Those readers who are familiar with logic and critical thinking will understand the argument of the ‘slippery slope’. It suggests that making a downward move in a particular direction starts something on a path that will continue to slide in that same downward direction. People like me usually use it in terms of moral decline. For example, if you legalize marijuana it may lead to the legalization or at least increased use of harder drugs, hence you have started down the slippery slope. Opponents of this kind of reasoning call it the slippery slope ‘fallacy’ claiming it is not valid and cite many examples where it is not the case. The problem with dismissing the argument completely is that it leads to a false sense of security that we are never in danger of falling off the edge of a cliff. Anyone who has ever climbed down a slippery river bank too far knows that if and when you end up in the river, there was nothing fallacious about it. I think for any of the unconvinced this video nicely demonstrates how it works.
As a nation we have started down many a slippery path. One such example has been the abortion issue. Many think the debate has been decided that it is over and down with. What they may not realize or will not admit is that it put us onto a dangerous and deadly path. Because Canada has no abortion laws whatsoever, fetuses can be aborted legally right up until moments before natural birth without impunity. Thankfully that does not happen often as most doctors are far more reasonable than to do such an obvious murderous act. However the slippery slope has led us down another treacherous path, that of sex selection abortion. In many cultures around the world, male children are preferred over female. So in places like China with a ‘one child’ policy the parents will abort a female fetus and try again in hopes of getting a male. With some couples this scenario may be repeated several times until a male is conceived. The map below shows that males under 5 years outnumber girls in every single province, some by as much as 30%. The result of this slippery slope will be catastrophic in 20 years when these young men will literally not be able to find a woman to marry. Will they have to institute a marriage lottery to determine who gets a wife?
The United Nations estimates that 200 million women and girls are missing due to gendercide, and stated: “Renewed and concerted efforts are needed by governments and civil society to address the deeply rooted gender discrimination which lies at the heart of sex selection.” Even the normally morally liberal UN feels governments need to act to reverse this trend. Canada is doing nothing… actually worse than nothing which we will get to in a moment.
In June 2012, the CBC aired an investigation on gender selection. With hidden cameras they visited 22 private ultrasound clinics in Canada. They found that most of these clinics were allowing ultrasounds to tell the sex of the baby so that the parents could choose to terminate the pregnancy if the unborn child is female.
All of this is bad enough in itself but this is where it gets worse, much worse. On March 28th Conservative MP Mark Warawa attempted to introduce a motion in the House of Commons. Motion 408 merely asked that the House condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination. The motion would have had no legal ramifications but it would have at least represented a sentiment of the Canadian values on this issue. Warawa claims that 92% of Canadians want the practice of sex selection condemned. The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs’ rejected his motion and he was not permitted to even introduce it in the House. Then when he later wanted to speak on the issue on what is a called a ‘point of privilege’ his own party would not let him speak.
As a Canadian that believes in democracy this really angers me. And it should anger every one of us. I understand Steven Harper’s reluctance to allow the abortion debate to be reopened, but his misguided sense of political survival is trumping his sense of democratic freedom. Once you begin to muzzle the free speech of your own MP’s you have started down the slippery slope to the totalitarianism that exists in places like North Korea, Cuba and Syria to name only a few. In a pathetic attempt to appear untainted by the abortion issue our government has resorted to suspending democracy. The British Westminster system of government that Canada employs has always afforded MP’s the right to represent their own views or those of their constituents. It is called the House of Commons for a reason. It was always meant to be the place where the ‘common’ man could be democratically represented. I am profoundly disappointed in Steven Harper’s heavy handed approach to handling his MP’s. He has nothing to lose by allowing Warawa to proceed. If the House of Commons accepts his motion, or rejects it, that is a reflection on the sentiment of the House not Harper’s government.
The snowball has picked up some new momentum on the way down this slippery slope. This is far more serious than most people realize. We are not only talking about human lives and social engineering but democracy itself. At some point you reach the breaking point where you begin an irreversible slide. Let me leave you with one more very short video. It is not as terrifying as the last but you will get the point. No skiers were harmed in the making of this film.
