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Over the past few years, English courts have convicted Muslim gangs luring vulnerable girls into sex slavery with drink and drugs.
Previous cases concerned Rochdale, Derby and Telford. All involved Muslim men and white girls. The latest case to be tried involved a group of men from Oxford.
The case was heard at the Old Bailey. The Guardian reported (May 14, 2013, emphases mine below):
Seven men were found guilty of a total of 43 charges relating to six victims. The gang included two sets of brothers, Akhtar Dogar, 32, and Anjum Dogar, 31, and Bassam Karrar, 33, and Mohammed Karrar, 38. The other men were Kamar Jamil, 27, Zeeshan Ahmed, 27 and Assad Hussain, 32. All lived in Oxford.
Mohammed Hussain, 25, who was cleared of three counts of sexual activity with a child, had insisted he thought the girl was over 16. A ninth defendant, who cannot be named, was cleared of a similar charge.
Ahmed had to be removed from the dock by security staff after he punched one of the acquitted men …
All of the girls — 50 in total — were in ‘care’ under the local authority. They came from one private care home. Staff and managers in those homes are supposed to protect their charges. Yet, the ‘grooming’ of girls by this group of men had been going on since 2004 — nearly ten years. It was only investigated in 2010, thanks to a proactive detective, Simon Morton. Testimony revealed that social services were aware of the goings-on as were Thames Valley Police.
Girl A, 14 at the time, attempted to escape the evil. She took a taxi back to her care home but had no money for the fare. The manager of the home refused to pay the driver, who drove the girl back into Oxford and, inevitably, to the gang.
If I had been the driver, I would have swallowed the fare and left her at the home. The manager, incidentally, has since been fired.
One can only imagine the trauma these girls have been through physically and psychologically. There is also a sociological element here, an inconvenient truth. How will these young women handle the rest of their lives coming into contact with Muslim-dominated occupations — minicab drivers, convenience store staff and post office employees?
The Guardian has been told by one victim, known as Girl C, in an interview after she gave her evidence, that the men exclusively wanted white girls to abuse.
Girl D described how she was branded by her abuser, Mohammed Karrar, and sold to other men for £600 an hour. Over five years she was repeatedly raped by groups of men in what she described as “torture sex”.
Kudos to the detective who took the time and the care to break this ring of abuse. I would be interested to know how much opposition he met with. No doubt there would have been political correctness on the one hand and aspersions cast on the girls.
The Guardian describes how the case unfolded. It would make an excellent teleplay:
Simon Morton, then detective chief inspector, put the men under surveillance, traced their phones, pulled every social services record of missing girls in Oxford who he thought were victims and built the case against the gang meticulously.
He said: “All the girls are really pleased and proud that they have given evidence. What this was was an organised criminal gang who effectively owned these girls. They isolated them and turned them against everyone: adults, carers, loved ones, social services, the police. The girls were completely brainwashed.
“These men managed to hide their activities for a considerable time and it takes a different mindset to understand what was going on.
“This was happening in Oxford – the city of dreaming spires. If it was happening there, the ramifications for all cities are huge.”
I’m awaiting future cases in Birmingham and London. Given our ‘turn a blind eye’ and ‘you cannot say anything’ society, it will be some time before these get investigated. It’s much easier to ignore such crime in the name of promoting diversity.
Unfortunately, life is not like a 1970s Coca-Cola commercial. Not everyone holds hands and wants to ‘teach the world to sing in perfect harmony’.
My prayers go out to these girls — future wives and mothers.
As for the gang, they have not yet been sentenced but Judge Peter Rook QC [Queen's Counsel] said that long custodial sentences were ‘inevitable’. Let’s hope so.
Another Easter passes and, with it, no shortage of Episcopal Church closures in the United States.
Americans of a certain age remember the friendly signs with the Episcopalian shield which read:
The Episcopal Church welcomes you
Those, sadly, will go the way of the Burma Shave signs and the dodo.
Where we travel in the US, the Episcopal signs no longer exist. I wonder why … when all one has to read is Virtue Online (David Virtue, that is) for the latest closures:
Virginia City, Nevada – February 2013 – Please pray for the faithful as they struggle to keep St Paul’s the Prospector open:
Right now, the small parish, which was founded in 1861, is struggling to preserve its church, built in 1876 after the original structure was destroyed in the famous Virginia City fire of 1875. Attendance at Sunday services might number only a dozen or so people with a collection of $60 or so, said parishioner Helen Sundt.
Foremost on the list of things to do is to upgrade the church’s massively outdated electrical system. The cost of fixing it will run about $400, but only because a friend of the church is donating his labor, said the Rev. Ken Curtis, pastor.
Avon, Connecticut – December 2012 – Christ Episcopal Church closed:
The Rev. Halsey (“Chip”) Stevens III retired as priest-in-charge last December. Rev. Peter Stebinger has been serving as chaplain for Christ Church since then.
Canaan, Connecticut – February 2013 – This Christ Church hangs by a thread:
If, indeed, the church closes, the effect will ripple through the community. Its faithful congregants will be most directly affected, deprived of the spiritual comfort of a beautiful sanctuary where some of them were baptized and married. A classic stone church, based on the design of Richard Upjohn, the American architect who pioneered the restoration of Gothic architecture for American churches, its construction materials were dug out of Canaan’s rocky hills and it has been a defining presence in the center of Canaan for 168 years. Without its congregation it will become a hollow presence, another rent in the fabric of the town.
Erie, Pennsylvania – February 2013 – The Church of the Holy Spirit closed:
‘Sunday, February 10 is our last day of worship at our church at 501 West 31st Street. From this point on, we will be worshiping with the congregation of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church at 4701 Old French Road,’ said a terse statement at the church’s website.
Totowa, New Jersey – January 2013: Another Christ Church closed its doors after 91 years:
There are not enough parishioners and is not enough money to keep the church going, according to Reverend Mark Waldon, who leads the church.
