about media coverage of the Little Sisters. Over at National Review she wrote:
What’s in a name? The top story in the print version of today’s Washington Post carries this headline: “Justices Return Contraceptive Case to Lower Courts.” In the six and a half paragraphs explaining the decision on the front page, the plaintiff’s name goes unmentioned. When you flip to the jump, you’ve got to read down another five paragraphs to learn this is the case brought by the Little Sisters of the Poor. We shouldn’t fetishize language, but the name of this order of nuns (however it was arrived at — I have no idea how long it has been around or how it chose its name) is perfectly pitched to make liberals/progressives squirm. Just as the Left used every possible locution to avoid using the term “partial-birth abortion” — the editors of the Post and others go to some considerable trouble to bury the name “Little Sisters of the Poor.”
Isn’t that interesting? That our media that seek out and histrionically elevate every sympathetic plaintiff when it comes to cases advancing sexualityism suddenly have trouble even naming the Little Sisters of the Poor?
A case of “Little Sisters of the Poor” vs. “Powerful Men in Government” is a gift from the editorial gods. But our media are too busy scare-quoting “religious liberty” and pushing an authoritarian agenda. Actually identifying the Little Sisters, much less neutrally profiling them, much less giving their story the weight it deserves, that just won’t do. We have stories to cover poorly and narrative agendas to push.
It’s not just the Washington Post that is hiding the name and story of the Little Sisters of the Poor. A reader noticed that David G. Savage of the Tribune News Service also hid their name. His piece, very sympathetic to the bureaucracy that seeks to limit religious freedom, waited until deep in the story to even mention the Little Sisters. Seriously, the piece reads like a press release from HHS if HHS had its press releases written by the savvy public relations teams funded by Planned Parenthood. He finally mentions the sisters in the 13th paragraph because he’s forced to put in a quote from their attorney and their attorney had the decency to name them. Here’s how it ran in the Los Angeles Times.
A review of headlines shows that so-called mainstream publications were far less likely to mention the sisters than publications that are not hostile to religious liberty.
But a very special prize goes out to Adam Liptak of the New York Times. We can call it the Linda Greenhouse Award for Supreme Court Advocacy Presented As Reporting.
Liptak’s 22-paragraph, 1283-word story manages to mention the Little Sisters of the Poor not once. Not in the headline. Not in the lede. Not in any paragraph or sentence. Not in the captions, even though the captions had to work really hard to avoid mentioning them.
If any Republican president went to war against a group called Little Sisters of the Poor, that editorial gift would be unwrapped on every front page of every newspaper in the land. It would lead the nightly broadcast of every television news show. It would be joked about on Saturday Night Live. Comedians and virtue signalers across the land would “destroy” that Republican president every chance they got.
Our media, the hacks who are “dumb, uneducated and eager to deceive” on the existentially important issue of religious liberty, don’t do that in this case. Their silence and covering-up on behalf of the regime is telling.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

How the Orthodox Church Influences Russian Policy


For many analysts the term Russky mir, or Russian World, epitomizes an expansionist and messianic Russian foreign policy, the perverse intersection of the interests of the Russian state and the Russian Orthodox Church.
Little noted is that the term actually means something quite different for each party. For the state it is a tool for expanding Russia's cultural and political influence, while for the Russian Orthodox Church it is a spiritual concept, a reminder that through the baptism of Rus, God consecrated these people to the task of building a Holy Rus.
The close symphonic relationship between the Orthodox Church and state in Russia thus provides Russian foreign policy with a definable moral framework, one that, given its popularity, is likely to continue to shape the country's policies well into the future.