Crossroads Christian Communications that produces the long running 100 Huntley Street television program has been under intense scrutiny recently. Crossroads has received a $544,813 grant from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to build wells and dig latrines in the African country of Uganda. (Crossroads claims they have invested $35 million in relief work worldwide with $3.2 in Uganda) None of this is particularly newsworthy as this is the sort of thing Canada does all the time. Governments are not able or equipped to do foreign relief work themselves and therefore funds are granted to NGO’s (non-government organizations) that are on location doing the actual work. This story exploded when gay activist freelance journalist Justin Ling did a story for the Globe and Mail pointing out that Crossroad’s holds a ‘radical’ religious position on sexuality that believes homosexuality (among other sins) is a perversion. Apparently this was earth shattering news. Who would have thought that there were Christians who believed such things? Then the story really got legs was when the connection was made between between Crossroad’s position on homosexuality and the Ugandan government’s position. Uganda is considering legislation that would impose the death penalty for homosexuality. Now follow the bouncing ball;Crossroads is digging wells in Uganda… the Ugandan government wants to kill homosexuals… Crossroads believes homosexuality is a sin… the Canadian government is giving Crossroads money to build the wells… therefore Canadian government is funding the killing of homosexuals in Uganda!
The leap in logic is disingenuous at best and blatantly dishonest at worst. There would not be a single Evangelical church in Canada that would support the views of the Ugandan government on this issue. The great irony in this story is that we are the ones doing the good works of love and compassion around the world, yet we are ones being flamed as haters and bigots. It is confounding to say the least. Evangelicals spend more money in that 3rd world than perhaps everybody else combined. Who is taking care of the AIDS orphans in Africa? It is not the gay rights activists. They aren’t doing one single thing. It is the Evangelical church, the ones that supposedly hate gays. Who is working to free the 2 million people around the world that have been sold into human slavery? It is the Evangelical church. Most people aren’t even aware that there are more enslaved humans today than at any time in history. And the bulk of this travesty is in Africa. Have we already forgotten that the Nobel Peace Prize winning champion of the 1960′s human rights movement Martin Luther King Jr was an Evangelical minister? Nobody is more committed to fundamental human rights today than Evangelical christians.
I am getting tired of the hypocrisy and stupidity from our critics. This week NPD leader Thomas Mulcair waded into the fray. In an outraged interview he said, “We don’t understand how the Conservatives can … subsidize a group in Uganda whose views are ‘identical’ to those of the Ugandan government.” (Remember the bouncing ball we followed earlier) He then added, ”…these types of evangelical groups with vision that goes completely against not only Canadian values, but Canadian law.”I sincerely wonder what planet Mr Mulcair is from. The Christian church has regarded homosexuality a sin for 2000 years. He himself is a Roman Catholic. Why has he not lashed out against his own faith?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” The level of hypocrisy is nothing short of staggering.
Secondly, Mr Mulcair is a lawyer. He should know that holding the view that homosexuality is sin is NOT “against Canadian law”. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms holds the freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of belief and freedom of expression as the first of the fundamental Canadian human rights.
The third point, and just as disturbing, is calling Evangelical values un-Canadian. Mr. Mulcair seems to have forgotten the roots of his own party. Tommy Douglas, the very first leader of the NPD, was an Evangelical (Baptist) minister and the founder of our beloved medicare system. It really doesn’t get more Canadian than that. In 2004 the CBC named Tommy Douglas the Greatest Canadian of all time. The statements that we have been hearing in the last week would never be said of Jews or Muslims or Catholics in today’s day and age, even though their position is essentially identical to that of Evangelical churches in Canada. I would think a MP that would say the same things of, let’s say Muslims, would be forced to resign from politics. If you have 15 minutes to spare you need to hear Ezra Levant’s commentary on this story. It is brilliantly done. By the way Ezra is Jewish.