There are 15 to 20 worshipers on any particular Sunday, he said. While the priest, who has been a member of the church clergy since 1969, can remember a time when there were about 75 church-goers on the typical Sunday.
Gerhardt attributes the decline in membership to the aging population of the church.
Or, perhaps, in some cases, there is something else afoot. The general timbre of the Episcopal Church, maybe?
With a tip of the hat to my Lutheran friend, Dr Gregory Jackson, we find spurious postmodern accounts of the Resurrection at no less than … the Episcopal Cathedral in Washington, DC, featuring their Bishop, Marianne Budde. An Episcopalian, Dr David Virtue (‘VOL’ below), has a go at the bishop.
Excerpts follow, emphases mine:
Washington Episcopal Bishop Marianne Budde, writing in her blog on the subject of Resurrection, opined that if someone were to discover a tomb with Jesus’ remains in it, the entire enterprise would not come crashing down.
VOL: Actually, Bishop it would. Our faith would be in vain and we would be of all men (and women) most miserable. St. Paul writes in I Cor. 15, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”
BUDDE: Someone once asked me if I thought the resurrection was necessary. He meant it in the most sincere way, as a person of both faith and doubt who wondered if we needed to be bound by so unreasonable a proposition that Jesus’ tomb was, in fact, empty on that first Easter morning. I hesitated in answering because there seemed to be layers of argument behind the question. My answer was yes, resurrection is the foundation of Christian faith, but probably not in the way he meant it.
VOL: What way is that, Bishop?
BUDDE: To say that resurrection is essential doesn’t mean that if someone were to discover a tomb with Jesus’ remains in it that the entire enterprise would come crashing down. The truth is that we don’t know what happened to Jesus after his death, any more than we can know what will happen to us. What we do know from the stories handed down is how Jesus’ followers experienced his resurrection. What we know is how we experience resurrection ourselves.
VOL: Total rubbish, Bishop. This is pure solipsism and subjectivism. (See above.) There were eyewitnesses to the event. The Bible says the risen Christ first appeared to Mary Magdalene and other women. Even the apostles did not believe Mary when she told them the tomb was empty. Jesus, who always had special respect for these women, honored them as the first eyewitnesses to his resurrection. Now I would have thought, Bishop that you, as a raging feminist, would have latched onto that if for no other reason than that women were the first to see and believe. The male Gospel writers had no choice but to report this embarrassing act of God’s favor, because that was how it happened. Your argument also completely ignores the historical fact of Christ’s resurrection that no serious theologian has ever really denied (and please don’t defer to Spong or Countrymen as they are jokes). St. Paul through Augustine to Cranmer, Calvin, Luther, Wesley, Billy Graham and Rick Warren and tens of thousands of archbishops, bishops and laity in between, have all affirmed the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Not a single Pope has ever denied it.
“How we experience resurrection ourselves…” could just as easily apply to ice cream or a good steak dinner. Building your argument on experience is as vacuous and empty-headed as a teenager announcing he’s hungry after quaffing down an entire 5-course dinner (with seconds) and then declaring that his experience tells him that he wants more.
One Episcopal theologian upon reading Bishop Budde’s take wrote to VOL, “Judicious, seemingly reasonable — and utterly inadequate. We ‘don’t know what happened to Jesus after his death’? Really? Why bother?”
VOL: Actually, Bishop, it is not our “self-consciousness” that is the problem. It is our SINFULNESS …
Your views border on the heresy of Docetism, Bishop, a view that held that the disciples thought his body had been actually reanimated. Docetism taught that Jesus only appeared to have a body, that he was not really incarnate, (Greek, “dokeo” = “to seem”). This error developed out of the dualistic philosophy which viewed matter as inherently evil, that God could not be associated with matter, and that God, being perfect and infinite, could not suffer. Therefore, God as the word, could not have become flesh per John 1:1,14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.. ” This denial of a true incarnation meant that Jesus did not truly suffer on the cross and that He did not rise from the dead.
The basic principle of Docetism was refuted by the Apostle John in 1 John 4:2-3. “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”
There are at least seven proofs for the Resurrection Proof that would be well worth your while declaiming from the pulpit in Washington National Cathedral, bishop, and they are these:
#1: The Empty Tomb of Jesus
#2: The Holy Women Eyewitnesses
#3: Jesus’ Apostles’ New-Found Courage
#4: Changed Lives of James and Others
#5: Large Crowd of Eyewitnesses
#6: Conversion of Paul
#7: They Died for Jesus
If you don’t, Bishop, your diocese will continue to rot from the inside out and, in time, die.
Oh, yes, that is a very real possibility, indeed. This is why I urge readers to study the Bible, not their favourite popular authors’ opinions on the Bible. (That said, one will need solid commentaries by proper biblical scholars.)
A number of ignorant Episcopalian clergy wonder what is happening to their congregations. The alert, Bible-believing ones work to repair the damage in their own with scriptural preaching and pragmatic godliness.
It’s interesting that Virtue’s commenters linked ‘white women”s activities to closures, dating from the temperance movement of the 19th century to 20th century holy orders and, from there, to 21st century apostasy. Hmm. I’ll leave you to ponder that one.
My only riposte would be that, whilst I agree, there have been many men of different races who have travelled — and continue to pursue — that same road. I’ve known a few personally.
I realise that that Global South (‘developing world’) understands the clarity between good and evil much better than many Westerners do — partly because of their personal circumstances — but do they have an answer for Westerners balanced on a theological-philosophical plane? How can we in the West persuade our clergy out of the postmodern revisionism of the 20th century back to the eternal truth of Scripture?
If that sounded Episcopalian or Anglican, it was meant so to do.
This is where the Anglican Communion in the West finds itself in the present day.
Lord, who will answer?
The ancient ceremony of the Churching of Women is no longer used in the Anglican Communion.
