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Dear Pakistan: No Family Planning, No Aid---Get It?

Madeline Weld wrote,

"The population was 60 M when I was there in the 1960s (my dad was a diplomat), 180 M now and headed for 335 M by 2050. Two-thirds of the country is less than 30 years old, fewer than 30 million of 70 million kids between 5 and 19 in school, and a female illiteracy rate of 60% (male 32%), desired family size 4.1, 22% of married women use birth control and only half of the non-users would like to use it in the future."

Would you give money to a drunken panhandler or a drug addict? Would you continue to feed a man who has sired 6 kids despite having no means to support them? Is open-ended charity a virtue---or a vice?

If your object is to actually solve the problem of poverty, then you must focus on the consequences of your charity. But if your object is to perpetuate and worsen the problem and inflict misery and hunger upon the next generation in even greater proportions, then by all means, wear a blindfold and keep on giving. Keep giving to Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Phillipines, Haiti and Central Africa. Follow Sir Bob Geldoff's example and feed a young generation of potential people-breeders in the mid 1980s and then see Ethiopia double its population in 25 years with three times as many people stalked by hunger now as then. After all, this is really about White Guilt and salving a Christian conscience, isn't it? It is not about addressing root causes but feeling good about yourself. If you may not get a knighthood out of it, but maybe you'll collect enough brownie points with the Big Guy in the Sky. That way, you can sit back into your 4 bedroom home with its two car garage and feel that you have paid your dues. Congratulations, you are a Good Person. You are off the hook.

Moral of the story? I can live a middle class lifestyle with all of its entitlements- the two kids, the Mexican vacations, the cottage in the country--as long as I have paid my indulgence and been granted dispensation for my charitable donations and cosmetic green living habits, habits that don't represent any real sacrifice or challenge to my middle class station. Lenin said it more than a century ago. Philanthropy is just a cheap ticket to heavenly bliss for the bourgeoisie, a class that will never threaten to undermine its privilege with fundamental structural change to society. Bill Gates has challenged the world's billioniares to match his ambition and donate half their wealth to charity. A bold and magnaminous gesture to be sure. Now, let's see him challenge billionaires to give up the system of economic growth that allowed them to generate that wealth at the cost of our life support system and the well-being of so many who cling to it. Don't hold your breath. Charity is a small premium to pay to keep us in the cockpit. So let's keep our guilt-trip alive. Ready? Now repeat after me:

" We're white and we're guilty. We're the irresponsible consumers on a oil-fueled binge who have imposed climate change on the hapless billions who must survive on $2 a day.We're the junior partners of global corporations who have fattened our portfolios with the dividends and profits made from their despoilation of the developing world. One quarter of the world's natural capital has been liquidated with little recompense to those who live at the scene of the crime. Most of the wealth has flowed north. Yep, we're guilty as hell." Alternatively, "Here in Canada, where charity is bred in our bone, we must set those optics aside, give as best we can, and therefore provide the Taliban and al-Qaida no room to take credit."

But throwing money at the symptoms of overpopulation---mass starvation and displacement---will not cure it but promote it. And neither will opening our borders to what can only be a fraction of those affected. There is not a shortage of food, water and housing but as Garrett Hardin would say, a longage of people. Few ever ask, "Why have so many people chosen to live on a flood plain?" And even fewer people ask, "Why is there no room to live elsewhere?". If making foreign aid conditional on family planning is playing God, is not growing misery by unconditional aid not also playing God---but on a much more grandiose and egregious scale?

Overpopulation is one problem that where, ultimately, the ball is their court as well as ours. There is enough guilt and irresponisbility to go around, and it is high time that those who are breeding themselves into an even deeper hole shared a slice of it. Habitat destruction, deforestation, poaching, pollution from cook-stoves and the reckless fecundity that drives much of it--- is not all down to us and our corporate proxies. In its quest for a subsistence, humanity's bottom billion has accounted for much environmental damage, even enough perhaps to offset our sins of emission. If they are to free themselves of this vicious downward cycle, it is imperative that they take charge of their numbers----and it is imperative that they not be encouraged to avoid doing so.

As they say in the Self-Help business, to be helped, you must first be willing to help yourself. Birth control begins at home. Need help in that? Then my wallet's open.