"For us the rebirth of Russia is inextricably tied, first of all, with spiritual rebirth . . .and if Russia is the largest Orthodox power [pravoslavnaya dershava], then Greece and Athos are its source."Vladimir Putin during a state visit to Mount Athos, September 2005.2
Foreign policy is about interests and values. But while Russia's interests are widely debated, her values are often overlooked, or treated simplistically as the antithesis of Western values.
But, as Professor Andrei Tsygankov points out in his book Russia and the West from Alexander to Putin, Russia's relations with the West go through cycles that reflect its notion of honor.3 By honor he means the basic moral principles that are popularly cited within a culture as the reason for its existence, and that inform its purpose when interacting with other nations.
Over the past two centuries, in pursuit of its honor, Russia has cooperated with its European neighbors, when they have acknowledged it as part of the West; responded defensively, when they have excluded Russia; and assertively, when they have been overtly hostile to Russia's sense of honor.
Sometimes a nation's sense of its honor overlaps with present-day interests; but it cannot be reduced to the national interest alone, because political leaders must respond to existential ideals and aspirations that are culturally embedded. A nation's sense of honor, therefore, serves as a baseline for what might be called the long-term national interest.
According to Tsygankov, in Russia's case the long-term national interest revolves around three constants: First, sovereignty or "spiritual freedom;" second, a strong and socially protective state that is capable of defending that sovereignty; and third, cultural loyalty to those who share Russia's sense of honor, wherever they may be.4 All three of these involve, to a greater or lesser extent, the defense of Orthodox Christianity, of the Russian Orthodox Church, and of Orthodox Christians around the world.
Russian President Vladimir Putin succinctly encapsulated Russia's sense of honor during his state visit to Mount Athos in 2005, when he referred to Russia as a pravoslavnaya derzhava, or simply, an Orthodox power.
Putin on the Moral Crisis of the West
Little noted at the time, in retrospect, the phrase seems to presage the turn toward Russian foreign policy assertiveness that Western analysts first noticed in his February 2007 remarks at the Munich Security Conference.5
Since then, Putin has often returned to the dangers posed by American unilateralism, and even challenged the cherished notion of American exceptionalism.6 But, until his speech at the 2013 Valdai Club meeting, he did not explicitly say what values Russia stood for, what its sense of honor demanded. It was at this meeting that Putin first laid out his vision of Russia's mission as an Orthodox power in the 21st century.
Putin began his speech by noting that the world has become a place where decency is in increasingly short supply. Countries must therefore do everything in their power to preserve their own identities and values, for "without spiritual, cultural and national self-definition . . . . one cannot succeed globally."7
Without a doubt, he said, the most important component of a country's success is the intellectual, spiritual, and moral quality of its people. Economic growth and geopolitical influence depend increasingly on whether a country's citizens feel they are one people sharing a common history, common values, and common traditions. All of these, said Putin, contribute to a nation's self-image, to its national ideal. Russia needs to cultivate the best examples from the past and filter them through its rich diversity of cultural, spiritual, and political perspectives. Diversity of perspectives is crucial for Russia because it was born a multinational and multiconfessional state, and remains so today.8
Indeed, pluriculturalism is potentially one of Russia's main contributions to global development. "We have amassed a unique experience of interacting with, mutually enriching, and mutually respecting diverse cultures," he told his audience. "Polyculturalism and polyethnicity are in our consciousness, our spirit, our historical DNA."9
Polyculturalism is also one of the driving factors behind the Eurasian Union, a project initiated by the president of Kazakstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, that Putin has wholeheartedly embraced.
Designed to move Eurasia from the periphery of global development to its center, it can only be successful, Putin says, if each nation retains its historical identity and develops it alongside the identity of the Eurasian region as a whole. Creating a culture of unity in diversity within this region, says Putin, would contribute greatly to both pluralism and stability in world affairs.
But, in a jab at the West, Putin notes that some aspects of pluriculturalism are no longer well received in the West. The values of traditional Christianity that once formed the very basis of Western civilization have come under fire there, and in their place Western leaders are promoting a unipolar and monolithic worldview. This, he says, is "a rejection . . . of the natural diversity of the world granted by God. . . . Without the values of Christianity and other world religions, without the norms of morality and ethics formed over the course of thousands of years, people inevitably lose their human dignity."10
The abandonment of traditional Christian values has led to a moral crisis in the West. Russia, Putin says, intends to counter this trend by defending Christian moral principles both at home and abroad.

