Canada

In a move it calls “gender diversity,” the Canadian Armed Forces has decreed that it will no longer refer to its employees as he or she but will use the pronouns they and them. No superior will be allowed to use pronouns that designate or refer to a person’s biological sex. Remember when pronouns were about being grammatically correct, not politically correct?

United States

The last remaining pro-life Democrat Congressman, Dan Lepinski from Illinois, has been ousted in the Democratic primary leading up to the elections in November by a progressive challenger who attacked him for failing to support abortion rights. The seat had been held first by his pro-life Democrat father Bill, and then by him, since 1983. The Democratic Party, nationally, has been travelling down the abortion trail for many years, gathering support from the National Abortion Rights Action League, Planned Parenthood, and abortion rights’ women’s groups, all of whom were more than willing to fork out financial support in exchange for abortion support. At the state level, however, pro-life Democrats are still able to be elected – at least for now.

Zoom is a video-conferencing service that has ‘zoomed’ to prominence recently, where physical distancing users – friends and family, teachers and co-workers – are able to keep in touch during the present crisis. There are even instances where mourners who are unable to attend a funeral in person due to distancing rules, are using Zoom. In December, according to Zoom’s CEO Eric Yuan, there were about 10 million users; by March, the number had grown to over 200 million users. Yuan wrote that the platform was built for large businesses and institutions with their own IT departments: “we did not design the product with the foresight that, in a number of weeks, every person in the world would suddenly be working, studying, and socializing from home. … our product (is being used) in a myriad of unexpected ways, presenting us with challenges we did not anticipate when the platform was conceived.” These challenges have included hackers crashing and harassing video chats in what is being called “zoombombing.” Graphic, obscene, and pornographic pictures as well as racist comments might appear on the screen while the zoom chat is taking place. Zoom has admitted that it has allowed Facebook to collect unnecessary data from people on Zoom who have no connection to Facebook. It has also admitted that its claim of end-to-end encryption is untrue, meaning it is not secure. A security researcher who previously worked at the U.S. National Security Agency said that, “strong encryption, strong privacy controls, strong security, just seem to be completely missing.” Yuan has announced a series of steps his company is taking to strengthen its platform. Meanwhile, the FBI has issued a strong warning about using Zoom, and the ranking member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee has sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Zoom’s deceptive practices. We are just saying: be careful what you say on this platform.

International

On April 1, China was appointed to the influential U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC), a subsidiary of the United Nations General Assembly. The council’s mandate is “to promote and protect human rights around the world.” This appointment might be surprising given China’s flagrant human rights abuses in its own country, but for the fact that there has not been unanimity from member states in recent years in condemning China’s abuses. The Trump administration removed the United States from the UNHRC in June 2018, stating that its legislative efforts to hold China accountable on human rights was not working. A senior fellow of the Brooking Institution said, at the time, that “China and its allies are filling the vacuum and, over time, will neuter, if not fundamentally redefine the core precepts of universal human rights.”

In 2010, Viktor Orban’s FideszParty, running on a pro-family platform, won the federal election in Hungary, after eight years of socialism that nearly destroyed the country. In contrast to countries like Britain that have seen a dramatic fall in the marriage rate, Hungary’s marriage rate has increased nearly 100 per cent since 2010, and the birth rate has increased by 9.4 percent per year since 2010. Between 2010 and 2017, the number of abortions dropped by more than 33 percent from 40,449 to 28,500. Government officials say such dramatic drops are possible through pro-adoption and pro-family policies, including tax credits and payments, that encourage adoption and family formation. The government also instituted a three-day waiting period between requesting an abortion and obtaining one. The Orban government began its pro-family approach as soon as it assumed office. In 2018 it reported held a country-wide consultation on family policy with an eye to increasing marriage and decreasing abortion and divorce. Hungary Minster of State for Family, Youth, and International Affairs, Katlin Novak, regularly tweets about the success of the country’s pro-life and pro-family policies. By encouraging couples to have children, Hungary is overcoming its demographic decline without resorting to mass immigration. Breitbart.com has reported that Hungarian officials say, “the proper response to Europe’s demographic decline has become one of the biggest sources of disagreement between European and Hungarian politics.” The Orban government has also rolled out a plan that includes new trees being planted for every baby born in Hungary, so that by 2030 the proportion of the country’s forest area will be increased to 27 per cent.

When we read about Amanda Liberty, 36, from Leeds, England, we figured this story was a joke. Unfortunately, while it reads like a clever story from the parody website Babylon Bee, it is real. The English woman claims to be in a long-term relationship with a 92-year-old chandelier, which she named Lumiere. Jane Moore, a columnist with The Sun, a British tabloid, mocked the relationship and Liberty filed a complaint with the Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO). She said that Moore’s column violated the regulator’s code of conduct which states that prejudicial or derogatory language when referencing sexual orientation should be avoided. The Sunargued that the code’s definition of orientation only applies to human beings. For once, common sense prevailed, and IPSO ruled the attraction “did not fall within the definition of sexual orientation.” We feel that Amanda Liberty, nee, Whittaker, is a publicity seeker. She claimed to have previously been in a relationship with the Statue of Liberty, hence the name change. The problem, of course, is what seems like a joke or publicity stunt today ends up being tomorrow’s human rights.