Tim Murray


The Pakistani Taliban are planning to attack foreigners helping with flood relief efforts in the country, a senior US official has warned.

The Taliban plan "to conduct attacks against foreigners participating in the ongoing flood relief operations in Pakistan", the official told the BBC.

The official also said "provincial ministers in Islamabad" may be at risk.
The Taliban do not want the Westerners to be seen in a "good" and charitable light, but as the enemy.

Some five million Pakistanis have no shelter, and urgently need tents or plastic sheeting to protect them from the sun.

Already termed the worst flooding to hit Pakistan for 80 years, this deluge has affected millions of people, and so far over 1,600 have died.

The high population growth rate in Pakistan has contributed to a rapid deterioration of the country's natural environment. This includes extensive deforestation and the building of dams for irrigation and power generation across tributaries of the Indus river. What sets this year apart from others is the intensity and localisation of the rainfall.

"There is currently no effective water management strategy to speak of in Pakistan," says Shah Murad Aliani, country representative for the International Union for Conservation of Nature in Pakistan.

During a warm period 6,000 years ago, the Indus was a monster river, more powerful and more prone to flooding than today.

Then, 4,000 years ago, as the climate cooled, a large part of it simply dried up. So, will global warming have the reverse effect, returning the Indus to the monster river of 6,000 years ago?

"That is the million-dollar question", said Professor John Clague, from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada, an expert on the Asian monsoon.

"There is huge uncertainty… and this is a matter of heated debate amongst scientists at present."

The current floods could also be blamed to some degree on deforestation and more people living in flood-prone areas as the population keeps growing.

Pakistan has lost vast areas of forest over the past few decades, while overgrazing often strips degraded land of whatever plant cover is left. The government has set a target to boost forest cover from 5.2 percent to 6 percent by 2014.

The Taliban don't want Foreigners helping, and they should not get our donations either! It may seem cruel, but help and charity starts at home. If we don't manage our own numbers, then Nature will do it for us. Humans are incapable of managing the balance between Nature and their own population impacts. Globalisation has blurred the borders between international and national responsibilities. The ball is in their court, and a valuable lesson must be learnt about restoring forests and vegetation, and that family planning is not misanthropic, but in their own long-term nterests.

From what I read and hear about the current Pakistan floods, it is a massive and urgent humanitarian crisis devastating over 20 million people (equivalent to the population of Australia).

Pakistan is an urgent drop everything global priority!

Urgent humanitarian relief comes before government-discretionary wars, politics and the financial crises of rich nations self-inflicted by greed and slack banking governance anyway. The GFC saw trillions materialise in weeks by wealthy nations to address was an 'economic' crisis. Pakistan right now has an humanitarian crisis. G20 priorities suck! Thousands of people are about to die in weeks if the substandard humanitarian relief continues the way it is!

The humanitarian response is a joint obligation by nations to be best directed by Pakistan with partnership support co-ordinated by the United Nations (UN) and funded by Pakistan and its immediate and regional wealthy neighbours - India, Russia, China. Every region gets its regrettable turn at widespread disaster and now is Central Asia's.

Problem is that the UN is owed millions promised by rich nations and both Pakistan and the UN are ill-prepared. The UN is forever ill-prepared.

Humanitarian relief to saves lives and avert mass trauma, disease and starvation is a completely separate issue to addressing overpopulation.

The Pakistan humanitarian crisis a natural disaster and not related to cultural choice to breed excessively.

The cause should also be a global focus - the stationary monsoon associated with the record high temperatures across Russia which contributed to the unprecedented bushfire disaster have been linked to climate change. This suggests such calamities are likely set to become more frequent globally and the world's countries needs to start serious contingency planning and investment.

But one must morally object to linking measures for addressing overpopulation to humanitarian crises. Now is not the time in Pakistan to squabble. It is immoral to address overpopulation with humanitarian neglect, mass starvation and death from consequential disease.

Back in the 1960s, college kids gave up a Sunday meal to send food to Bangladesh. Result: they grew from 80 million to a whopping 157 million people. So what’s the problem? Bangladeshis live in a flood plain the size of Wisconsin. Human overpopulation dictates millions of miserable, hopeless and terrible lives. Living conditions: beyond sickening!