Putin's call for greater respect for traditional cultural and religious identities was either missed or ignored in the West. One reason, I suspect, is that it was couched in a language that Western elites no longer use.
For most of the 20th century, Western social science has insisted that modernization would render traditional cultural and religious values irrelevant. The modern alternative, which pioneer political scientists Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba labelled "civic culture," gravitates toward cultural homogeneity and secularism. These qualities lead to political stability and economic progress. The pattern is exemplified by Anglo-American societies which, they conclude, form the optimal model for a modern society.11
Half a century later, with the rise of China and the collapse of the Soviet Union, it no longer seems so obvious that secularism and homogeneity are the only paths to national success. Scholars increasingly speak of multiple paths to modernity, and even a resurgence of religion.12
Another reason why Putin's message was overlooked is that he is calling upon the West to re-connect with its Byzantine heritage, a heritage that it has often dismissed as non-Western. In Putin's mind, reincorporating Eastern Christianity into Western civilization reveals Russia as a vital part of Western civilization, and requires that Russia be part of any discussion of Western values.
Putin's speech in 2013 was an assertive and optimistic statement of Russian values, and the cultural and spiritual reasons why he felt that Russian influence in the world was bound to grow. By 2014, however, the world had changed. A major reason is the conflict within Ukraine, which many in the West define as a conflict over world order stemming from a profound values gap between Russia and the West.
Russia, by contrast, sees itself as defending not only vital strategic interests in Ukraine, but also its core values of honor, such as spiritual freedom, cultural loyalty, and pluralism. It may seem strange to many in the West, but Russia's attitude on the Ukrainian crisis is inflexible precisely because it sees itself as occupying the moral high ground in this dispute.
A key reason why Western moral criticisms of Russian actions have so little traction among Russians is that the Russia Orthodox Church has regained its traditional pre-eminence as the institution that defines the nation's moral vision and sense of honor. Looking beyond Russia's borders, that vision has come to be known as the Russky mir or Russian World.
Russian World or the Communities of Historical Rus?
It is important to distinguish how this term is used by the Russian state from how it is used by the Russian Orthodox Church.
The use of this term as a "community of Orthodox Christians living in unity of faith, traditions and customs," goes back to at least the beginning of the 19th century, but it was re-purposed as a political concept in the early 1990s by Pyotr Shedrovitsky, an influential political consultant interested in the role that cultural symbols could play in politics. He believed that creating a network of mutually reinforcing social structures in the former Soviet states among people who continue to think and speak in Russian—the "Russky mir"—could be politically advantageous to Russia.13 Its practical foreign policy appeal stemmed from the fact that, by claiming to speak on behalf of nearly 300 million Russian speakers, a weakened Russia would instantly become a key regional player, as well as an influential political force within the countries of the former Soviet Union.
This notion resonated within the Yeltsin administration which, in the mid-1990s was already searching for a "Russian Idea" around which to consolidate the nation and promote a new democratic consensus.14 Members of the Institute of Philosophy at the Russian Academy of Sciences were tasked to research this concept, but although it influenced sections of Russia's first foreign policy doctrine in 1996, it ultimately ran out of steam. As those involved in this project later explained to me, there were simply too many disparate "Russian Ideas" to choose from, and no consensus within the presidential administration or the Institute of Philosophy on which version to support.
More than a decade would pass before the term was used by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill. This occurred in 2009 at the Third Assembly of the Russian World, when Patriarch Kirill spoke of how the Russky mir, or Holy Rus as he also called it, should respond to the challenges of globalization.15
The Church, he said, emphasizes the importance of spiritual bonds over the divisions of national borders. It therefore uses the term russky not as a geographical, or ethnic concept, but as a spiritual identity that refers to the cradle civilization of the Eastern Slavs—Kievan Rus.