In recent years, the Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child has replaced it. These prayers are said during a Sunday service, which involves the whole family.
In the 20th century, both feminists and clergy objected to the Churching of Women which they believed denigrated women, suggesting the necessity for personal purification and supplication.
However, a two-part essay from 1995 by Natalie Knödel from Durham University questions whether postmodernists really grasped the ceremony’s significance. Whilst she acknowledges that it could be construed as being devised by men as a statement about women’s sin dating from Eve, her research has uncovered that, centuries ago, women considered it as their day to celebrate with each other.
Those who are interested in Church history and traditions or in women’s relationship with the Church will find Knödel’s essay ‘The Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth, commonly called the Churching of Women’ of interest: parts 1 and 2.
As I mentioned at the end of last week in my Candlemas post, Mary went to the Temple 40 days after giving birth to Jesus. This was after her ritual purification as mandated in Leviticus and Exodus. After her ritual bath — mikvah — on the appropriate day, she could once again be accepted into the Temple for public worship. However, the infant Jesus also had to be presented at the Temple on the same day. Joseph accompanied both; he might have been asked to read from the Torah. Whilst Catholics put the emphasis of February 2 on Mary, Protestants who commemorate the feast day place more importance on Jesus’s Presentation.
From the example of the Holy Family, it would appear that today’s brief ceremony of the Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child is truer to St Luke’s Gospel (Luke 2) than the Churching of Women which came about centuries later.
Knödel tells us that sequestering a woman who had given birth and welcoming her back into society was and, in some cases, a part of cultures around the world. Childbirth, then and now, is still fraught with risk for millions of women and newborns. It is something which men fear; only recently have they been encouraged to be present in Western delivery rooms. (Watching a film of an actual childbirth as I did at university is a harrowing experience. You’ll either really want children or be put off for life — no pun intended. It is bloody and gory for some and ‘absolutely beautiful’ for others.) Therefore, some societies designate a specific day on which they reintegrate the mother into daily life. This means they can work in the fields or tend house once again.
With regard to Europe and Christianity of the Middle Ages, Knödel points out that the Church had laws in place to protect pregnant women. Expectant mothers were relieved of the obligation to fast and anyone who beat them was subject to ecclesiastical punishment.
In the early Church up to the Middle Ages, prayers during a service involving a newborn focussed on the churching of the child rather than the mother. Often this was part of the christening ceremony. However, privately at home, various prayers and rituals revolved around the mother’s safe delivery. Some of these prayer sessions involved intercessions to St Anne, Mary’s mother. Other women prayed that St Margaret of Antioch — patron saint of childbirth — intercede. It was not uncommon for women in these home prayer groups to place small written blessings on the womb of the mother.
Meanwhile, during this era of home ceremonies, clergy were debating the day when new mothers should reappear in church. Augustine of Canterbury asked Pope Gregory the Great for his advice on the matter. The Venerable Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of England records that Pope Gregory — in a minority of clergy — believed that sternly forbidding the woman to return to church before a certain time would intimate that she was personally guilty of Eve’s sin, thereby turning this sequestration period into a punishment. A more usual tack taken by clergy and emperors was to forbid their presence for 40 days and grant a home visit for Communion only if the women were very ill or dying. Others allowed the women to appear in church but seated with unbaptised enquirers — catechumens — meaning that they could not receive Communion.
Around the 11th century, receiving mothers back into the church was codified as a separate ceremony. Clergy developed various rules, including a special pew — ‘churching seat’ – where the women sat or placement at the entrance of the church (in the back, separate from husband and family) and a certain type of veil for them to wear. Where mothers were allowed to receive Holy Communion, some churches set aside a certain part of the altar rail for them.
Once the rite was codified, it focussed on the mother, not the child. In pre-Reformation England, the Sarum Missal was widely used. Whilst called a ‘benediction’, the Sarum rite for the churching of women started with a purification ritual whereby the priest sprinkled or placed holy water on the woman. She stood outside of the church whilst he did this. Once the holy water was administered, she could then go inside.
During the Reformation, the holy water element was dispensed with as it was seen as a ‘magical’ Catholic superstition. However, the earliest editions of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer retained most of the Sarum rite. The Puritans later objected to the Churching of Women, asking why childbirth was so special and, interestingly, why prayers should be said on every occasion.
Therefore, during the Interregnum (Cromwell’s rule between Charles I’s beheading and Charles II’s Restoration in the 17th century), the Puritans banned the Book of Common Prayer and with it the Churching of Women. By that time, however, the ceremony had become a traditional event which women enjoyed. It was a ‘girls’ day out’, because the father and baby were not necessarily required to attend church on that day. This meant that the mother and her lady friends — ‘gossips’ (a corruption of Godspeaks) or ‘goodies’ (goodwomen) — could go to church and celebrate afterwards, probably at someone’s home. Given that information, it comes as no surprise when Knödel reveals that it was common for women in Puritan times to ask an Anglican priest to perform the ceremony in secret.
Two years into the Restoration, Charles II issued a new edition of the Book of Common Prayer. Anglicans still use his 1662 version today. It includes the Churching of Women. Puritans who were still in England at the time refused to have their women churched, running the risk of church discipline. Yet, even the Anglicans who went to the American colonies included the rite in their Prayer Book of 1789. It remained in subsequent Amerian editions until 1979, when it was replaced with A Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child.
As stated above, the Anglican Communion has returned to a set of prayers and Psalms which focus on the child, as Candlemas does on February 2 with the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. The Roman Catholic church includes a prayer of blessing for the family as part of the baptismal ceremony.
Whether the emphasis lay on the mother or child, the Church has recognised God in creating human life, His goodness in granting a safe delivery and thanksgiving that He preserves both the life of the mother and child.