Today, nearby Pakistan suffers an enormous population

As a world traveler, I find it almost comical if not outright astonishing that Marlowe defiantly rejects any talk of overpopulation. With Pakistan’s 180 million population on its way to 335 million by mid century—when does Marlowe or the leaders of Pakistan ‘think’ it might be advantageous to distribute birth control rather than food?

Why does culture and religion trump reason, logic and rational action? Why would the leaders of a country proceed toward even greater human tragedy? Why scoff at the realities they face today that will grow 100 fold within 40 years? How can one country and all its people be that stupid?

You can count on one thing to solve all their problems: Mother Nature! Her methods grow more ominous as Pakistan’s population grows more unsustainable.

Frosty Wooldridge

See also Editorial Comment, below. (Originally published: 2 September.)

Perhaps the time is approaching where we should temporarily suspend the notion of human reproductive rights and disperse involuntary population control agents throughout the world, and the third world in particular.

My suggestion is that we look at developing a genetically modified, oestrogen secreting strain of Chlamydia (a common bacterium infecting the reproductive tracts of humans) that will act as a self replicating and self administering 'pill' for both men and woman. Oestrogen in men is likely to reduce their sperm count to levels sufficient to cause infertility.

The contraception would be reversible by treating the infection with a course of antibiotics. But the spread of this 'pill' could not easily be controlled by governments or groups with a view to targeting specific ethnic groups within their borders or beyond. The west would be equally susceptible to this 'pill' as would be the third world.

In Australia it is against the race discrimination act to deny Aborigines access to alcohol or any other product. But few Australians would disagree with the fact that suspension of the race discrimination act in order to deny access of entire Aboriginal communities to alcohol is necessary and desirable in order to improve the social conditions of that community in the long term.

Over population and the associated human suffering in Pakistan, and the rest of the third world is, is the same sort of situation as outlined above where we should consider suspending human reproductive rights for the greater third world good.

Editorial comment: Although what Gregary is advocating may seem drastic and a denial of the most basic of human human rights, it is a mild measure in comparison to what may lie in store for humankind at the hands of a life support system no longer capable of supporting earth's current massively expanded human population, which is continuing to expand.

All the same, it seems unlikely that human population numbers can stabilise in circumstances where decisions about what is in the interests of ordinary humans are made by ruling elites in such an undemocratic world as we have today. Let's also not forget that the denial of the most basic human rights is also a reason for the further expansion of human population as many governments in the Third World dictatorially (even where they are formal democracies) prevent ordinary people from practising birth control. One of the worst examples is overpopulated Roman Catholic Phillipines.

We stand a far greater chance of being able to achieve global population stability by giving rights to ordinary people than by taking them away.

This is not to say that firm measures to dissuade people from having more than two children should not be taken as John Marlowe has argued. However, I think that such measures as those which Gregary is arguing for here pose serious risks for the rights of ordinary people and are, paradoxically, more likely to make our population circumstances worse, rather than better, as a result of the effects of such a measure on individual autonomy and democracy overall.

Even as Pakistani and international relief officials scrambled to save people and property, they despaired that the nation’s worst natural calamity had ruined just about every physical strand that knit this country together — roads, bridges, schools, health clinics, electricity and communications. The destruction could set Pakistan back many years, if not decades, further weaken its feeble civilian administration and add to the burdens on its military.

It is in this northern section where most of the ancient tribes still live and where many ancient tribal cultures and customs still exist. Each individual state within the country has a governor, and each city has its own mayor. Additionally, most tribal groups have a head chief. Each tribal group also has certain ceremonies that are an important part of the marriages within that group.

In 1950, Pakistan had a population of 37 million people and was the world’s 13th largest country as measured by population. By 2007, Pakistan was the sixth largest country with 164 million people. Pakistan is projected by the United Nations to move to fifth place in 2050 with 292 million people, after India,

Although the modern nation of Pakistan was but fifty-three years old in 2000, it has territorial areas and tribal populations whose histories date back many centuries; thus Pakistan has both an ancient and a relatively new identity. Tribal culture means that people marry, often at a young age. They do it often because it's in their tradition to get married- whather they can afford to support one another or not- and have a large number of children, again whether they can afford to support a large amount of children or not.