This common identity was forged when Kievan Rus adopted Christianity from Constantinople in 988. At that moment the Eastern Slavs were consecrated into a single civilization and given the task of constructing Holy Rus. That mission persisted through the Muscovite and Imperial eras. It survived the persecutions of the Soviet era, and continues today in democratic Russia.16 The core of this community today resides in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus (at other times, Kirill has added Moldova and Kazakhstan), but can refer to anyone who shares the Orthodox faith, a reliance on Russian language, a common historical memory, and a common view of social development.17
In June 2007, President Putin established the Russky mir Fund, tasked with support of the Russian language and cultural inheritance throughout the world.18 Much of this effort was clearly aimed at preserving the use of the Russian language in the former Soviet Union, and with it the popularization of Russia's image. But while there is clearly a great deal of overlap between the religious and political uses of this term, let me highlight several important differences.
As used by the state, Russky mir is typically a political or a cultural concept. In both senses it is used by groups working for the Russian government to strengthen the country's domestic stability, restore Russia's status as a world power, and increase her influence in neighboring states. From the state's perspective, the Russian Orthodox Church can be a useful tool for these purposes.
As used by the Church, Russky mir is a religious concept. It is essential for reversing the secularization of society throughout the former Soviet Union, a task Patriarch Kirill has termed the "second Christianization" of Rus.19 The Russian Orthodox Church sees the Russian government, or for that matter, any government within its canonical territory, as tools for this purpose.
Reaction to the patriarch's use of the phrase Russky mir, which was familiar mainly in its Yeltsin-era political context, was mixed, both inside and outside of Russia. It aroused considerable controversy in Ukraine, where the Greek-Catholic church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kievan Patriarchate dismissed it outright. On the other hand, the autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, which serves approximately half of all Christians in Ukraine, has been cautiously receptive.
In light of this controversy, Kirill returned to the topic in 2010, to clarify his views of what the Russky mir meant specifically for Ukraine. He reiterated that the baptism of Kievan Rus was an instance of Divine Providence.20 The Russian Orthodox Church has defended the religious and cultural bonds established by this miraculous event for more than a thousand years, and will always continue to do so.21
Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine are all equal successors to the inheritance of Kievan Rus, therefore all three should be coordinating centers in the development of the Russian World. To this end, Patriarch Kirill introduced the idea of "synodal capitals"—historical centers of Russian Orthodoxy which would regularly host meetings of the Holy Synod, the Church's chief decision-making body. One of these capitals is Kiev. It is interesting to note that archpriest Evgeny (Maksimenko), a cleric of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, has called upon the patriarch to take the next logical step and move the seat of the Patriarchate of Rus from Moscow back to Kiev.22
Christianity, says the patriarch, does not seeks to destroy that which is unique in each nation, but rather to motivate local cultures toward greater appreciation of Christianity's transcendent meaning. Long ago, the ideal Orthodox society was the Byzantine Empire.23 Today, in the context of national sovereignty, however, Orthodoxy proposes itself as a spiritual complement to national sovereignty, and a harmonizing resource in a globalizing world.24 Kirill has said that this same principle can be found in the European Union and the Commonwealth of Independent States.25
But while the Church respects state sovereignty, it takes no position on its merits. Nation-states are neither good nor bad, but merely the current framework within which God intends the Church to accomplish the restoration of Holy Rus. It is therefore the Church's duty to make each nation, at least in part, "a carrier of Orthodox civilization."26
Over the course of the past decade, the purely pragmatic, secular version of the Russky mir has slowly yielded to the growing influence of the Church in Russia's political life. Among the many examples, let me highlight just one—President Putin's address in Kiev on the occasion of the 1025th baptism of Rus in 2013.27 This was also Putin's most recent visit to Ukraine.