At this point, you might be wondering what happened where births out of wedlock or where the deaths of mother or child were involved. Where the old rite of the Churching of Women was concerned, Knödel writes that unmarried mothers were required to appear in church and confess their sin of fornication before being churched. A mother could still be churched even if her newborn had since died; the ceremony focussed on the mother, not the child. In the event that the mother died, whilst some churches allowed a substitute lady to be churched in the mother’s place, the Church of England frowned on the practice. Although interred in the church graveyard, unchurched mothers were sometimes buried in a section apart from other church members and women of childbearing age — 15 to 45 — were instructed not to enter that part of the cemetery.
In closing, what follows are excerpts of the 1662 prayers and Psalms for the Churching of Women. Note how thanksgiving is very much a part of the ceremony — and the ‘quiver full’ verse in Psalm 127:
The Woman, at the usual time after her Delivery, shall come into the Church decently apparelled, and there shall kneel down in some convenient place, as hath been accustomed, or as the Ordinary shall direct: And then the Priest shall say unto her,
ORASMUCH as it hath pleased Almighty God of his goodness to give you safe deliverance, and hath preserved you in the great danger of Child-birth: you shall therefore give hearty thanks unto God …
(Then shall the Priest say the 116th Psalm.) Dilexi quoniam.
AM well pleased: that the Lord hath heard the voice of my prayer;
That he hath inclined his ear unto me: therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.
The snares of death compassed me round about: and the pains of hell gat hold upon me.
I found trouble and heaviness, and I called upon the Name of the Lord: 0 Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous: yea, our God is merciful.
The Lord preserveth the simple: I was in misery, and he helped me.
Turn again then unto thy rest, 0 my soul: for the Lord hath rewarded thee …
Or, Psalm 127. Nisi Dominus.
XCEPT the Lord build the house: their labour is but lost that build it.
Except the Lord keep the city: the watchman waketh but in vain.
It is but lost labour that ye haste to rise up early, and so late take rest, and eat the bread of carefulness: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
Lo, children and the fruit of the womb: are an heritage and gift that cometh of the Lord.
Like as the arrows in the hand of the giant: even so are the young children.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate …
Minister. Let us pray.
ALMIGHTY God, we give thee humble thanks for that thou hast vouchsafed to deliver this woman thy servant from the great pain and peril of Child-birth: Grant, we beseech thee, most merciful Father, that she, through thy help, may both faithfully live, and walk according to thy will, in this life present; and also may be partaker of everlasting glory in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Woman, that cometh to give her thanks, must offer accustomed offerings; and, if there be a Communion, it is convenient that she receive the holy Communion
The mother’s offering to the church was generally the cap or alb (robe) in which her child was christened.
Over Christmas I read a post by a woman to other women regarding marriage. The lady warned them against marrying men who grew up without fathers.
Whilst her post is written from a black perspective, what she has to say crosses racial and socio-economic lines. I can think of several white men from the middle and upper-middle classes from mother-only homes who fit the pattern she describes.
What follows are excerpts (emphases mine) from Black Female Culture‘s ‘Limit Personal Drama By Avoiding Fatherless Men’. Please take the time to read the analysis in full — fascinating in its truth.
… Believe me, the last thing I want to do is blame Black women for the huge number of Black men who refuse to take part in parenting their children – we get blamed enough for the actions of others, but pretending that the epidemic level of fatherlessness is not affecting Black children negatively – well into adulthood, is nothing more than denial.
Consider your own friends and acquaintances. I have noticed, since I was a teen, that girls (like myself) who were raised by their fathers were not getting pregnant or acting desperate for male attention. While those who had single moms usually popped out at least one kid by graduation day, if they even graduated …
And the boys…Those without a positive male role model, which is at least 85% (I’m being generous) of those without their father in the home, end up displaying violent criminal behaviors, sociopathic and misogynistic tendencies, and a deep seated anger. And that anger is always seeking a vulnerable target to destroy. This is usually where Black women and children come in.
Men with proper fathers or father figures, in my experience, are thoughtful, manly, courteous and family oriented. That’s a generalization I know, but this is MY experience. I have never met a man with a proper father who wanted me to pay for a dinner he invited me to (this recently happened to a friend), or failed to open the door for me — car or building, or who blamed “feminism” for all their problems. Men who are raised by real men know how to be real men …
When a woman puts a man’s upbringing, character and shared values first, finding an ideal husband becomes simple, almost easy. She stops making the same mistakes in choosing a man, because her criterion is set. Those who do not fit that criterion are never entertained with the notion that they will ever be anything other than an acquaintance. She no longer gives unworthy men “a chance” to waste her time. Which brings me to another point: Do not hide your desire to be married with children ...
The author’s rationale in saying this is that less time is wasted on men who do not fit the brief.
In the last part of her post — a must-read — emphases are the author’s:
I want to add that I’m not saying all men who, through no fault of their own, grew up without a father’s love and guidance are poor husband material. But all things being equal, a fatherless man is more likely to:
- have an unnatural attachment to his mother, yet hate women; and his mother will likely hate you for taking her place
- He is more likely to see you as competition instead of a partner in life.
- He is more likely to be catty, manipulative and/or passive aggressive when you don’t do what he wants.
- He is more likely to hate and fear feminism; yet, seek to live a feminist lifestyle, with a woman carrying his burdens as well as her own.
- He is more likely to be deeply insecure and have low self-worth, because he was rejected by his own father. Such a man will seek to bring you down to his level through verbal, emotional and, often, physical abuse.
- He will probably NEVER trust you, but will test your “loyalty” to him at every turn, while destroying any trust you may have had in him.
- And he is more likely to be emotionally detached from you and any children you may have together, even if he bothers to marry you.
I know a woman who came from a family of means and wanted a child but no husband. Although her son is now married, from his earliest years at school he never felt he fit. At school on the Fridays before Father’s Day, when classes were nearly out of session for the summer in their country, the lad was devastated that he was the only boy who had no father for whom he could create a card or gift. One can imagine he ruminated during the ensuing holidays about his father’s identity.
