Faithful readers will remember the horrendous problems that our family experienced when somebody stole our car about a year ago. Well this is like one of these Hollywood movies—just when you think the hero has escaped unscathed, he’s being attacked by the same villain again but much more violently!

Our Honda’s electrical wiring failed miserably recently and left us riding around in the dark—no brake lights, no back lights, no dashboard lights and no gear box lights.

I refer to it as the Morgentaler Curse—a curse that is levelled against all of us pro-lifers—but especially against people who write bad things about Henry in the Interim.

I was driving along at night when all the lights inside the car went out. I got out and found that the back and brake lights weren’t on either. I thought: “no sweat,” and began to sing: “Somewhere a fuse has blown.” I drove into my favourite garage the next morning and $46.00 later a mechanic had found the problem—a blown fuse.

I hadn’t driven the car five minutes when the same problem occurred.

Pfft—out went the lights! The good news was that the front headlights still worked, the turn signals worked and the flasher signals worked. I put the flasher signals on and the car looked like a Christmas tree driving along. Helpful people in other cars signalled that our flashers were on and our back lights and brake lights weren’t. We would nod a smile politely and ignore them.

I decided that I would take our Honda home to the dealer. If anybody could fix it in a hurry—it would be them. They were willing to try– at $72.00 an hour. I decided that I would wait and five hours later I was still there! I had read every scrap of paper in the lobby and I was even hungrily eyeing a Chinese newspaper on the end table. I kept multiplying $72.00 by five.

Finally I got up and complained to a very nice service representative: “Where is my car? Has somebody stolen it? Please tell me? They build on assembly lines faster than this?”

I told him that there were four adults in our house going in four different directions and we desperately needed the car. The service rep said that they had failed to solve the problem and suggested taking it home and getting it into the garage very early in the morning and he promised to start work on it immediately.

Day after day I would crawl out of bed and get the car to the garage by seven a.m., walk a mile home only to find out at the end of each day that a whole army of white-coated men had failed to solve the electrical problem.

Then they came up with a villain! The car had been in a bad accident and the front end showed serious damages that had been fixed. I told them that the car had been stolen a year ago using a phony key and had cleared a four-foot ditch and ended up imbedded in the front lawn of somebody’s house a few miles away. But five month’s had elapsed since then and we hadn’t had any electrical problems.

I suggested they get an electrical expert from Honda head office and they did. He worked on it extensively and he failed to solve the problem! The service rep said that there are four or five harnesses(I thought they were for horses) that contain a multitude of very fine wires that run from the front to the back attached to the frame and one of these wires inside must have been shorting out. To replace each one would run about        hundred dollars each plus labour! I told him: “I came in here for a lousy fuse and now you want a mortgage on my house!”

The service rep had the painful look of an aircraft designer that has just seen his newly designed plane crash into the ground. He said: “Why don’t you get your insurance company to pay for it because we believe it was definitely caused by the accident.”

I called the insurance company and told them about the delayed car problems we were having and they were sympathetic and were willing to send an adjuster to look at it. At the request of the garage—I even brought in the detailed bill for repairs to the Honda service manager for possible leads as to solving the electrical problem. I was in and out of the place so often that I suggested to the service rep that if we kept this up—we might be exchanging Christmas cards.

Time and time again they would take the car out (using our gas) for a run and it worked perfectly and then mysteriously (The Morgentaler Curse) it would conk out. Finally after they thought they had fixed the problem and we were allowed to test run the car over a period of days—one of the rear lights went out. I took it back to the service rep and he looked at me very sadly and said to leave it with them just once more.

I came in the next day and the service rep said: “I’m sorry Mr. Kennedy, we’ve got bad news for you. We shot your Honda and buried it out in the back lot.”

I’m only kidding. They actually put extra big fuses in the car and gave me a whole pocket full of them to carry with me at all times. If you see me parked along the–you’ll know what I’m doing.

Ensuring men don’t make empty promises

Group dedicated to the spiritual, moral and ethical development of men hopes to hold future rallies in Canada.

By Tony Gosgnach

The Promise Keepers phenomenon is spreading to Canada.