His remarks at the time reflected every one of the motifs of the Russky mir in its religious context, including: the decisive spiritual and cultural significance of the baptism of Rus; the uniqueness of Orthodox values in the modern world; deference to Kiev's historical significance (before the revolution, he says, it was known as "the second cultural and intellectual capital after St. Petersburg," even ahead of Moscow[!]); and public recognition of Ukraine's right to make any political choice it wishes which, however, "in no way erases our common historical past."28
Conclusions and Prognosis
Having drawn a distinction between the objectives of the Russian state and the Russian Orthodox Church in promoting the Russky mir, it is important to stress that these two institutions are not in conflict, at least not in the near future.29 The classical formulation for Church-State relations in Eastern Orthodox Christianity was and remains symphonia, or harmony between Church and State, not the Protestant Western ideal of separation. The establishment of broadly harmonious and mutually supportive relations between Church and State in Russia, for the first time in more than a century, therefore has significant implications for Russian politics.
The first is that Vladimir Putin's high popularity ratings are neither transient nor personal. They reflect the popularity of his social and political agenda, which are popular precisely because they have the blessing of the Russian Orthodox Church. A few years ago, then president Medvedev referred to the Church as "the largest and most authoritative social institution in contemporary Russia,"30 an assessment reinforced by more recent surveys showing that Patriarch Kirill is more often identified as the "spiritual leader [and] moral mentor" of the entire Russian nation, than he is as the head of a single religious confession.31
The success of the Putin Plan, the Putin Model, or Putinism, is thus simple to explain. This Russian government understands that it derives enormous social capital from its public embrace of the Russian Orthodox Church. So long as Russia remains a broadly representative (not to be confused with liberal) democracy, there is little reason to expect this to change.
Some analysts, however, suggest that this embrace may lead to conflict between the state and other confessions. The potential for such conflict is widely recognized, especially by religious leaders, and led to the creation in 1998 of the Interreligious Council of Russia. Its purpose is two-fold: First, to defuse conflicts among the various religious communities. Second, to present a united religious agenda to politicians. It has been quite successful on both fronts, and its activities now cover not just Russia, but the entire CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States).32
If my assessment of the importance of the religious underpinnings for the current regime's popularity is correct, then it follows that attempts to undermine the unity of the Russky mir will be widely viewed as an attack on core values, not just in Russia but throughout the Russian World. Economic, political, cultural, and other sanctions will intensify this effect and sharply undermine intellectual and emotional sympathies for the West within this community. While this may not be permanent, I suspect that few in the current generation of Russian leaders retain much hope for the possibility of building a lasting partnership with the West.
Moreover, the Russian Orthodox Church will continue to shape Russia's foreign policy agenda in several ways.
First, it will use the influence of the state to advocate for the concerns of Orthodox Christians throughout the world, even if they are not Russian citizens. This is in keeping with the transnational character of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Second, it will promote Christian moral and social values in international fora, either by itself or in conjunction with other religions. Indeed, close ties on these issues have been forged with the Roman Catholic Church, and with Islamic clerics in Egypt and Iran. Where it does not have direct access to these, it will turn to the Russian media, and to popular international outlets like RT and Sputnik to promote this agenda.
Third, wherever Russian state and civic organizations promote Russian culture and language abroad, the Church will also seek to tack on its religious agenda. While the state promotes the national interests of the Russian Federation, the Russian Orthodox Church will promote the larger cultural identity it sees itself as having inherited from Kievan Rus.
For example, the Church sees the conflict in Ukraine as a civil war within the Russian World. From this perspective, it cannot be resolved by splitting up this community, thereby isolating Ukraine from Russia and destroying the unity of the Russky mir, or by permitting the forcible Ukrainianization of the predominantly Orthodox and Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine, which would result in the destruction of the Russky mir within Ukraine. The only permanent solution is for the Ukrainian government to admit the pluricultural nature of Ukrainian society and, in effect, recognize Ukraine as part of the Russky mir. From the Church's perspective, this is the only way to achieve reconciliation among the Ukrainian people and harmony within the Russky mir.