I am not sure he even knows who his father is today. He is almost 30 years old. His mother refuses to tell him.
The young man married well, thanks to his family’s connections. However, it will be hard for me to forget how shabbily he treated his mother when growing up (like a maid), how he has railed against God since his adolescence and how much unresolved inner rage he has.
Sure, he had other men in the family who could spend time with him at the weekends, however, that hardly made up for the absence of a father.
An equally sad factor of this story and many others like it is that, for many years, his mother had the emotional attachment to her son that a woman would normally reserve for a husband. Fortunately, she gets on well with her daughter-in-law.
As the nuns used to say, ‘Act in haste, repent at leisure’. We can now see the long-term consequences of acting through self-gratification, widespread in Western society. It’s high time we started examining our potential personal choices much more closely.
At 26 seconds into this video you can see a photo of Mitt and Ann Romney during his time at university in the 1970s where both are wearing Arran sweaters. The photo is wonderfully reminiscent of Love Story, a blockbuster hit of the same period starring Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal:
American readers in particular might wish to watch the video with lots of photos from Mitt’s childhood through adulthood: an interesting selection which you have probably not seen before. The middle part of the video shows campaign scenes and the final few minutes reveals his many supporters — celebrities, sports people and, yes, even a few media personalities.
When I was a child, Mitt’s father, George, was the Republican governor of Michigan. He served his state between 1963 and 1969, after a successful career as chairman and president of American Motors Corporation. It was during his time as governor that Mitt met Ann and, the rest, although neither would know it for a few years, would be history.
When Ann met Mitt he was a student at Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, a beautiful suburb of Detroit. Ann Davies attended Cranbrook’s sister school, Kingswood. In an article from 2007 by Ronald Kessler for Newsmax, the couple’s first date was wonderfully reminscent of Motor City and the dating ritual of the time:
… Mitt Romney left nothing to chance. He arrived in a red Marlin, a new fastback model made by his father’s American Motors Co. Mitt had cleaned and polished the car until it gleamed. He brought along a bottle of sparkling Catawba grape juice and two chilled glasses.
Mitt took Ann, then 15, to see “The Sound of Music.”
They’d met earlier at a party one of Ann’s classmates — Cindy White — gave. When Mitt met Ann, he realised he’d recognised her from … his Cub Scout days. Kessler discovered:
… he and some other scouts saw Ann riding a horse bareback across a railroad track.
“What do Cub Scouts do when they see a little girl on a horse?” Mitt says now. “We picked up stones and threw them [at her].”
Years later, at Cindy White’s party, Mitt thought, “Wow, has she changed!”
He remembers that Ann came to the party with a date. She states that she had no date and probably came with her brother. In any case, Mitt told her that he lived near her — about a mile away — and offered to take her home in his Marlin. She accepted.
Ann told Kessler that Mitt was no stranger to the dating scene (and the picture of him and Ann above — courtesy of Twitchy.com — may give some indication as to why):
He was pretty cute; that’s all I cared about. But he’d dated a bunch of my friends, and so I kind of knew him a little bit from my friends. He was one of those guys that would date a girl for like six weeks and then go on to another girl, and then another and another. He kind of did that through my sophomore year. He dated about three of my friends. So I was very wary of him.
I was very aloof. Whatever it was that I did, it really set the hooks deep, because they’re still there. I was being very cautious because he’d broken a bunch of my friends’ hearts, and I wasn’t going to let him do that to me. Whatever I did, it worked.
Mitt helped plan Ann’s 16th birthday party, a coming-of-age celebration in the United States. By then, they were an item. At his senior prom in 1965, he proposed to her. She gave a guarded response.
That autumn, Mitt attended California’s Stanford University for one year. Unbeknownst to his parents who were living in the state capital of Lansing in the governor’s mansion, Mitt worked to earn money to fly home to see Ann on the sly. The following July, he began a two-and-a-half year stay in France. It was his obligatory mission work for the Mormons.
Meanwhile, Ann — raised as a nominal Episcopalian — was a twice-a-year churchgoer. She decided to explore Mormonism in depth with the encouragement of Governor Romney, Mitt’s father. Ann converted and attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She wrote Mitt faithfully every week.
Then, after a year, she began dating other young men. Not thinking too much of it, she wrote Mitt to tell him. The news hit Mitt hard at the mission house in Paris. He later claimed he was so devastated that he came down with Hong Kong flu, widespread at the time.
Then, during the summer of 1968, George Romney rang Ann to tell her that Mitt had been in a serious car accident outside of Bordeaux. Mitt was driving when another driver, thought to have been over the limit, hit his vehicle. The policeman took Mitt for dead and wrote in his passport, ‘Il est mort‘. In reality, Mitt had been thrown from the car and came out alive with a broken arm. Unfortunately, among the other missionaries in the car was Viola Anderson, wife of the mission president. She suffered crushed lungs and died.
Governor Romney picked Ann up at home then rang Sargent Shriver — Eunice Kennedy’s husband — who was serving as the US Ambassador to France. Shriver got back to Romney with word that Mitt was very much alive, although he was in hospital.
Mitt finished his missionary stint in France in December 1968. Governor Romney made sure that Ann was with his family when they met Mitt at the airport. Ann told Ronald Kessler during the Newsmax interview that this was a real turning point for her:
The second we saw each other, it was one of those remarkable, remarkable moments, that’s just crystallized in my mind forever. It was as though two and a half years had just dissolved, and we were back exactly where we were when he left. The feelings that we had for each other just came back instantly.
Shortly after, the couple announced to both sets of parents that they would be getting married … in two weeks’ time. Everyone was shocked except for George Romney who, with a twinkle in his eye, sat back and chuckled.
In the event, it took longer than two weeks to make all the arrangements. Ann and Mitt were married in a civil ceremony on March 21, 1969. He was 22 and she 19. They pledged not to consummate their marriage until they’d had a religious ceremony in a Mormon temple.