I have said it many times before, it is now open season on Evangelical christians? We are the only religious group that you can openly criticize without any fear of reprisal. The political and cultural winds are blowing against us. We are being increasingly criticized, marginalized and manipulated into abandoning our biblical world view. Those of us that are not willing to yield are coming under increased scrutiny. If there are now already politicians that think that we are breaking Canadian law, then it stands to reason that the day may come where we will end up in jail for espousing our beliefs. If the winds do not change soon, this could be the end of religious freedom in Canada. For the record, I would rather go to jail than compromise my commitment to the Word of God. Even that would not shut me up. I would just swap my TV ministry for a prison ministry. I do not relish the thought, but that is exactly what the Apostle Paul faced during much of his ministry. He was continually thrown in jail for preaching the gospel.
I think the only thing that will change that trajectory is a wholesale spiritual revival in Canada. God could bring that to pass with the snap off His fingers. In the meantime however, religious freedom is at the crossroads.
If you are what you eat, then many of you are butylated hydroxytoulene. BHT is added to many packaged foods to prevent them from going rancid in your kitchen cupboard. It is the same chemical they put in your fuel to prevent it from going bad in your gas tank. Go check the label on that box of crackers and you will see this ingredient along with many other unknown sounding chemicals. It is not a food, should not be going into your mouth, is a known carcinogen, and has been linked to hyperactivity in children.
Our food supply has been seriously compromised and is clearly linked to the epidemic levels of cancers, heart disease and diabetes in our culture. When missionary doctor Albert Schweitzer arrived in Africa in 1913 he took note that there was almost no instances of cancer amongst the Congolese. He eventually concluded that the most obvious factor was the significant difference in diet between Europeans and Africans. Specifically that the Africans were eating fresh food and wild game and none of the refined, processed, canned or preserved foods of the Europeans. A fascinating modern day study has shown that the instances of breast cancer among Chinese women is very low. However, once they immigrate to North America it only takes one generation for their breast cancer rate to jump to Western world levels. This fact pretty much eliminates the genetic predisposition argument as the primary cause.
Given what is pretty much general knowledge as to what constitutes a healthy diet today, how is it that the 970 calorie Baconator is still at the top of Wendy’s menu? In fairness to Wendy’s, the Baconator at 970 calories is not the world’s most unhealthy burger. Check out this video about the Heart Attack Grill.
The restaurant’s 575 pound spokesman Blair River died last year at the age of 29.
I will admit that I am on a crusade to encourage people to get healthier. I actually do know what I am talking about when it comes to the food supply. Many of you will not know that my background is in food production. I am an Agriculture grad from the University of Manitoba and worked in the farming and grain industry before I went into the ministry. I was a bit of a radical back then and was always experimenting. I was one of the first persons to grow lentils in Manitoba when it was just taking off as a commercial crop in our province.. I imported the seed from Idaho. Today it is an important Manitoba crop. Over the years I have watched as our food supply has been poisoned by pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, genetically modified organisms, preservatives, additives etc. I also know that at times I sound like one of those annoying ex-smokers that is always telling people that if they don’t quit they are going to die of lung cancer. But I, like the ex-smokers, have pure motives. It is not about being judgmental, it is because we want our friends to stick around awhile to continue to be our friends. I could rag on and on about what not to eat and why, and tell you about all kinds of scary things in the food supply, but instead today I want to point you in a more positive direction.
When God created man one of the first things he did was tell him what to eat. In the Garden of Eden it was fresh fruits and vegetables. Mankind did not eat meat for at least 1700 years until after the flood. (See Genesis 9) When God did permit the eating of meat it was already known which animals were fit for food and which were not. The unclean animals were the scavengers (snails, eels, shrimp, vultures, crows, pigs etc.). The clean animals were those that chewed their cud like cows, sheep, goats, and fish with scales, and non-scavenging birds like chicken and the like. (Lev. 11) For the record this list was known for at least a 1000 years before Moses law as it is mentioned in the story of Noah. 100′s of scriptures in the Old Testament are devoted to the dietary laws. Pages and pages on what God’s people should eat, how they should prepare the food and what foods are in fact outright forbidden. God’s purpose in it all was to keep His people in good health. He created man, so I am reasonably convinced that He would be the best authority on what they should eat. My question is this; So, the New Testament arrives and all of a sudden these foods have become healthy? I highly doubt it. How Jesus dying on the cross makes bacon healthy is beyond me. But I digress.
