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Alliance for death (aka “Life”)

This TV ad takes the cake. Have you seen it? It is paid for by an organization that calls itself “Alliance for Life” (Ontario). It is a “provincial coordinating organization” of some 44 affiliates which, surprise surprise, includes seven Christian denominations, of which, another shocker, five are Catholic. Most interesting is an organization calling itself the “Population Research Institute”, founded of course by a priest, Father Paul Marx. Its mission? “...to expose the myth of overpopulation, to expose human rights abuses committed in population control programs.”

The Alliance, meanwhile, claims to present “a united voice for the dignity and worth of all human beings from conception/fertilization to natural death.” I can personally attest to the kind of dignity in death to which they are referring. My brother writhed in agony for months from terminal cancer, and repeatedly indicated that he wanted to die. But his Christian fundamentalist doctor was too concerned with his dignity to assist him in executing his wishes, and so my brother was forced to suffer without the ability to swallow or control his bowels. This conduct is sanctioned by the Alliance for “Life” as “morally and ethically acceptable”.

And of course, the Criminal Code, built on this kind of “morality”, stands behind them. This is the cultural “heritage” which some Canadian anti-immigrationists are intent upon saving. They are the people who grasp at environmental reasons for limiting immigration, but then turn around and advocate more birth incentives for native-born Canadians, most of whom are self-described Christians. Their objective is an ancient one. “Grow the tribe and screw carrying capacity.” So how does the Alliance for Life present its case on television?

The ad features children playing, when in a stroke, one in four of them vanish from the screen. This is to simulate the number of “children” or “babies” destroyed since the abortion law was struck down in 1988. That’s right. After 20 years the Christian right still doesn’t get it. They don’t understand the difference between a baby and a foetus. Between a life and a potential life. I once bought a lottery ticket, and I discovered that there was a substantial difference between a ticket that had the potential of winning the jackpot and one that actually did. It only took one purchase for me to figure that out. But then my learning curve is rather shorter and higher than a Bible-thumper’s I think.

But the Alliance for “Life” , or more aptly, the Alliance for the Increased Quantity of Life (rather than Quality of Life) is animated by different logic. They claim that since one-quarter of all pregnancies were terminated in Canada since the abortion law was passed, young Canadians are “missing” 3 million of their friends. Think of what a difference they would have made, they ask. Over to you Julian Simon. Another Sydney Crosby, or 100 cancer researchers, or 10,000 teachers perhaps. Forget the extra criminals, dead beats and real estate speculators. The more “life” we have the better. After all, “people” are our greatest resource.

Yeah sure. But each Canadian member of that “resource” emits, on average, 23 metric tonnes of green house gas (GHG), consumes 3 million tons of metals, minerals and fuel per year, and produces more than 150 pounds of waste annually as well. So what would those 3 million “missing” friends bring us? For starters, about 65% more GHG emissions than the tar sands produce, and about half the farmland that has been developed to accommodate the New Canadians that have arrived since the abortion law was enacted. And let us not forget the number of non-human species that would have been obliterated by the bulldozer to clear the way. Do you still miss those 3 million potential consumers now?

Each extra Canadian, whether he or she enters the country through the hospital or through the airport, diminishes the per capita share of non-renewable resources that existing Canadians enjoy. Even if the extra 3 million would have spurred more economic growth---a proposition refuted by two or three studies so far---that growth is still contingent on the supply of cheap fossil fuel and rapidly scarce minerals and metals upon which an industrial economy depends. More people does not mean a higher per capita GDP, and even if it did, the economic foundation upon which our inflated population rests is built on quicksand. The bigger we are, the harder we’ll fall. Triple digit oil will kill our transportation system and our ability to grow, harvest, transport and refrigerate our food. If we continue to grow our economy and grow our population, many more of us will starve, freeze and die, along with the flora and fauna we take down with us.

What is really required is an advertisement showing the number of various species on a screen, and those that disappear with each increment of the human population. Christians are fond of justifying the Biblical mandate for humans to exercise dominion over all God’s creatures by stressing our obligation to be wise stewards. That is a difficult task when the human population, to Catholic and evangelical cheerleading, has nearly tripled its size in my lifetime and is shrinking wildlife habitat relentlessly and mercilessly. Whether a primate’s life begins at conception or not, there are now fewer primates in existence than there are human beings born in any given day. If each one of God’s 214,000 miracles born each day is precious, what of the tens or hundreds of thousands of non human life forms that are murdered that day by our expansion? Yes, 100 species are lost each day. But many more life forms are killed than that each day. How many? Who knows? Each and every day we are breeding our life support system into the ground.

It is in this sense, then, that the Alliance for Life is the Alliance for Death.