It's usually the families who pressure their sons and daughters to marry. And if they don't marry, they face pressure not just from families, but their societies as well for it's awkward not to marry after entering adulthood in most rural areas of Pakistan and is often frowned upon.

The solution is to somehow break this tribalist culture of chasing unnecessary marriage and pressure from the families and the mentality which dominates all of Pakistan's classes except for the elite class who no longer follow the customs of their previous generations and do not live under the power of their families. Enpowering women with education and choices would help them balance population growth with natural resources, but their fundamentalist religion sees women as lesser beings, or too fragile, to allow such choices.

Few are likely to be aware of the stagnation of Pakistan’s family planning program, which provides key services to Pakistani families and affects the country’s larger demographic trajectory. The provision of comprehensive, voluntary family planning and reproductive health services is a fundamental human right, and yet today these services still remain out of reach for millions of Pakistanis.

Pakistan and India are one, pre British tyranny.
This is a subcontinent human catastrophe. India's neglect of Pakistan deserves condemnation & boycott.

I note the above commenters seek callous mass human misery from the Pakistan floods, which I despise.

But I place the immediate responsibility for relief on India, Pakistan's soul mate pre-Britain. India should be condemned for neglecting Pakistan at its time of crisis. Pakistan is a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Surely this abject neglect of one of its member nations by the Commonwealth will seal a deserved death of this 19th Century imperial and exploitist 'commonwealth' dynasty?

Neighbouring China and Russia being long-standing strategic beneficiaries of Pakistan are similarly complicit by neglecting the Pakistan flood calamity.

The West is no more obligated to support Pakistan than wealthy India, China and Russia. On this basis does the West justify a message to Pakistan that aid will not coming? Is this the West's population control strategy?

The explosive population growth we've seen in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other predominately agrarian societies is due to most woman having large families of 4+ children. Now apologists for this behavior say "they don't have a choice! Large families have always been the norm there, they need them to work the fields and look after them in their old age." I don't buy this. Look at the growth rates prior to industiralization, when most people lived on the land. They were very slow, almost flat. This is not the sort of growth pattern you get where large families are the norm. If I'm correct, throughout history in any society large families have always been fairly rare and a luxury, not commonplace and a necessity.

Authorities have recovered the bodies of three Christian relief workers who had been kidnapped and killed by members of the Pakistani Taliban in the flood-ravaged country, area officials said. An official at the international humanitarian organization that employed the workers withheld their names and requested that the agency remain unnamed for security reasons. Military sources who withheld news of the deaths from electronic and print media to avoid panicking other relief workers.

The foreign aid workers had been working in Mingora and the surrounding areas, and had just returned to their base when a group of Taliban attacked their vehicle. They injured five or six people and kidnapped the three foreign humanitarian workers later found dead. An army Inter-Services Public Relations source said rangers have been deployed in Swat and other potential target areas to help provide security for relief workers. “The Taliban had warned about attacks on foreigner aid workers and Christian organizations,” the ISPR source said.

Source: Compass Direct News

Were these Christians missionaries? Were they trying to convert Muslims to Christianity?

Swat District Coordination Officer Atif-ur-Rehman told Compass that the Pakistan Army recovered the bodies of the three foreign flood-relief workers at about 7 a.m. on Wednesday. An official at the international humanitarian organization that employed the workers withheld their names and requested that the agency remain unnamed for security reasons. Military sources who withheld news of the deaths from electronic and print media to avoid panicking other relief workers granted permission to Compass to publish it in limited form.

“The foreign aid workers have been working in Mingora and the surrounding areas,” Rehman said. “On Aug. 23 they were returning to their base at around 5:35 p.m. when a group of Taliban attacked their vehicle. They injured around five-six people and kidnapped three foreign humanitarian workers.”

This was kept quiet as to not frighten or intimidate other relief workers. Due to the emergency, it is unlikely that those killed would have been preaching! The taliban don't want the West, or Christians, to be seen in a positive light.