Oddly enough, many moderate Ukrainian nationalists also ascribe to the notion that some sort of symbiotic cultural connection exists between Russia and Ukraine. The typical pro-Maidan Ukrainian intellectual believes that Putin is out to undermine Ukrainian democracy first and foremost because he fears it spreading to Russia. But they predict the inevitable resumption of fraternal ties with Russia, after the freedom-loving, pro-European values of the Maidan succeed in overturning Putin's authoritarian regime in Russia.33 It is hard not to see the similarity between their aspirations for close ties with Russia and those of Patriarch Kirill, only under a completely different set of cultural assumptions.
In conclusion, what impact will the rise of the Russky mir have on Russia's relations with other nations? I anticipate three responses.
In countries where the concept of Holy Rus has no historical context, there will be a tendency to fall back on the Cold War context they are most familiar with, as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did when she warned of efforts to "re-Sovietize the region." "It's going to be called customs union, it will be called Eurasian Union and all of that," she said, "but let's make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it."34
Among Russia's immediate neighbors, the response will be mixed. While there are still many who view the Soviet era with nostalgia, and regard the breakup of the USSR as more harmful than beneficial (by 2:1 margins in Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Russia),35 it is not at all clear that the Orthodox Church's conservative social vision has a similarly broad appeal. In Ukraine the term Russky mir has become a rallying cry for both sides during this civil war, and is now so hopelessly politicized that its religious and spiritual content have all but disappeared. The unhappy result, as Nicholas E. Denysenko puts it, is "a religious narrative becoming altered against the will of its authors."36
Even further from Russia, the popularity of the Russky mir will likely depend on whether Russia emerges as a global defender of traditional Christian and conservative values. The values gap that some in the West cite as justification for punishing and containing Russia does exist, but it is not the whole picture. The same values gap exists within the West itself.37 Only recently Russia has realized that, while its conservative agenda distances itself from some Europeans, it brings it closer to others. The list of Putinversteher probably now contains more politicians and opinion leaders on the right end of the European political spectrum, than it does on the left.
In the United States, Evangelical Christian social activists, and even a few noted political commentators, have begun to take note of these shared values.38 Two years ago, former Nixon aide and Republican presidential candidate, Patrick Buchanan, told fellow political conservatives that there is much in Putin's rhetoric that makes him "one of us."
"While much of American and Western media dismiss him as an authoritarian and reactionary, a throwback, Putin may be seeing the future with more clarity than Americans still caught up in a Cold War paradigm. As the decisive struggle in the second half of the 20th century was vertical, East vs. West, the 21st century struggle may be horizontal, with conservatives and traditionalists in every country arrayed against the militant secularism of a multicultural and transnational elite."39
The role of the Russian Orthodox Church in this struggle is crucial, because it calls for the creation of a common framework of Christian European values, in effect a new, pan-European civil religion. The Russian state, meanwhile, is only too happy to support these calls because it is only within the context of a common cultural and religious identity ("shared values") that Russia can become a full-fledged political part of the West. Intentionally or not, therefore, the Russian Orthodox Church and its Russky mir have emerged as the missing spiritual and intellectual component of Russia's soft power.
Someday it may even become like U.S. human rights policy, an awkward, but nevertheless defining aspect of national identity, that the government will apply selectively, but never be able to get rid of entirely.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Did you know that more Irish slaves were sold in the 17th century than black slaves? With a death rate of between 37% to 50%, this is the story the history books don’t tell you about.

