Monday, April 29, 2013

Quote of the Day

So it becomes clear that the political will ultimately cannot become effective unless there is in all mankind--especially on the part of the chief supporters of development and progress--a new, deeper moral awareness, a willingness to do without, which is concrete and which for the individual also becomes an acknowledged value for his life.

The question is therefore: How can the great moral will, which everybody affirms and everyone invokes, become a personal decision? For unless that happens, politics remains impotent. Who, therefore, can ensure that this general awareness also penetrates the personal sphere? This can be done only by an authority that touches the conscience, that is close to the individual and does not merely call for eye-catching events.

In that respect this is a challenge for the Church. She not only has a major responsibility; she is, I would say, often the only hope. For she is so close to people's consciences that she can move them to particular acts of self-denial and can inculcate basic attitudes in souls.

--Pope Benedict XVI, Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), p. 46.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Quote of the Day

"Faith is first of all a gift that we have received. But to bear fruit, God's grace always requires our openness, our free and concrete response. Christ comes to bring us the mercy of God who saves. We are asked to trust him, to match the gift of his love with a good life, with actions animated by faith and love."

--Pope Francis

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thought for the Day

We must build a civilization of love, or there will be no civilization at all.
--Cardinal Sean O'Malley

Friday, April 19, 2013

What's Wrong with the HHS Mandate?

by Justin Soutar

(Originally published on Intellectual Conservative 4/17/13 at )

On January 20, 2012, under the direction of President Barack Obama, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced an unprecedented new law: As of August 1, 2012, all forms of health insurance coverage provided by businesses to their employees and by not-for-profit organizations to their clients would have to include artificial contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs. This official announcement aroused an immediate and fierce storm of protest throughout the United States. Catholic bishops, Protestant ministers, Jewish rabbis, hospital owners, charity CEOs, heads of colleges and universities, big and small business owners, state and federal government leaders, and ordinary American citizens all declared in no uncertain terms that they could not possibly comply with such a directive. The reason? It would force them to act in violation of their religious beliefs and moral convictions—and they were not about to blithely discard those sacrosanct tenets.

In response to this massive wave of protest, a few weeks later on February 10, 2012 the HHS announced a “compromise” to its sweeping mandate, in which two “exemptions” were handed to religious believers. First, “houses of worship” (i.e. churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.) would be exempted from the new law. Second, religious institutions that only hire and serve members of their own faith would not be compelled to furnish certain health care items if furnishing such items violated the principles of their religion. However, this “compromise” did little to abate the storm of protest against the new federal contraceptive, sterilization and abortifacient law. The Catholic bishops objected that it failed to adequately address the serious religious liberty issues raised by the HHS mandate. How so? Well, the second exemption to that mandate is extremely narrow and very few religious organizations qualify for it. Whether schools or hospitals or charities, most religious institutions in America are not exclusivist, hiring and serving only members of their own faith. Rather, most are—as they should be—part of the broader society, and as such they hire staff on the basis of merit and serve people on the basis of need, without discriminating on the basis of religious affiliation. So this HHS “compromise” still left an overwhelming majority of religious institutions legally compelled to act against their beliefs.

A few months later, the U.S. Supreme Court completed its review of the encyclopedic Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, which authorized the Obama administration to issue the healthcare mandate in the first place. On June 28, 2012, the Court ruled that the entire Act is constitutional and that the HHS mandate is simply a legitimate exercise of Congressional power to lay and collect taxes. In his written majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts argued that the mandate is not really coercive in violation of the First Amendment because religious entities and business leaders that object to it can choose between obeying the law or paying the tax fines imposed for noncompliance with it. According to Chief Justice Roberts, these fines are not so crippling that they force compliance with the mandate; therefore, the healthcare law leaves religious institutions and business owners still free to act in accord with their beliefs.