Tim Murray
December 26/09
PS Happy New Year to Canada’s greatest and most effective environmentalist, Dr. Henry Morgenthaler.

Comments

My father was a sensitive, private and intelligent man who suffered from Alzheimer's disease in his early seventies when he was active, slim and healthy. He lost his personality, his mind and became a vegetable for 3 years in a nursing home. His death was slow and painful to watch as his internal organs disintegrated slowly. He would never had wanted this!

I believe that people should be given a choice about ending their lives once they face terminal illnesses. It should be a basic human right.

My parents had a close marriage and the stress on my mother was fatal. She was healthy at the start of my father's demise, but was diagnosed with terminal cancer just after his death, and died 10 months later.

Pro-life sounds encouraging and positive, but as with human rights, there are always conflicts over whose rights are given priority of whose.

As for abortion, every baby should be wanted, and with all the technology of contraceptives available, people still can't control their reproduction! I find it disturbing that there are groups who take the moral high-ground on abortion, but ignore the suffering of animals, the animals they probably sit down to eat having more sentience than the fetuses they want to save!

Calves are denied their mothers' care and are raised in crates, undernourished, to be processes into veal. Sows are kept in metal crates for up to 4 months without any movement allowed, on concrete floors. Piglets are mutilated, with no pain relief required. Their screams are just ignored, and those doing it would have RSPCA cruelty charges on them if done to companion animals. Little kangaroo joeys can be yanked from their mothers' pouches to be battered to death, without rights or compassion.
In a perfect world, with family planning, we would not need abortions.
Let's get some balance into the importance of the human race -we need to value of human life, but not at all costs and at the exclusion of other intelligent species, and not if it causes excess suffering and can be avoided!

Your posts are very enlightening and enlightened.
I wonder if people who believe in God seek out others and try to unite as a group in churches/religions, then get used, just as people in political parties do, by those who assume power and then use the group by claiming to be spokesperson for the group. It makes you think that a secret ballot should be de rigeur in every group that has any public representation or wants to set in concrete its basic principles.

It seems that every group attracts potential politicians and that the trick is to keep these people under control: Unions, political parties, conservation groups, churches, media networks, corporations ...

Once you have given years of your life to a group, having chosen to associate with them because you think they are worthwhile, they become like your tribe. It is then very difficult for you to leave, if you find that the tribal spokesperson is not really singing the tune you joined to hear. Leaving means going out into the social wilderness and starting all over again, which is a big thing in our adult lives.

So many people stick with their tribes and try to rationalise what their rogue leaders are saying, or to influence the politics, only to discover that the power bases have been rigged.

By the way, although I don't believe in God, I have sometimes found that if I substituted 'God' for nature, it amounted to the same thing, but sounded more compelling in some circles. One can see why our scurvy politicians in Australia have started to publicly appoint high profile religious figures to taskforces and portfolios and to hobnob with popes and dead saints, as well as sportspeople. All such figureheads command a following. They also have predictable behaviour, which can be aligned with a variety of other interests.

Sheila Newman, population sociologist

It's extraordinary that Sheila's last paragraph (above) referring to God and Nature appeared coincidentally today with the post (below) from Chris Harries in the online forum Tasmanian Times () and so I feel obliged to partially quote his words:

" ... All this is summed up beautifully by Thor Heyerdahl, the Norwegian explorer / adventurer of Kon-Tiki fame who wrote:

“Some people are happy inside the church, some are happier outside.

"Those who prefer to stay outside should write Nature with a capital N. They should bless and venerate the Nature that composed mankind.

"That would leave a thin wall between them and those who are inside and write God with a capital G.

"If you knock, it can be heard on both sides. The disagreement is about the spelling of a word.”

Peter Bright
Hobart
Tasmania

Trust in the rights and rules of Nature have a stronger moral base than beliefs in man-made religions. The nature-based beliefs of traditional peoples are premised on healthy respect for nature and all living things. Many ancient belief systems which evolved over eons sought a greater understanding of the natural world and humanity’s place in it. It sought harmony and spiritual calm. Since humanity started dominating the natural world and extended understanding to control, humanity has lost a real and spiritual connection with the natural world. Humanity’s world has become that designed and controlled by humanity which is artificial and unnatural – that is religion. This has lead to artificial and unnatural thinking and acts. In my view humanity in a human controlled and guided world separated from Nature is spiritually lost.


Religions which disrespect the rights of others to have differing views and faiths are themselves disrespectful, self-centred, greedy and immoral. Christianity has unjustly and selfishly displaced traditional faiths of local peoples. In so doing it has become a form of colonisation. It has caused wars. It has not apologised nor offered to redeem lands and lives taken. Christianity has possibly caused more harm than any other faith and so is an immoral, selfish and prejudiced faith. Christianity has been an excuse to usurp power and influence by one group of people over another, typically by force and killing.