Mitt finished his undergraduate studies alongside his young wife at Brigham Young. Despite his father’s success, Mitt and Ann started out as most young married students do — at the bottom. It order to stretch the pennies, Mitt started a lifelong pattern of frugality which exists to this day. One of his daughters-in-law — Laurie, wife of son Matt — told a group of Republican women at the end of September 2012 that Mitt:
is probably the most frugal person I’ve ever met, maybe aside from my husband, who was raised by him.
Mitt is vigilant — he’s constantly watching the air conditioning all day, and it’s turned off unless it’s absolutely essential.
Doing the dishes in the Romney household can be a real chore … because “if you turn for just a minute to do something else, he’ll turn off the water.” In addition, she said, her father-in-law “spends a lot of time packing and consolidating the garbage because the Waste Management company in his area charges by the bag.”
That said, she believes such frugality will be a trump card should Mitt be elected the next President of the United States. The GOP candidate will not be wasteful of resources or public money.
Back now to Ann’s life as a young wife in the early 1970s. After earning his Bachelors degree at Brigham Young, Mitt decided to fulfil his and his father’s ambitions by going to Harvard and studying for a law degree and an MBA. George Romney wanted Mitt to obtain the law degree, and Mitt’s eye was on the MBA. In 1975, he graduated from Harvard Law School cum laude (with Honours) and from the university’s business school with the distinction of Baker Scholar, which meant that he finished in the top five per cent of his class.
During that time, Ann became the mother to Taggart, Matthew and Joshua. It cannot have been easy for a young woman whose husband was busy studying for two highly difficult postgraduate degrees. Afterward, she gave birth to Benjamin and Craig. This meant that while Mitt was starting an ambitious career first with Boston Consulting Group then Bain and Company, Ann was often on her own with five sons. Consultants are often away from home and need to travel at the last minute. Mitt has acknowledged in interviews this year that he fully appreciates what his wife went through for many years and regrets not being able to offer more practical support other than calls home and brief words of advice.
Years later, in her spare time, Ann — already an accomplished equestrian — focussed on dressage in an effort to combat multiple sclerosis. In 2007, she told Newsmax’s Kessler of her daily rides on her bay gelding Baron:
He is the one that pulled me through when I was really sick. He’s the one that just let me plod around on him when I was so weak. And then as I got stronger, I’d ride him more, and he got stronger, and so the two of us kind of got stronger together. For a horse to show at the Grand Prix level, they have to be very, very fit and very strong, as does the rider. And so last year it was quite a feat for both of us to have done that together.
Yes, you read correctly. Ann and Baron won the Gold Medal at Grand Prix level from the US Dressage Foundation in 2006.
Ann has also had a bout with breast cancer. She is a survivor and today is a devoted wife, mother and grandmother.
Topics you might be interested in — Ann’s take on:
Charity: Before Mitt’s election as governor of Massachusetts in 2002, Ann worked for the United Way in Boston using church and faith-based groups to help get wayward youngsters back on track. She took for her inspiration the city’s black churches which, in many cases, have a close relationship with young people in the nearby vicinity. Together with Gloria White Hammond she founded the United Way’s Faith and Action Program. Of the children, Ann says:
A lot of other people might have given up on them, but they ought to know that God never gives up on them. That’s why I’ve worked so much with the faith-based groups.
Ann also served as director of Families First Planning Program and the Massachusetts General Hospital Advisory Board as well as a Governor’s liaison to another faith-based charity which President George ‘W’ Bush.
Mitt and Ann have also established the Romney Charitable Foundation, which had $8m in assets as of 2007. It is unclear as to whether this still exists or if it has been superseded by their Tyler Charitable Foundation.
Home life: Taggart ‘Tagg’ Romney told Newsmax’s Kessler that his mother is the one who ‘grounds’ Mitt and provides ‘perspective’. Beth Myers, Mitt’s chief of staff when he served as Governor of Massachusetts, told Kessler that Ann is Mitt’s ‘most trusted and closest adviser’. Ann admitted:
I weigh in so heavily, and he listens to my advice probably more than anyone else’s. We never sort of go off on our own, either one of us, without feeling like we’re going together on whatever journey that we’re on.
Of her, Kessler observed:
Ann is warm and very natural. She has the look of an outdoors woman bred to be an equestrian, which she is — good carriage, rosy complexion, square jaw, and blond mane.
When she is not flashing her truly unbelievable smile, she may lower her eyes demurely. But Ann Romney is not demure — she may be modest, but she isn’t meek. She is unpretentious, but she isn’t shy. She lowers her eyes, thinking, and then looks up directly at her interviewer and dazzles him with that smile.
Illustrating the way she and Mitt interact, on one TV show where they were interviewed together, Ann noticed that Mitt may have misunderstood a question. He was talking about trying to be like his father. Without looking up, she told him smoothly and sotto voce: “They’re asking you to name a president” after whom he would want to model himself.
Personal faith and the world: Jim Towey, a Catholic who worked with Ann and toured a (Catholic) Boston shelter for the homeless with her said that she:
doesn’t talk about her faith — she puts it into action. She’s the real deal.
Abortion: Ann — also speaking for Mitt and living in blue (Democrat) Massachusetts — told Kessler:
Teen pregnancy prevention would be high on my list of things I’d be concerned about as first lady. Having fathers involved in children’s lives, especially in the inner city would be something I’d be concerned about.
Both of us are pro-life. But Massachusetts is a pro-choice state. He’s always personally been pro-life. Given our faith, we obviously believe in God, we believe in the sanctity of life. He was responding to how he thinks the government should be involved in the issue. And Mitt totally thinks it should be turned over and let the states decide, and get the bickering over with.
They say he flip-flopped on abortion. Well, you know what? He did change his mind. It took courage. I’m really proud of him, to really study an issue and really come to that. That is the only change he’s made, and I believe it’s a change in the right direction. He hasn’t changed his position on anything except choice, and that has been very public, and it has never been a change in his personal philosophy.