This landmark decision was quickly followed by another national wave of public outcry. What was wrong with the ObamaCare ruling? Critics pointed out that, contrary to Roberts’s claim, the tax penalties for noncompliance with the HHS mandate are indeed severely crippling; a religious organization or business that refuses to obey the law will be subjected to fines as high as 15 percent of its annual income or $100 per employee per day. Thus, for a typical institution—be it religious or secular, for-profit or not-for-profit—with dozens or hundreds of employees that refuses to offer contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs in its healthcare plan, the tax fines will amount to hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars per year. Fines of these magnitudes will force many religious institutions and businesses across America to shut down. This is precisely why the National Federation of Independent Business took the Obama administration to the U.S. Supreme Court over the PPACA and the mandate—because they are coercive: Businesses are either forced to obey the law or forced to pay unsustainable fines. Furthermore, fines by their very nature are meant to ensure compliance with a law and to deter and punish noncompliance with it. The notion that the healthcare mandate is not coercive is total nonsense. By allowing ObamaCare to stand unchallenged, the Supreme Court left the First Amendment rights of religious institutions and business owners still exposed to the full onslaught of the HHS mandate.

Facing a barrage of more than forty lawsuits in federal courts across the nation—eleven of which had already been decided in favor of the plaintiffs at this writing—the Department of Health and Human Services held out its most recent olive branch to the American public on February 1, 2013, proposing certain “accommodations” to make its controversial healthcare mandate more palatable to the stubbornly religious masses. Although initially the public wasn’t sure what to make of these complex new “accomodations,” Catholic bishops and lawyers were soon sounding the alarm that the newly proposed HHS regulations do little if anything to allay their deep concerns about the mandate’s violation of religious freedom. In an op-ed entitled “Making Sense of Another Ambiguous ‘Compromise,’” Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia warned that the healthcare mandate “remains unnecessary, coercive and gravely flawed.” On EWTN’s news program The World Over Live with Raymond Arroyo, attorney Kyle Duncan of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty flatly dismissed the new “accommodations” as “window-dressing.” And Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, in an official statement on behalf of all the bishops, declared, “Throughout the past year, we have been assured by the Administration that we will not have to refer, pay for, or negotiate for the mandated coverage. We remain eager for the Administration to fulfill that pledge.”

So what is lacking in this latest “compromise” from HHS? According to Cardinal Dolan, three issues remain unresolved: 1) The federal definition of a religious ministry remains extremely narrow. 2) Nearly all religious institutions are still compelled to fund and facilitate "services" such as contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients. 3) No protection is afforded to the conscience rights of for-profit business owners.

We’ve already discussed how the mandate affects religious institutions. But what about religious owners of secular for-profit businesses as well as of nonreligious charitable organizations who object that the HHS mandate violates their personal religious beliefs? No legal exemption from the mandate is afforded them. Lawyers for the Obama administration maintain that secular businesses must comply with it regardless of their owners’ personal religious objections to handing out artificial contraceptives, sterilizations and abortifacients in their healthcare plans. In other words, under the Obama regime it is a crime for a religious person who runs a secular business or not-for-profit organization to do so in line with his or her religious convictions if such convictions prohibit the distribution of abortion pills, contraceptive drugs and/or sterilization procedures. Forcing individual believers to violate their faith is as much an attack on the First Amendment as forcing entire religious institutions to do so.

And what about the conscience rights of that small but significant group of non-religious owners of secular businesses and charitable organizations who object to providing abortifacients on moral rather than religious grounds? Why should they be exempted from the HHS mandate? After all, according to the Obama administration, this healthcare law is driven by “a compelling public interest”: for their own good, the American people must have unrestricted access to abortifacient drugs, birth control pills and sterilization procedures. The answer is that the moral right to refuse to provide abortion-inducing drugs is found in the moral law, also known as the natural law—a set of universal principles of right and wrong which come from God and which are inscribed in the human conscience. This moral law guided the thinking and actions of our nation’s great founders and, together with faith in God according to the Judeo-Christian tradition, served as the framework for our country’s two principal founding documents: the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

The Declaration of Independence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to ensure these Rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” This solemn statement is becoming all the more remarkable as our nation becomes more secularized, rejecting the firm foundations of religion and morality on which it was built. In this text, our nation’s founders acknowledged as self-evident truths that God created all human beings equal in dignity and endowed them with certain “unalienable” rights, i.e., rights that cannot be taken away, and that the role of government is to protect these rights. The founders knew that the moral law requires respect for the right to life of every innocent human being and forbids murder. They also knew that the Fifth Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” is merely a direct external confirmation by God of a law that he had already written in the human heart. Moreover, in acknowledging “Liberty” as an unalienable human right, the founders understood liberty as 1) the freedom to act in accordance with the moral law, and 2) the freedom to practice one’s own religion without government interference. The former aspect—what we refer to today as “freedom of conscience”—was taken for granted by the founders; we refer to the latter aspect as “freedom of religion.”