Human religions are just different manifestations of a group of like minded people with a common cause seeking to imposed themselves and will and orthodoxy upon others. It presupposes that the dominating or invading faith has more rights and legitimacy than the invaded faith. But how is conquest by force ever a moral act?


The dogma of Anglicans or Catholics or Jews or Hindus or Buddhists or Muslims may argue in their own head that they each are respectively superior that the other, much like sports teams. The Hindu caste system is prejudiced on ethnicity. To extend such thinking to imposing will over others is invasive, unjust and immoral. It is a spiritual form of greed, superiority and control over others.


Practitioners of religion are continually being found to be morally corrupt - Catholic priests in Australia and Ireland seem to be the most immoral. The Muslim concept of 'fatwa' or 'holy war' should be an oxymoron.


In Australia, Christmas Day is entertainment for children, time off work for relaxation, time for family and friends, festivities, and to reflect on life. But Christmas has been exploited by the retail industry and bank credit cards. What religion openly challenges this immoral exploitation?

Religion is no more than one group of people seeking control and influence over others using fear and intimidation.


The Christian Bible was written by followers of the Christian faith to evangelise their message to supplant other world beliefs with their own, to increase membership and with that to acquire more power an influence.


Quoting from the Bible is no different from quoting a recipe book that claims only one way to cook. Christianity has become a form of colonisation. It has selfishly displaced traditional faiths of local peoples. It has caused wars. In so doing Christianity is an immoral selfish and prejudiced faith that has possibly caused more harm than any other faith.


Religions that discount other faiths are prejudiced and ignorant. Freedom of speech is a democratic right, so any religion that treats criticism of its interpretations as blasphemous is ignorant and immoral.


The Qur'an is the Muslim book of divine guidance and direction. It claims to exhort what is morally right and wrong. But how can any moral code accept quotes like:


"Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)


"Seek out your enemies relentlessly." (Surah 4:103-)


"Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)


"Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)


For any group to impose their wishes on another group is a form of intimidation and dominance with is illegitimate.


In Australia, Christmas Day is entertainment for children, time off work for relaxation, time for family and friends, festivities, and to reflect on life. But Christmas has been exploited by the retail industry and bank credit cards. What religion openly challenges this immoral exploitation?


What Christian value on that day is held for the indigenous peoples of Australia that typically remain disenfranchised, without the turkey or what it stands for?


The Salvation Army is one of the few religious-based cause committed to tangible altruistic care for the needy at this time. But are they doing the work of what our governments should be doing - providing for the needy in our society?


Examine the history of traditional peoples and compare these with those dominated by religion and compare the moral record and judge which has more merit and a respectful guide for human understanding, spirituality, salvation, lore and behaviour.


Tiger Quoll
Snowy River 3885
Australia

God knows nothing of religion. Nothing.

Reality is of God. Religion is of man.

Man is the greatest cock-up artist of all time.

Religion is Man's bumbling response to God! It has often lead to abuse and the very outcomes that are condemned by Him. Human understanding and manipulation of the Creator means He has been politicized, commercialized and exploited beyond recognition. Religion is responsible for masking the very evil and desires of humans for their own selfish ends. The Crusades, colonialism and the Inquisition are some examples.
Nature is an expression of Creation, flawed through Sin and Evil brought on by the human race through disobedience to God, by choice. Genesis contains the Creation myth to illustrate our Fall from grace and God's original purpose. Sin is traditionally minimized by the churches, or trivialised, but it impacts on the whole planet, and on every species.
In the Garden of Eden no animals were eaten, nor did the animals kill each other. Man and animals ate plants. The Bible tells us that animals will once again live together peacefully when Christ returns.
Death entered after the Creation was finished. And when God was finished he said his Creation was "very good" (Genesis 1:31).
If Lions were ripping apart zebras, and animals were brutally killing each other at this time, then surely God would not have declared his Creation "very good". The flaw came due to Adam and Eve - ie humans!
The slavery of animals, human to human cruelty and aggression, and the suffering and eating of meat and the cruelty of the food chain are the embodiment of Sin. Death, suffering and killing are the result.
Unable to recognize or appreciate or differentiate between the Creator and that which He created, Nature, results in what many wind up doing - worshipping the material or natural universe because it is what they can see and experience with their senses. Atheism is the clay pot questioning the divine Potter to "prove" himself!
Through this Curse of Sin and Death comes a Blessing. The opportunity to be united with a God who loves us. There is reconciliation with God for those who trust in His son Jesus - God embodied in human form.
Don't trust religions - but the source of goodness is God. Still there is much that our mortal and carnal minds can't understand this side of life, until we meet our Maker.