Much as I would like to believe a story published on I couldn't help but dig a little deeper into this story regarding the alleged murder of 3 christian aid workers in Pakistan. It seems the whole story is based on the claims of one man, a certain Rizwan Paul who heads up a christian advovate group called "life for all". As yet, only christian media sites are reporting on the story and many of those have been claiming for the last couple of weeks that the story is actually untrue.

“the local government, military commanders and police officials have informed our security team that this a baseless news report. All the names of the officials mentioned are fake and similarly no organisation called Life For All has been working in Swat area.”

Farbeit from me to claim who is telling the truth, I have very little knowledge of the current situation in Pakistan except what I see on TV and read in the media. What I do know is that this story "broke" nearly a month ago and is yet to be swallowed by the amoral western media. Maybe Rizwan Paul should have broken the story to Florida Pastor Terry Jones, he has a knack of getting his stories to a much wider audience.

It may be unclear at this stage about the truth of the killings of aid workers in Pakistan. The death reports maybe are being kept quiet from the media as to not give "satisfaction" to the Taliban in opposition to humanitarian aid from the West, and to not bring panic to others in a time of emergency.

Taliban or Taliban-styled terrorists have looted and set fire to shops and houses in an attempt to regain control of towns in the Swat Valley. Extremists have not only carried out attacks on federal and provincial government ministers in the Swat Valley over the past decade, but have targetted foreign aid workers and Christians as part of their attempts to destabilise the Pakistan Government, despite the scale of human tragedy. Crops, farmlands and harvests are completely wiped out, along with entire townships together with schools, hospitals, bridges, roads and infrastructure of any sort. Communities have been destroyed and left millions homeless.

Not long before the floods, an angry mob of Muslims killed six Christians and a child, and wounded dozens after burning 40 houses and a church over the alleged desecration of the Koran in a remote Pakistani town, officials said.

An estimated 176,000 Christians around the world were martyred – killed for their faith – in a one-year period from the middle of 2008 to the middle of 2009. That's 482 deaths per day, one every three minutes.

Last month, Taliban terrorists have declared they shot and killed a team of missionary aid workers, including six Americans. Ten members of a medical team, including six Americans, were shot and killed by the Islamic terrorists as they were returning from providing eye treatment and other health care in remote villages of northern Afghanistan. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press in Pakistan that they killed the foreigners because they were "spying for the Americans" and "preaching Christianity."

According to Islamic law, any Muslim who leaves Islam loses custody of their children. The children are to be placed in the custody of a Muslim relative. Islam is the only world religion which demands that people who leave it should be killed. These extremism is not about peace or godliness!

Not only Christians, but fresh arrests and harassment of Baha'is in recent days have been accompanied by increasingly extreme proclamations in the state-run media against this gentle and unifying religion. Baha'is find themselves once more accused of co-operating with Israel to undermine Iran. Hundreds have faced torture and execution; thousands have been imprisoned; and arrests remain common and arbitrary.

Last year a Christian teacher in Nigeria, was beaten, stoned and clubbed to death by Muslim students because she touched a student’s bag that contained a Koran while supervising an exam, thereby “desecrating” it. Some students tried to protect her from extremists. She is one of 200 million Christians at risk of persecution around the world, mostly in Communist and Muslim countries.

Usually religious persecution is tied up with other interests or grievances, such as fear of loss of political control as with the Communist Party in China. Also, national or tribal agendas, economic interests, competition for resources, and increasingly Muslims’ sense of humiliation at their perceived powerlessness for which local Christians or other minorities often bear the brunt, as in Pakistan and much of the Middle East.

When you are the minority in any culture, it appears you will always be persecuted. In Melbourne suburbs like Broadmeadows, non-muslims are becoming the minority.

War and persecution is, and always has been, a struggle for power, resources, wealth and territory. Religion is just a dividing line, that separates along cultural lines and entrenches a sense of difference and rivalry between people. Religion is often used to justify violence and absolve the perpetrators from condemnation. It is said that nobody dies from overpopulation, but once resources become scarce and populations overshoot their boundaries, persecution and conflicts can be expected.

Insight had a debate on "Banning the Burqa". Women in the West, in democracies, have fought hard for equality, and for the vote. Having women wearing the burqa is a backward step, and inappropriate for Australia. People from overseas coming to live in Australia should understand our religious tolerance, and our culture. However, our acceptance and welcome should not be abused. We are the host country, and anyone coming to live here should respect our traditions, our heritage and our values.