White and Black Slaves in the Sugar Plantations of Barbados. None of the Irish victims ever made it back to their homeland to describe their ordeal. These are the lost slaves; the ones that time and biased history books conveniently forgot.
The first slaves imported into the American colonies were 100 White children. They arrived during Easter, 1619, four months before the arrival of a the first shipment of Black slaves.Mainstream histories refer to these laborers as indentured servants, not slaves, because many agreed to work for a set period of time in exchange for land and rights.
Yet in reality, indenture was enslavement, since slavery applies to any person who is bought and sold, chained and abused, whether for a decade or a lifetime. Many white people died long before their indenture ended or found that no court would back them when their owners failed to deliver on promises.Tens of thousands of convicts, beggars, homeless children and other undesirable English, Scottish, and Irish lower class were transported to America against their will to the Americas on slave ships. YES SLAVE SHIPS.
Many of the white slaves were brought from Ireland, where the law held that it was ?no more sin to kill an Irishman than a dog or any other brute.? The European rich class caused a lot of suffering to these people , even if they were white like them.In 1676, there was a huge slave rebellion in Virginia. Black and white slaves burned Jamestown to the ground. Hundreds died. The planters feared a re-occurence. Their solution was to divide the races against each other. They instilled a sense of superiority in the white slaves and degraded the black slaves. White slaves were given new rights; their masters could not whip them naked without a court order,etc. White slaves whose daily condition was no different from that of Blacks, were taught that they belonged to a superior people. The races were given different clothing. Living quarters were segregated for the first time. But the whites were still slaves.
In the 17th Century, from 1600 until 1699, there were many more Irish sold as slaves than Africans. There are records of Irish slaves well into the 18th Century.Many never made it off the ships. According to written record, in at least one incident 132 slaves, men, women, and children, were dumped overboard to drown because ships’ supplies were running low. They were drowned because the insurance would pay for an “accident,” but not if the slaves were allowed to starve.
Typical death rates on the ships were from 37% to 50%.In the West Indies, the African and Irish slaves were housed together, but because the African slaves were much more costly, they were treated much better than the Irish slaves. Also, the Irish were Catholic, and Papists were hated among the Protestant planters. An Irish slave would endure such treatment as having his hands and feet set on fire or being strung up and beaten for even a small infraction. Richard Ligon, who witnessed these things first-hand and recorded them in a history of Barbados he published in 1657, stated:”Truly, I have seen cruelty there done to servants as I did not think one Christian couldhave done to another.”(5)According to Sean O’Callahan, in To Hell or Barbados, Irish men and women were inspected like cattle there, just as the Africans were.
In addition, Irish slaves, who were harder to distinguish from their owners since they shared the same skin color, were branded with the owner’s initials, the women on the forearm and the men on the buttocks. O’Callahan goes on to say that the women were not only sold to the planters as sexual slaves but were often sold to local brothels as well. He states that the black or mulatto overseers also often forced the women to strip while working in the fields and often used them sexually as well.(6)The one advantage the Irish slaves had over the African slaves was that since they were literate and they did not survive well in the fields, they were generally used as house servants, accountants, and teachers. But the gentility of the service did not correlate to the punishment for infractions.
Flogging was common, and most slave owners did not really care if they killed an easily replaceable, cheap Irish slave.While most of these slaves who survived were eventually freed after their time of service was completed, many leaving the islands for the American colonies, many were not, and the planters found another way to insure a free supply of valuable slaves. They were quick to “find solace” and start breeding with the Irish slave women. Many of them were very pretty, but more than that, while most of the Irish were sold for only a period of service, usually about 10 years assuming they survived, their children were born slaves for life.
The planters knew that most of the mothers would remain in servitude to remain with their children even after their service was technically up.The planters also began to breed the Irish women with the African male slaves to make lighter skinned slaves, because the lighter skinned slaves were more desirable and could be sold for more money. A law was passed against this practice in 1681, not for moral reasons but because the practice was causing the Royal African Company to lose money. According to James F. Cavanaugh, this company, sent 249 shiploads of slaves to the West Indies in the 1680’s, a total of 60,000 African and Irish, 14,000 of whom died in passage.(7)While the trade in Irish slaves tapered off after the defeat of King James in 1691, England once again shipped out thousands of Irish prisoners who were taken after the Irish Rebellion of 1798.
These prisoners were shipped to America and to Australia, specifically to be sold as slaves.No Irish slave shipped to the West Indies or America has ever been known to have returned to Ireland. Many died, either in passage or from abuse or overwork. Others won their freedom and emigrated to the American colonies. Still others remained in the West Indies, which still contain an population of “Black Irish,” many the descendents of the children of black slaves and Irish slaves.In 1688, the first woman killed in Cotton Mather’s witch trials in Massachusetts was an old Irish woman named Anne Glover, who had been captured and sold as a slave in 1650.
She spoke no English. She could recite The Lord’s Prayer in Gaelic and Latin, but without English, Mather decided her Gaelic was discourse with the devil, and hung her.It was not until 1839 that a law was passed in England ending the slave trade, and thus the trade in Irish slaves.It is unfortunate that, while the descendents of black slaves have kept their history alive and not allowed their atrocity to be forgotten, the Irish heritage of slavery in America and the West Indies has been largely ignored or forgotten.
This article was originally published in 2014 and is frequently updated