I feel one of the biggest problems is there are too many voices telling us what we should or should not eat that it has become confusing, and so we just eat what we like and take our chances. There is a simple solution to all this. Many are probably familiar with the Mediterranean Diet. It is 1000′s of years old and has come out of the very region that the bible emerged. It is as close as you will find to the biblical diet. One of the most helpful tools is the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid.
The bulk of our diet should be made up of ‘whole’ grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts. Diary should take the form of cheese or yogurt as animal milk is not easily digested by humans and was never drank in the bible. Fish and poultry are the best forms of meat, with fish having the edge for low fat and high omega 3 fatty acid. Sweets were only eaten as a special treat, not every day and certainly not after every meal. An example in scripture was during the major Jewish feasts. “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Neh 8:10) The sugar in our diets is literally killing us. Don’t forget that sugar is added to almost every packaged food on the store shelf. Red meat was never consumed everyday or at every meal as it is today in our culture. Even among those who were wealthy and could afford it, red meat was reserved for special occasions. (See the story of the prodigal son - Luke 15) They only time we see Jesus eating red meat was during the Passover. Red meat is too hard to digest and contains more animal fat than our bodies can deal with. The objection is always; “Well where will I get protein?” How about the same place as cows get it. Cows don’t eat meat. All the protein they make has come from the vegetation they consume. Grains, nuts and vegetables are loaded with protein. Lentils have more protein than beef. Quinoa the ancient wonder grain has 16% protein more than twice that of rice. But even whole wheat has 14% protein.
If I could leave you with one more challenge. You have got to get the ‘whites’ out of your diet, they are killing you – white flour, white pasta, white rice, white bread (simple carbohydrates that turn into sugar in your bloodstream) and of course white sugar. And finally here’s my best dietary advice. Print this pyramid off and post it on your fridge. Start putting it into practice every day and you will feel better, stay healthier, lose weight and never have to go on diet again. So, meet me at Club Med.
UPDATE: FEB 25, 2013
Today the New England Journal of Medicine published a 5 year study confirming the health benefits of adopting the Mediterranean diet. The following article appeared in the Calgary Herald:
Pour on the olive oil, preferably over fish and vegetables: One of the longest and most scientific tests of a Mediterranean diet suggests this style of eating can cut the chance of suffering heart-related problems, especially strokes, in older people at high risk of them.
The study lasted five years and involved about 7,500 people in Spain. Those who ate Mediterranean-style with lots of olive oil or nuts had a 30 per cent lower risk of major cardiovascular problems compared to others who were told to follow a low-fat diet. Mediterranean meant lots of fruit, fish, chicken, beans, tomato sauce, salads, and wine and little baked goods and pastries.
Mediterranean diets have long been touted as heart-healthy, but that’s based on observational studies that can’t prove the point. The new research is much stronger because people were assigned diets to follow for a long time and carefully monitored. Doctors even did lab tests to verify that the Mediterranean diet folks were consuming more olive oil or nuts as recommended.
Most of these people were taking medicines for high cholesterol and blood pressure, and researchers did not alter those proven treatments, said the study’s leader, Dr. Ramon Estruch of Hospital Clinic in Barcelona.
But as a first step to prevent heart problems, “we think diet is better than a drug” because it has few if any side effects, Estruch said. “Diet works.”
Results were published online Monday by the New England Journal of Medicine and were to be discussed at a nutrition conference in Loma Linda, Calif.
People in the study were not given rigid menus or calorie goals because weight loss was not the aim. That could be why they found the “diets” easy to stick with — only about 7 per cent dropped out within two years. There were twice as many dropouts in the low-fat group than among those eating Mediterranean-style.