Ann would make an exceptional First Lady. Whilst she is modest and poised, she is no pushover and will defend herself and Mitt ably. From other articles I have read, it certainly appears that she would be a gracious hostess and provide a warm welcome to all guests in the White House, the nation’s home.
Clear eyes. Full heart. Can’t fail.
I am not normally a big fan of videos, however, the people in the following short films describe who Mitt Romney is as a boss and a manager. This is the Mitt which Americans will see in the White House.
Jane Edmonds, former Massachusetts Secretary of Workforce in Mitt Romney’s gubernatorial cabinet, describes Mitt’s push for the best performance possible. She also points out that under his governorship, he appointed and promoted many more women than had Democrats. Edmonds admits that she is a Democrat, however, Mitt’s leadership, service, authenticity and humanity ‘delivered results’ for the Commonwealth. Edmonds gave this address to the Republican National Convention at the end of July:
In this next video, more of Mitt’s female cabinet members describe how concerned he was with helping single mothers, women in general and the sensitivity he showed them:
The third video features brief soundbites from Romney’s time at Bain Capital when he helped promising small businesses grow into greater successes. You’ll see executives from household name enterprises. Each businessman describes Romney as a man who expects the best, ensures success and even makes one examine oneself in order to achieve it:
The following is for mature readers only.
My jaw dropped in disbelief the other day when I read this post on one of the most famous colas in the world (emphases in the original):
Thought of as a soft drink. Strong enough to kill.
Yes. One 12 oz oca Cola [sic] is all it takes to end a human life. Many women when late try to end their pregnancy, in poor countries, and over a period of time, they’ve worked out the best way to do it.
All they need is a 12 oz bottle of Coca Cola. This they boil for fifteen minutes. Then they leave it out in the midday sun from morning til afternoon.
This must do something to alter the chemical composition, because that alone, when drunk, can be fully effective to cause an abortion. They only add headache pills to beef up the solution, and whack, the pregnancy’s over. It works in about half of cases, my partner assures me. Her friends have used it successfully.
What chemicals are there inside Coca Cola which achieves this outcome, I wonder?
Another report says that a metal coin left in Coca Cola for a week will dissolve into the liquid. You put an egg in Coca Cola and the shell disappears.
What’s in that drink, for God’s sake?
It attracted two anonymous comments asking for more information. Another person mentioned the douche method from the 1950s and 1960s, which I’ll get to below.
First, however, let’s look at the issue of the pointed accusation at the world’s top cola drink manufacturer. Would the world’s other leading brand work as well? What about other brands of cola? Surely, they contain nearly the same ingredients. What about non-cola drinks?
Furthermore, once the cola is combined with headache pills, then it is no longer cola as originally manufactured.
One might as well ask what is in the headache pill — note, the brand was unspecified — that acts as a possible abortifacient.
And no one has speculated on the effect of hot sunshine, boiling and how combining a soft drink with headache pills under those conditions produces a halfway-reasonable abortion method.
One thing is clear: the substances will have all been altered either by heat or by combining one with the other. Neither colas nor headache pills can produce the effect as they are, if such an effect really exists.
I searched the Internet and could find nothing to support this method, which I can only conclude must be purely anecdotal with a 50% success rate.
Ladies — do not expect this method to work. Men — think a little bit about the above questions before advising people not to drink a particular brand of cola.
Now to the original Coca-Cola abortion myth.
Nearly 60 years ago, a story developed saying that douching with Coca-Cola would produce a home abortion. This was common currency until sometime in the 1960s. The origins of the story are unclear.
However, anyone — man or woman — who has paid attention in high school biology class will know instinctively and logically that this is anatomically impossible.
Let’s explore myth and reality further.
How was the method meant to work?
From Urban Dictionary:
The practice of rinsing the vaginal vault with a carbonated beverage, such as a cola drink. The can or bottle is usually agitated vigorously post coitus, and the ensuing spray is directed towards the vaginal opening. In the 1950s, prior to availability of the oral contraceptive pill, this was considered a form of birth control, and Coca cola was thought to have some spermicidal properties. Referred to in the song “Coca Cola Douche” by 60s New York band, The Fugs.
Snopes says that Dr Pepper was also used. The carbonic acid in the shaken bottle of the soft drink was thought to act as a spermicide and that the sugar would ‘explode’ sperm cells. They cite studies which have tested for spermicidal properties in Coca-Cola; the initial positive results by Harvard University researchers in 1985 could not be replicated by other teams around the world. A Taiwanese group concluded that ‘cola has little if any spermicidal effect’. The same holds true for Pepsi-Cola. Nigeria’s Krest Bitter Lemon, studied in 1992, seemed to work the best; researchers attributed this to the lemon — an alkaline (not acid) property — in the drink. It is unclear whether further research on Krest was done. Note that the researchers experimented with the soft drinks on sperm in vitro — in glass — so, using test tubes. It is highly unlikely that Krest would work as a post-coital douche.
Why doesn’t it work?
Sexologist Dr Ruth Westheimer, writing for Dummies.com, explodes the myths about pregnancy. This is worthwhile reading, especially as I have known a few young women who were caught out by the first time, standing up and withdrawal myths.
Douching is useless both for hygiene and birth control purposes. If you’ve heard that douching — with vinegar, Coca-Cola, commercial douches, or anything else — prevents pregnancy, don’t believe it. By the time you finish with intercourse and douche, many sperm have already begun their trip toward the egg and are beyond your ability to flush them out.
The sugar may also give the user a yeast infection.
It amazes me that the following even needs saying in the 21st century, but …
Drinking soft drinks or douching with them to induce an abortion will not work.
What about Coca-Cola’s ability to clean pennies?
This will work with any soft drink, not just Coca-Cola.