In our Constitution’s Bill of Rights, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Having come to this land from Europe, where some theocratic monarchs forced the state religion on their subjects and outlawed the public practice of other religions, our nation’s founders clearly understood that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right that requires legal protection from the opposing threats of single-religion dictatorship and religious persecution. Thus they wisely crafted a law that on the one hand forbids religious compulsion by the government, and on the other hand guarantees the freedom to practice one’s own religion without interference from the government.

The Fifth Amendment to our Constitution protects our unalienable rights to both life and liberty from arbitrary revocation by the government. It states: “No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” This passage, along with most of the Fifth Amendment, was written to protect the rights of criminal suspects. When our nation’s Founders authored this text, they meant that no one could be executed or deprived of his liberty or land without first being publicly tried and convicted of a crime. Unfortunately, some two hundred years later in the infamous Roe v. Wade decision, the U.S. Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Warren Burger deliberately ignored the intent of the Constitution’s authors and, through some incomprehensible twist of logic, arbitrarily reinterpreted the Fifth Amendment due process clause regarding the confinement and execution of criminals to justify legalizing the murder of innocent unborn persons. As a result of this infamous decision, over the last forty years nearly 56 million innocent unborn Americans have been deprived of their unalienable right to life, and with it all their other rights as well. A woman’s supposed “right” to an abortion on demand has no authentic legal basis in the Constitution.

The most fundamental of all human rights—the right to life—as well as the rights to moral and religious liberty are explicitly acknowledged in our nation’s founding documents. By compelling individuals and institutions to help women kill their innocent unborn children regardless of moral objection to an intrinsically evil practice, the HHS mandate violates our sacred rights to life and liberty enshrined in the Declaration and the Constitution. Abortion violates the unalienable rights to life and liberty of the innocent unborn human being in its mother’s womb; therefore, it is both murder and tyranny and constitutes a violation of the Declaration and the Fifth Amendment. The HHS mandate violates not only the unalienable rights to life and liberty of the innocent preborn, but also the unalienable right to liberty of the American people, i.e., their freedom to act in accord with the moral law and with their religious beliefs; therefore, it is both murder and tyranny and constitutes a violation of the Declaration, the First Amendment and the Fifth Amendment.

Abortion is clearly gravely immoral, so the case for refusing to cooperate in it is pretty clear-cut. But would a secular nonprofit or business owner have the right to object to providing artificial contraceptives on strictly moral grounds? The answer is yes, and here’s one good reason: Studies prove that many birth control pills act as de facto abortifacients—instead of preventing the conception of a child altogether, they merely prevent a newly conceived child from implanting in its mother’s uterus, resulting in its abortion. Thus a secular nonprofit or business owner may rightly refuse to provide artificial contraceptives to employees on the ground that this would make him or her complicit in the grave moral evil of abortion.

But even if artificial contraceptives did not behave like abortion-inducing drugs, there would still be another argument for a secular nonprofit or business owner to justify withholding them from his or her employees: The use of artificial contraception by married couples is gravely immoral. Non-Catholics may object that this is exclusively a doctrine of the Catholic Church, not a tenet of the universal moral law. However, it is worth remembering that prior to 1920, every single Christian denomination in the United States taught that the use of artificial contraception by married couples was a gravely immoral practice. In doing so, they rightly stood alongside the Catholic Church in upholding a key truth of the unchanging law of God. The fact that most Christian churches in America no longer teach this, and the fact that most Americans who object to the use of artificial contraception within marriage are now Catholic, does not change the truth of the moral law. It merely demonstrates that only the Catholic Church has continued to faithfully proclaim the truth of the immorality of artificial birth control for use by married couples. If something is immoral it is immoral for everyone of all times, regardless of their religious faith (or lack thereof) and regardless of whether certain churches teach the truth of it or not.

The mission of civil government is to protect the God-given rights of its citizens and to promote the common good of society. Religion and morality are powerful allies in achieving both of these objectives. They are what George Washington referred to as “indispensable supports” of our nation’s liberty, the essential foundations of human society. Atop this foundation of religion and morality, the traditional family is the essential basic unit of human society, the place where new human life is welcomed and nourished and where religious and moral values as well as civic duties are inculcated in the next generation of American citizens. Government has a solemn duty to respect religion, morality and the family and to avoid making any policies that would threaten their wellbeing. A government that dares to attack religion, morality, or the family is attacking the very foundations of human society. The Obama administration has dared to attack all three of these foundations of our republic by issuing a law that violates religious freedom, promotes immorality, and discourages families from welcoming new human life into their midst.