Researchers also provided the nuts and olive oil, so it didn’t cost participants anything to use these relatively pricey ingredients. The type of oil may have mattered — they used extra-virgin olive oil, which is richer than regular or light olive oil in the chemicals and nutrients that earlier studies have suggested are beneficial.
The study involved people ages 55 to 80, just over half of them women. All were free of heart disease at the start but were at high risk for it because of health problems — half had diabetes and most were overweight and had high cholesterol and blood pressure.
They were assigned to one of three groups: Two followed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with either extra-virgin olive oil (4 tablespoons a day) or with walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds (a fistful a day). The third group was urged to eat a low-fat diet heavy on bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, fruits, vegetables and fish and light on baked goods, nuts, oils and red meat.
Independent monitors stopped the study after nearly five years when they saw fewer problems in the two groups on Mediterranean diets.
Doctors tracked a composite of heart attacks, strokes or heart-related deaths. There were 96 of these in the Mediterranean-olive oil group, 83 in the Mediterranean-nut group and 109 in the low-fat group.
Looked at individually, stroke was the only problem where type of diet made a big difference. Diet had no effect on death rates overall.
The Spanish government’s health research agency initiated and paid for the study, and foods were supplied by olive oil and nut producers in Spain and the California Walnut Commission. Many of the authors have extensive financial ties to food, wine and other industry groups but said the sponsors had no role in designing the study or analyzing and reporting its results.
Rachel Johnson, a University of Vermont professor who heads the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee, said the study is very strong because of the lab tests to verify oil and nut consumption and because researchers tracked actual heart attacks, strokes and deaths — not just changes in risk factors such as high cholesterol.
“At the end of the day, what we care about is whether or not disease develops,” she said. “It’s an important study.”
Rena Wing, a weight-loss expert at Brown University, noted that researchers provided the oil and nuts, and said “it’s not clear if people could get the same results from self-designed Mediterranean diets” — or if Americans would stick to them more than Europeans used to such foods.
A third independent expert also praised the study as evidence diet can lower heart risks.
“The risk reduction is close to that achieved with statins” — widely used cholesterol drugs, said Dr. Robert Eckel, a diet and heart disease expert at the University of Colorado.
“But this study was not carried out or intended to compare diet to statins or blood pressure medicines,” he warned. “I don’t think people should think now they can quit taking their medicines.”
By Marilynn Marchione, The Associated Press February 25, 2013 7:50 AM
Some will likely claim that I am outside of my area of expertise in this blog today, but that has never stopped me before. Albert Einstein made a bold but largely ignored prediction. “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Einstein understood modern man’s obsession with increasingly violent weapons would eventually destroy… well, modern man. The shocking events last month in Newtown CT where 27, mostly little children, were brutally murdered by a disturbed youth has put the gun debate back on the front burner. CNN’s Piers Morgan has made the fight personal after he called Larry Pratt, the Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, “an unbelievably stupid man”. Livid, gun advocates have been circulating a petition to have Morgan deported for his un-American views. Over 100,000 Americans have signed the petition, more than enough for Congress to have to hear the matter. Morgan has responded by saying he will save them the trouble… “If you don’t change your gun laws to at least try to stop this relentless tidal wave of murderous carnage, then you don’t have to worry about deporting me… (I will) seriously consider deporting myself. Hmmm… it sounds like we win either way.
I do think Morgan is doing us a favour in provoking the debate. The pro-gun lobby likes to hide behind the mantra “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. I could not agree more. That is why America needs to rethink its gun laws and quit putting guns in the hands of people who kill people. It is impossible to create laws that restrict the existence of stupid people. Therefore the only alternative is to create laws that restrict stupid people from getting guns. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not one of these radical anti-gun folks. I own three guns; a bolt action .22 and a couple of shotguns. They were registered until recently when the Tories scrapped the long gun registry. For the record, I do not use them to kill people, but rather other lesser pests. The biggest problem with the Canadian gun registry, other the billion dollar price tag, was the fact that the criminals forgot to register their weapons. I guess that’s why they call them criminals.