Thursday, January 01, 2015


Planned Parenthood clinics did 327,653 abortions in its fiscal year 2014 (which ran from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014), according to Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s newly released annual report. That works out to an average of 37 abortions per hour or nearly 1 every 90 seconds. Planned Parenthood also received $528.4 million from government grants and reimbursements, which equaled 41 percent of its revenue.

What if someone DID something about this?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Data Show Benefits of Fathers

by Father John Flynn, LC

Research into the family continues to confirm the importance of two parents as the best basis for bringing up children. One common problem in the last few decades is the absence of fathers, and the corresponding rise of families headed by single mothers.
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A recent report confirmed that the role of the father is, indeed, necessary for children. The February issue of the journal Acta Paedriatica published an article titled, “Fathers’ Involvement and Children’s Developmental Outcomes: A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies.”

The article was authored by four academics: Anna Sarkadi, Robert Kristiansson, Frank Oberklaid and Sven Bremberg. They reviewed the conclusions from 24 studies. Of these, fewer than 22 provided evidence of the positive effects of involvement by fathers.

An active fatherhood role not only reduced the frequency of behavioral problems in boys and psychological problems in young women, but it also had a positive effect on cognitive development, along with decreasing delinquency and economic disadvantage in low-income families.

In spite of the convincing amount of evidence, the study observed: “Unfortunately, current institutional policies in most countries do not support the increased involvement of fathers in child rearing.”

Some of the studies distinguished between biological fathers and father figures who cohabit with the children, but the authors commented that more study is needed on the role of a biological bond between the father figure and the child. Some results indicate that non-biological father figures can play an important role for children in their households. There is evidence, as well, that biological fathers may be salient in a specific way, they noted.

Overall, however, they concluded, “There is evidence to indicate that father engagement positively affects the social, behavioral, psychological and cognitive outcomes of children.”

Effects on children

Another study, published last week by the Institute for American Values’ Center for Marriage and Families, confirms that academic research is now favoring the family. In “The Shift and the Denial: Scholarly Attitudes Toward Family Change, 1977-2002,” authors Norval Glenn and Thomas Sylvester with Alex Roberts, document how scholarly opinion has evolved.

They studied the 266 articles published in the Journal of Marriage and Family from 1977-2002 related to how family structure affects children. “Overall, we found strong evidence that scholars have become more concerned about the effects of family change on children,” they concluded.

As the years have gone by scholars have become more aware of the possible negative effects of divorce and unwed childbearing on children, the study observed. This was particularly the case, the authors noted, when the studies were empirical, as opposed to an opinion-style article.

Glenn and Sylvester also affirmed: “[T]here now is widespread agreement that there have been negative effects from recent family changes that are strong enough and pervasive enough to be important.”