Our nation’s founders prophetically warned that the United States would not long endure without the twin pillars of religion and morality, that is, faith in God and adherence to his moral law. If the people of a nation don’t believe that human rights—especially the rights to life and liberty—come from God, then those rights will be perceived as coming from the state and the state will claim the authority to define their limits and to give or take away those rights as it sees fit. And if people don’t believe that it is morally wrong to deprive an innocent person of his or her right to life or liberty, then human life and liberty will not be respected.

Unfortunately, religion and morality mean nothing to the Obama administration. Its healthcare mandate and other radical policies are grounded in the dangerous philosophy of radical secularism, which is the antithesis of everything our nation’s founders believed and did. The central idea of this philosophy is that human society and politics are better off without God and without the constraints of an unchanging moral law. Unlike today’s radical secularists, those few of our nation’s founders who were nonreligious men were not at all hostile to religion. Benjamin Franklin did not refuse to sign the Declaration of Independence because it mentioned or referred to God in several places. On the contrary, the nonreligious founders warmly supported and encouraged the public exercise of religion, recognizing its key importance to the welfare of the nation. With its outright rejection of religion and moral absolutes, radical secularism is a recipe for national disaster, grimly exemplified in totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and Maoist China.

Despite the claims of the Obama administration, the HHS mandate has nothing to do with looking after the health of the American public, and it makes no sense whatsoever when viewed from that standpoint. For one thing, with this law the federal government is unnecessarily forcing health insurers to include coverage of an over-the-counter drug that is already inexpensive and widely available. Those who do not object to the use of artificial contraceptives within marriage as immoral can easily purchase them at the nearest drugstore for the price of a small bag of dog food. For another thing, giving women drugs to kill their unborn children is not caring for the health of either mothers or preborn infants, and giving people artificial contraceptives (many of which are de facto abortifacients) and surgical sterilization procedures so that they can’t have children is not health care either. None of these so-called “preventive services for women” are necessary or even beneficial to the health and well-being of American women; on the contrary, they are unnecessary and harmful to both. The negative effects of abortion on the physical, mental and emotional health and well-being of women are now well documented: cancer, pregnancy complications, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, guilt feelings, and suicide. Furthermore, artificial contraceptives have been shown to be harmful to the natural environment; their chemical waste byproducts pollute our nation’s water and soil and end up contaminating our food supply, which also degrades our health. Seen objectively, the HHS order is an irrational and self-destructive national policy of population control: By helping American women to not bear children, it places the future of our entire nation at risk. Leaving aside for the moment all considerations of morality, religious liberty, and constitutionality, these facts alone would render the “healthcare” mandate a grossly irresponsible, foolhardy and unethical decree of the federal government.

So if the HHS mandate is not about health care, what it is about? The answer is: money. The mandate is driven by powerful corporate interests—specifically the abortion, pharmaceutical, and insurance industries—which stand to profit immensely from legally mandated consumption of their products. Unfortunately, these wealthy and influential corporate giants are better represented in Washington, D.C. than the American people themselves are. They have bribed the Obama administration to give them exactly what they want—and they will do whatever it takes to ensure that the “healthcare” law remains firmly in place, no matter how destructive it is to our country.

To summarize: what is wrong with the HHS mandate?

1. It is unpopular. The HHS mandate is being imposed on our nation by Washington bureaucrats in the face of massive and sustained opposition from the American people. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, which gives the Obama administration the authority to issue the HHS mandate, was rammed through Congress and signed into law by President Obama despite the vociferous and well-founded objections of a large majority of his constituents that it failed to adequately protect their moral conscience rights and religious freedoms. Polls taken from 2009 up to today have consistently registered two-thirds of Americans as strongly opposed to ObamaCare, which makes it the most controversial and unpopular reform legislation in American history.

2. It is unjust. Never before in U.S. history has the federal government enacted a law that forces people to violate their moral consciences and religious precepts. Such compulsion is unjust because it infringes on the basic human rights to act in accord with the moral law and with one’s religious faith.

3. It is unconstitutional. The HHS mandate violates our First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion as well as the Fifth Amendment rights of unborn and born Americans not to be deprived of life or liberty, respectively, without due process of law.