I do think the debate on gun restrictions is a discussion we need to be having. To just say this is a mental health issue and unrelated to the proliferation of guns is disingenuous. A pastor friend of mine in Indiana shared with me of a terrible tragedy in his church. He says that on any given Sunday there might be a dozen or more people ‘packing heat’ in his pews. (Maybe not the safest environment for a preacher like me who likes to stir it up a bit) One weekend one of his members was putting on his three year old daughter’s shoes when his ‘legally obtained and constitutionally protected’ handgun fell out of his pocket and discharged when it hit the floor. The bullet struck his daughter point blank and killed her instantly. It was one of the toughest funerals he ever had to perform. And I would add… the most unnecessary one. What happens when you arm a society to the teeth? I think we know.
Columbine, Virginia Tech, École Polytechnique, Newtown… the violence needs to stop. Can we really just shrug our shoulders and plead innocence? Here are my thoughts on the matter.
Firstly, the USA is saddled with the unhelpful Second Constitutional Amendment which guarantees citizens the right to bear arms. It may have made sense when it was enacted in 1791 but today the gun lobby believes that it somehow gives them the right to own a ground to air heat seeking missile if they so desire.
Secondly, North America has become drunk on a culture that celebrates gratuitous violence on TV, in movies, video games and almost everywhere you look. Research has shown that people are actually instinctively resistant to killing another human. The evidence shows that the vast majority of combatants throughout history, at the moment of truth when they could and should kill the enemy, have been unwilling to do so, and would often shoot over the enemies head. Sometimes they would actually opt for being killed rather than killing. Today however, we have witnessed so many 1,000′s of virtual killings that we scarcely flinch when we view real wars live via satellite on television. We have all seen images to which only soldiers in combat were once exposed. If virtual violence does not desensitize us, then why would the Military use it as a training tool to desensitize solders to killing?
The third factor is the lack of restrictions on some very deadly weapons. Canada is a lot less violent than the US, at least part by the fact that very few or any of us are ever ‘packing heat’. There are a couple of very important differences between Canada and the US when it comes to gun laws. Any American with a permit can carry a handgun. In Canada a handgun can only be legally transported to and from the firing range. The rest of time it is required to be unloaded, the trigger disabled and locked away in a proper gun case. Another significant difference is the availability of assault rifles. (A partial ban was in place in the US for many of these weapons from 1994-2004, but has since expired) The National Rifle Association (NRA) will point out how many of these so called ‘assault weapons’ are exactly the same as hunting rifles, they just look more menacing. In some cases that is true but in many it is not. Although Adam Lanza had two handguns in his possession, he used an AR 15 to kill most of his victims in Newtown. This weapon is the scary looking semi-automatic version of the M 16 that the US military uses. They are identical in appearance except that with the AR 15 one must pull the trigger for every shot. The M 16 can do machine gun bursts by merely holding down the trigger. It is estimated that 3.5 million AR 15’s are in American hands. A half million were sold in 2009 alone.
In Canada the AR 15 would be a restricted weapon and subject to strict rules of ownership similar to that of a handgun. Consequently few of them exist in Canada. Long guns still serve a purpose. I am not going to tell a hunter or rancher that he is not entitled to own a weapon. These are law abiding folks using them in a responsible manner. Nor am I confident that the Second Amendment will ever be (or should ever be) revoked, but there is more than one way to skin a cat. One place where the US could take a page out of our books is to restrict the magazine size of guns, not the guns themselves. Most high powered rifles in Canada only have 5 shot magazines. The AR 15 holds 30. There is only one hunted species that would ever require a 30 shot magazine… human beings. If Adam Lanza was only able to get get off 5 shots, he would have been wrestled to the ground as he attempted to reload. I realize that innocent children would still have been lost, but far, far fewer.
Here is the most tragic part of the story. After the Newtown shooting… sales of the A 15 skyrocketed as Americans flocked to the gun stores looking for something with which to protect themselves. Maybe Piers Morgan was right, we really are unbelievably stupid! Lord help us.