Representatives of the Christian men’s organization held a press conference in Burlington, Ontario recently to announce the start of a Canadian affiliate, making the first time the movement has gone beyond American borders.  The groups leader’s leaders said they are looking forward to the staging of a large-scale stadium conference in this country.

“We will have a conference in Canada, “ said Promise Keepers Canada president Bill Rutherford.  “I can’t say when, but we’re  going to build onto it in increments.  We’ll begin with intermediate-size events and build to larger events in larger metropolitan areas.”

The organization which now has it’s offices in Ontario and B.C., drew about 750,000 men to 13 stadium conferences in the U. S. this year and plans another 20 to 30 conferences next year.  The group was started in 1991 by Bill McCartney, then the head football coach at the University of Colorado, who had a vision of thousands of men coming together in one place for the purpose of Christian discipleship.

“I noticed when men and boys were together, there was a greater stirring of God’s Spirit,” says McCartney.  “Something would just draw the favour of God when men and boys grew together in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.”

The movement’s first meeting at the University of Colorado basketball arena was attended by 4,200 men.  Today, Promise Keepers has 300 full-time staff, a $64-million annual budget and more than 10,000 representatives at the local church level.

“Almighty God is calling men to humble themselves, to pray and seek the face of God,” adds McCartney.  “He’s moving on men in mighty and significant ways.  I believe this is going to go all over the world.”

The organization’s mission statement notes Promise Keepers is dedicated to uniting men through  vital relationships with other men; spiritual, moral and ethical purity and a commitment to influencing the world.

David Mainse, president of Crossroads Christian communications, is calling Promise Keepers one of the most significant movements in Canadian religious history.  “Promise Keepers is all about bringing men closer to God and helping them to build their families up…it cannot but help build our society and nation and make it strong.”

But as Promise Keepers has grown, so has the criticism to which it has been subjected.  The fact that men are urged to exercise leadership in the home has riled some feminists, who see the movement as a backlash against gains women have made in recent years.  For their part, Promise Keepers heads says leadership is about servanthood and that in the home, a man exercises leadership by outserving his wife.

“We lead by servicing,” says Dr. Tom Iwama, chairman of the board for Promise Keepers Canada.  It’s about being clued into the home and turning your heart to your wife and your children.”

Randy Phillips, president of Promise Keepers U.S.A., stresses the group’s non-political orientation.  “We have no political agenda.  We are not going to be seduced into diluting the message we have for partisan political agendas.  The message Promise Keepers has, transcends the platform of any legislation or candidate.”

“This isn’t an American or fundamentalist thing.” Adds Rutherford.  “This is a God thing.  God is moving across all lines—ethnic and denominational—to unite men.”

But McCartney sparked some suspicion three years ago as a member of a group which endorsed a Colorado state amendment barring the passing of any law protecting homosexuals from discrimination.  He now says that in the future, he will be sensitive to his non political position with Promise Keepers.

The organization’s plans include the staging of Clergy’96, a February meeting in Georgia of 80,000 men involved in pastoral ministry, and a gathering of about a million men in Washington, D.C. in l997 for worship, prayer and other spiritual, non political purposes.

“I believe God has raised Promise Keepers as a vehicle to facilitate the turning of men’s hearts back to God, family and church,” says Iwama.

“We’re just watching what takes place as this move to God ignites beyond he borders man has set up, “adds Phillips.

Dehumanizing the Vulnerable:  When Word  Games Take Lives

William Brennan, 1995,

Loyola University Press, 3441 North

Ashland Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60657

Reviewed by David Beresford

William Brennan’s book Dehumanizing the Vulnerable compares the language used against seven of the most victimized groups in the modern age.  These are unborn, Native Americans, African Americans, European Jews, women, enemies of socialism in Soviet Russia, and those who rely on others physically and mentally.

The similarity in oppressive language used against each of these is quite remarkable, and quite frightening.  The scale of injustice and violent persecution suffered by each of these is difficult to even comprehend, Brennan indulges in no rhetoric, he simply documents in unequivocal language how the aforementioned groups have been branded as deficient, non-human, parasite, animal, object, waste, and most damaging of all, non-person.

What comes to mind as Brennan quotes the perpetrators of such lies is the veneer of respectability each could present to the public, enabling them to claim, with the Nazis, “We’re not monsters.”