From Wiki Answers:
Simply put, coke is acidic on the pH scale. If you don’t remember what the pH scale is, it is a measure of how acidic or alkaline a substance is. Coke is about 3 on the pH scale, making it decently acidic (just so u have a comparison distilled water is 7 on the pH scale which is neutral). In short acid eats away at metals while alkaline eats away at protein. So when calcium and zinc build up on your penny soaking it in coke will eat away at the metals built up, leaving it nice and shiny.
Side note: alkaline pH substances eat away at proteins so that’s why we use high alkaline products to clean our sinks and toilets.
Bottom line: carbonated soft drinks are acidic. Soft drink acids target metals, not humans.
Now let’s stop the nonsense about carbonated drinks.
Tomorrow, I shall continue with a study of John’s epistles, beginning with 2 John 1. In reading Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary, I noted the empathetic way he introduced this letter, which was dedicated to a Christian lady.
Women and egalitarians will draw comfort from this introduction, and complementarians would do well to note its kindness and generosity to the fairer sex. It dates from the early 18th century (emphases mine):
Here we find a canonical epistle inscribed, principally, not only to a single person, but to one also of the softer sex. And why not to one of that sex? In gospel redemption, privilege, and dignity, there is neither male nor female; they are both one in Christ Jesus. Our Lord himself neglected his own repast, to commune with the woman of Samaria, in order to show her the fountain of life; and, when almost expiring upon the cross, he would with his dying lips bequeath his blessed mother to the care of his beloved disciple, and thereby instruct him to respect female disciples for the future. It was to one of the same sex that our Lord chose to appear first after his return from the grave, and to send by her the news of his resurrection to this as well as to the other apostles; and we find afterwards a zealous Priscilla so well acquitting herself in her Christian race, and particularly in some hazardous service towards the apostle Paul, that she is not only often mentioned before her husband, but to her as well as to him, not only the apostle himself, but also all the Gentile churches, were ready to return their thankful acknowledgments. No wonder then that a heroine in the Christian religion, honoured by divine providence, and distinguished by divine grace, should be dignified also by an apostolical epistle.
I pray that late 20th century complementarianism disappears soon. It has done grave damage to many good women who believe in the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the final video instalments featuring Dr N T ‘Tom’ Wright, a possible candidate to succeed Dr Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury, today’s film clips look at Scripture seen through a modern eye, conservative fundamentalist Christianity and other issues facing the Church in the 21st century.
In the first video, Wright discusses how we view the authority of Scripture. He reminds us that in the ancient world there were often only single accounts of an event. Wright’s scholarship is in this area. He says that it takes him a matter of weeks to read through texts written at that time. On the other hand, his son specialises in modern history, so to cover one decade of French history in the 19th century could take him weeks because of the plethora of information. Wright cautions us not to adopt too hard a line on stories and accounts from the ancient world. Often, there is only one which cannot be corroborated:
In the next clip, Wright warns pastors at the retreat where he was speaking that discounting 1st century Judaism in interpreting the New Testament is a mistake. He acknowledges that John Piper would disagree, saying that reading too much Jewish thought might pull them away from Christianity. However, Wright contends that understanding the mindset of the people Jesus ministered to will increase our understanding of what the Gospels tell us:
In this next video, also from the Pastors Retreat of the Los Ranchos Presbytery held at the Serra Retreat Center in Malibu, California, Wright explains that Postmodernism is a natural outcome of the Age of Enlightenment and its Epicureanism. In the 18th century, people started re-examining post-Reformation wars, the increase in scientific discoveries and the terrifying earthquake which occurred in Portugal in 1755 on All Saints Day (November 1). All these played a part in separating God from the world. Politically, the American and French Revolutions took place — dramatic events. People concluded, ‘We are entering a new age’. Wright points out that a similar message is on the back of the American dollar bill: ‘A new order of the ages’, which is a quote from Virgil.
Fast-forwarding to the 21st century, we still believe that we are part of a new age of being and thinking. It has become, he says, a ‘master narrative’; anything that does not fit is thrown out. He says that science has little to do with it; the ancient philosophers came up with the basis for Enlightenment thinking. He says this makes postmodernity important. Whereas ‘announcing the Doctrine of the Fall to arrogant modernity’ has been the Church’s modus operandi, our task as Christians now is to announce the Doctrine of Redemption. We’re not there yet, however, he says it presents a ‘hugely exciting’ prospect for evangelism:
In the next video Wright discusses America’s culture wars, which, he notes, do not preoccupy other countries in the world, except where American thought has permeated certain church movements. He traces this back to the 19th century fundamentalist versus modernist controversy. Wright says that these culture wars also draw from another 19th century event, the Civil War, and sets off into divisions between North versus South thinking, Republican versus Democrat political worldviews and so forth. Whilst this is not entirely false, both sides project their biases onto science and faith. There is both truth and falsehood on both sides. He advocates a more intelligent and profound discussion from both sides instead of applying ‘trivial labels’ to the opposing side. Self-examination is useful in this process, because he says that we all see the world through a distorted lens:
In this last video, Wright addresses the issue of women in ministry. In Romans 16, he notes that there are women ministers and that Junia is sometimes represented as a man (Junius), although he believes that is an error. Of them, Paul says, ‘They are well known among [to] the apostles’. Phoebe is a deacon. Wright says they are hard workers and not mere tea-makers. Wright says that with regard to headcoverings for women, Paul wanted to convey the message that prophesying women should look the part when doing so. Wright says that Paul did not want a ‘unisex ministry’ with women appearing as ‘counterfeit men’. He also mentions John 20, where Mary Magdalene is the first person to tell the disciples that Jesus has risen. Between the Resurrection and St Paul’s time, he notes that women had effectively been airbrushed out. Therefore, apostolic ministry grows out of the Gospel testimony — by a woman — that Jesus is alive. He says that we can read 1 Timothy 2 in that light:
Tomorrow: A British evangelist critiques Wright’s New Perspectives on Paul