President Sarkozy said in Parliament We cannot accept that in our country some women will be imprisoned behind a fence cut off from all social life, deprived of identity. This is not a principle that the French republic has about women's dignity.

Religious persecution in Australia? The ideologies of human rights, multiculturalism, religious tolerance and equality are fine in theory, but human nature has so many conflicting dimensions and self-serving agendas.

We in Australia are protected by the media from the massive scale of persecution happening in the rest of the world. While we are accused of "racism", and have our attitudes sifted through with a fine-toothed comb, our critics have the luxury of ignoring their counterparts in their countries of origin who are guilty of not "racism" but mass discrimination, violent persecution and deadly intolerance!

I think it would be a good idea .
Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization!

The same could be said for multiculturalism, pluralism and ideals of tolerance!

Once again I am reluctant to believe the arguments that have been put forward by christian advocates. The claim that 176,000 Christians around the world were martyred – killed for their faith – in a one-year period from the middle of 2008 to the middle of 2009 was made by Bob Unruh, a christian activist who has been repeatedly attacked over his subjective style of journalism. A christian pastor by the name of Rowland Croucher is also responsible for the over simplistic claim that children are forfeited when a muslim parent leaves the faith.

The story about the christian teacher being killed in Nigeria last year is contained in a Sydney Morning Herald article. This piece then goes on to say:

Nor are Christians the only ones at risk. Muslims too are at risk in great numbers just because they are Muslim, in sectarian rows in Muslim countries, from Hindu nationalists in India and in separatist or nationalist disputes in places like Chechnya, Kashmir, southern Thailand and the Philippines.

and concludes:

My argument amounts to this: religion is practised by people. It is therefore as ambiguous, messy, prone to both moral heights and depths, as people themselves are. It has been used for good and for harm. My own view is that the scales are weighted firmly on the side of good by making people morally aware of the “other”, but I know many disagree. I think Richard Neibuhr put it particularly well: “Religion makes good people better and bad people worse.”

amen to that.

After two centuries of (christian) colonial rule I can understand why some people in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh would wince at the mention of christian missionaries working in their country.

"Muslims too are at risk in great numbers just because they are Muslim, in sectarian rows in Muslim countries, from Hindu nationalists in India and in separatist or nationalist disputes in places like Chechnya, Kashmir, southern Thailand and the Philippines". Exactly, there are some extremist and draconian religions that do not allow opinions or freedom of choice or expression.

Religious faith is something that should be due to conviction,not forced. All religions have been used to justify violence, colonialism and possession. The difference is that Christianity, inherently, is by choice! It cannot be "controlled" or manipulated by oppressive regimes like those in extreme Hindu or Islam nations.

Many people are repressed in these countries, and thus Christianity is seen as the threat to their power. Nobody can deny the great risk to humanitarian aid workers today, due to extremism. Many happen to be from Christian aid organisations.

Those killed for their faith include nationals in their own country, not just "missionaries" and humanitarian workers. The real numbers killed for their beliefs are probably greatly underestimated due to lack of reporting.

London (AFP) – Net migration to the UK rose by more than 20 percent last year to 196,000 from 163,000 in 2008, official figures showed Thursday.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the number of immigrants arriving in the UK in 2009 fell by four percent to 567,000, from 590,000 in 2008.

However, the number of people leaving the country last year dropped further -- by 13 percent -- to 371,000, from 427,000 in 2008.

The number of visas issued to students rose 35 percent to 362,015 in the year to June.

The Empire Strikes Back! Payback Time?

The great majority of immigrants who arrive in the West looking for a better life for themselves and their families. We now have a type of "reverse Colonialism". We have the United Nations calling on the Western countries to open their borders. Immigration into the First World will become an avalanche in the future and will wreak havoc on our economic and social welfare obligations.

"Climate change" refugees will be in a great part overpopulation/poverty refugees! "Human rights" and Christian compassion and duty will be called upon, and if current trends persist, after 2050, the native population in the West will gradually shrink and become a minority.