The book begins by discussing how language is used, both to explain truth and to conceal.  In the service of the latter, new terminology for the more venerable practice of lying has been developed called “semantic gymnastics,” a phrase coined by an editorial in California Medicine in 1970 which enabled abortionists to “…deny fundamental scientific facts, which include the facts that human life exists before birth and that abortion kills human lives in the womb.”

Organized public violence is not a random occurrence, it is based on ideology; and in spite of differences in time and culture, one constant can be identified:  All of these ideologies, whatever their idealistic and benevolent guise, share one essential ingredient—they are based on an elitist definition of the human race.  And it is this deplorable notion that underlies the explosion of derogatory language directed against vulnerable populations today and in times past.  (p. 14)

A sense of irony pervades this book.  Modern radical feminists, who ostensibly are fighting to end the very real persecution of women that has occurred and still is occurring in our society, indulge in the same rhetoric suffered by women to victimize unborn children.  Women have been described and treated as animals, property, parasites and non-persons:

No contemporary institution has had a more disastrous influence on male perceptions on women, the treatment of women, and women’s perceptions of themselves than the pornographic Goliath, an empire that thrives on unremitting portrayals of women and young girls as dehumanized “objects,” “property,” “things,” and impersonal “matter” upon which males act out their aggression and lust.  (p. 198)

In her analysis of images of debased sexuality (1987) Playboy, Hustler, and Penthouse, Dr. Judith A. Reisman includes copies of cartoons depicting female bestiality published in Playboy during the 1970s and 1980s.  (p. 93)

We see these same images employed by Ann Druyan and her husband Carl Sagan who described the unborn as a worm, a reptile, and “’pig-like’ at the end of the seventh week,” (p.90) as well as a parasite that “destroys tissue in its path (and) sucks blood from capillaries.”  (p. 193)  The reduction of women to being simply property is one of the major reasons that violent husbands give to justify abusing their wives.

Similarly, this very view is echoed by the pro-abortion Rachel Conrad Wahlberg, who believes about the fetus, “It is hers.  It is her possession.” (p. 134)  Radical feminists have also used the parasitic imagery against other women, particularly married women who choose to raise their own children at home.  Simone de Beauvoir called such “leeches” who “live as parasites.”  (p. 104)

In the American West, the U.S. Cavalry justified the murder of Native children with the parasitic label.  “Nito make lice” was the phrase of choice with certain officers in order to spur their men on in their duty.”  (p. 194)

The branding of people as legal non-persons removes the protection of the law from the victimized so that “…no longer is one’s humanity a sufficient basis for meriting the right to life.”(p. 147)  In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that “…the unborn have never been recognized as persons in the whole sense.” (p. 148)

This has enabled the unborn to be dismembered, starved, experimented on, harvested for  body parts, and in general suffer what can only be described as wholesale warfare.  The category of non-person is now being used to label newborn children and handicapped children.

Ethics professor Earl Shelp states that “all newborn human infants fail the test for personhood.”  (p. 154)  In 1936, the Reichsgericht, the highest court in Germany, stripped Jews  of their rank as persons, thus enabling them to be starved, dismembered, experimented on,  harvested body parts, and suffer wholesale slaughter.  In the Soviet Union under Stalin, in excess of twenty million were starved, slaughtered, and used as raw material (their bones mixed in concrete as an aggregate), having been stripped of their personhood.

In 1857, Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney of the U.S. Supreme Court declared in Dred Scott v. Sanford, that Negroes “…are not included, under the word ‘citizen’ in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States.”  (p. 160)  In 1881, the American Law Review published an article by George Canfield stating that:

…an Indian is not a person within the meaning of the Constitution.  (therefore) Congress

may prevent an Indian from leaving his reservation, and while he is on a reservation it may deprive him of his liberty, his property, his life… (p. 162)

The last part of Brennan’s book is entitled Towards a Vocabulary of Life-Affirming Images, wherein he demonstrates the power of language to defend life, and to resist the victimizing propaganda that society has indulged in.  Language has played an important part in enabling people to recognize the humanity of the persecuted.

Finally, Brennan places the Pro-Life movement in its correct historical context, part of “a longstanding tradition of human rights advocacy on behalf of society’s most vulnerable individuals.” (p. 228)