Matilda B writes, "Religious faith is something that should be due to conviction,not forced. All religions have been used to justify violence, colonialism and possession. The difference is that Christianity, inherently, is by choice! It cannot be "controlled" or manipulated by oppressive regimes like those in extreme Hindu or Islam nations."

I don't see how Christianity differs from the other religions in being less subject to control or manipulation. I think the difference lies in whether state is separate from church. In states where Christianity was not separate, barbarisms also ruled - the latter Roman Empire (which substituted Christianity for earlier gods in order to beat the influence of Jesus) the Spanish inquisition, acts of christian missionaries against Easter Islanders, Salem Witch trials, etc etc.

Another thing that has changed is post WW1 where mineral wealth, industrialisation increased wealth and voting rights caused better levels of group education, wealth sharing (this is declining as I write) and empowerment, so that as human expectations rose, religious groups had to become less authoritarian and oppressive. They remain authoritarian and oppressive in places like Africa, the Philippines and South America though, where people remain under the boot and there was never much wealth and that was not shared within their huge populations.

Let's face it, religion is easy to adapt to base political ends. It commands groups and, if you manage to get at the head of such a group, you can command that group in its god's name.

I do not mean to detract from people who have their own beliefs in nature or a god, but when they band together under a banner, they leave themselves open to abuse, IMHO, so must be very vigilant about how far they follow which leaders.

Sheila Newman, population sociologist

I think there is a confusion regarding what is "Christian" in this comment. One meaning is The Church, ie the Catholic Church and its institutional power, authority and properties such as buildings, art works, territories and organisations, and the other is "Chrisitanity" as a personal faith in God, and his revelation through Jesus Christ. The nations suffering from persecution, especially in the Middle East, China, North Korea, Indonesia, Morocco, Bangladesh etc have virtually banned religion, or religion other than their own theocracies, and the issue is not one of the institutionalised Church. These people have chosen their faith, at risk to themselves.
Religion and political power should be separate, and then the churches are free to support the faithful. The Church has been guilty of atrocities in order to justify colonialism and repression. Missionaries have been guilty too of imposing their law and order in colonial takeovers. However, there has always been the remnant faithful throughout history.
The media in Australia heavily filter the "news" and a lot of religious persecution goes unreported - not to incite "racism"?

It appears to me that the media (including the Australian media) love a story that will potentially incite hatred particularly amongst religous groups. The recent example of Florida pastor Terry Jones is a good example of this. Here you have a guy with a congregation of only 50 people making international headlines over his anti-muslim views. President Obama was forced to intervene in an attempt to prevent a "burn the koran" day. The media just lapped it up! If people want to read it or see it on TV then its a good story, I wouldn't be relying on the Australian media to filter out what is morally irresponsible when it comes to reporting news.

The media aren't shy of presenting the issues above you mentioned, Scott. They are all about the "West" showing intolerance and "racism" to immigrants and ethnic groups, but not the contrary. Open Doors and other organisations cover what is happening to the persecuted, not the mainstream media. Crimes to Australians in India have largely been ignored as to not "offend" Indians. C.A.T Crimes Against Tourists INDIA
Open Doors
Western nations are being accused of "racism" and intolerance if they object to ongoing immigration. All the racism accusations are targeted towards Western nations where the reverse is ignored.

My Irish maternal grandparents were afflicted with unstoppable fertility disease, prevalent there in the early 20th Century. They slept apart, to try to limit the number of offspring - it was partially successful. Of their nine children two died from tuberculosis (nature's culling) leaving seven. They managed to educate their third child (my mother) to university level. She worked for many years to educate the others, only marrying her longstanding boyfriend at 36yrs.

The rhythm method (unknown to her mother) allied to delayed marriage, allowed her and her siblings to have small families (2-3 children) and create secure foundations for their offspring. They would have preferred to have the choice to marry younger and use contraception to time their children, but other people's religious scruples blocked this option.

All Western countries have enjoyed some variant in this transition over the last 100 years, but religious zealotry has blinded many otherwise good people to the unfairness of abandoning the poor in places like Pakistan to the agony of unstoppable fertility disease.

Now: I will only give donations to a charity which automatically disseminates family planning support (full choice of methods) prominently as well as food and medicines aid. No ifs, no buts.