4. It is immoral. It is one thing and bad enough for a government to legalize a gravely immoral act such as abortion. However, it is another thing and far worse for a government to legally compel its subjects to violate the moral law. No government has the right to order certain people to help other people do gravely immoral things such as murder their preborn children or render themselves infertile. Yet this is exactly what the federal government under the Obama administration is doing with the HHS mandate: forcing American citizens to participate in the gravely immoral acts of abortion, contraception, and sterilization.

5. It is an attack on religion, morality, and the family—the three basic pillars of human society and national life.

6. It is grounded in the dangerous philosophy of radical secularism, the idea that God and the moral law must be expelled from public life.

7. It is unnecessary. Abortion is not health care, and artificial contraceptives are already inexpensive and widely available for those who do not object to their use.

8. It is destructive to the public health. Abortion is harmful to the health of women, and artificial contraceptives generate toxic waste.

9. It is irresponsible. Preventing women en masse from having children is a recipe for national suicide.

10. It is driven by corporate greed. At bottom, the HHS mandate is nothing other than pork barrel for the abortion, pharmaceutical, and insurance industries.

Since announcing this high-handed and unprecedented “healthcare” directive over a year ago, the Obama administration has utterly failed to grant American religious institutions and business owners the basic freedom to act in accordance with their moral convictions and religious beliefs. The two HHS “compromises” presented thus far, with their narrow “exemptions” and dubious “accommodations,” are mere facades, totally devoid of genuine protections for the religious liberties and conscience rights of the American people. They’re carefully calculated political gestures designed to give the appearance of compromise and intended to weaken public resistance to a law that is immoral, unjust, and unconstitutional—a law that President Obama and his tyrannical accomplices have foisted on our nation without our consent, a law that they have no intention of rescinding or of substantially altering to comply with the First and Fifth Amendments.

The HHS mandate has been and continues to be loudly decried as an attack on religious liberty and the First Amendment, which it certainly is. But even more fundamentally, it is an attack on the moral law and on our right to act in accordance with that law. Perhaps, in our response as Catholic American citizens to the Obama administration’s radical anti-life policy, too much emphasis is being placed on the religious liberty and legal aspects of the issue and not enough on the moral and human rights aspects. The core of the issue is that the mandate forces American employers to purchase and distribute to their employees things that are gravely immoral for use either by pregnant women or by married couples. As Catholics, we need to articulate a more coherent defense of the moral law and of our right to act in accordance with it—defending principles that we hold in common with other religious believers as well as with many atheists and agnostics—in order to combat the insidious propaganda of the Obama administration more effectively.

The HHS mandate is an immoral and unjust law; therefore, we the people of the United States have not only the right but the moral duty to refuse to obey it—and to work for its full reversal. It’s not enough to merely demand further exemptions from the mandate; this approach is inherently flawed because it implies tacit acceptance of an unacceptable law. For the reasons given in this article, the so-called “healthcare” mandate in principle is intrinsically, profoundly and irredeemably flawed, and because of that it must be completely overturned. We must not allow ourselves to become discouraged by the obstacles we face in achieving this necessary goal. We must not give in to a subtle defeatist mentality and cowardly surrender to the mandate as though it were somehow irreversible. Such a dangerous and evil law cannot stand for long without wreaking tremendous havoc on our nation. We the people of the United States must keep up the pressure on the Obama administration to revoke this terrible law—and if it refuses to do so, we must use our heads when we next go to vote and select responsible leaders who will protect and defend our God-given unalienable rights to life and liberty, so that we will once again be “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Copyright © 2013 Justin D. Soutar. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Quote of the Day

The Good Samaritan by Jan Wijnants (1670)
The topical relevance of the parable [of the Good Samaritan] is evident. When we transpose it into the dimensions of world society, we see how the peoples of Africa, lying robbed and plundered, matter to us. Then we see how deeply they are our neighbors; that our lifestyle, the history in which we are involved, has plundered them and continues to do so. This is true above all in the sense that we have wounded their souls. Instead of giving them God, the God who has come close to us in Christ, which would have integrated and brought to completion all that is precious and great in their own traditions, we have given them the cynicism of a world without God in which all that counts is power and profit, a world that destroys moral standards so that corruption and unscrupulous will to power are taken for granted. And that applies not only to Africa.

We do of course have material assistance to offer and we have to examine our own way of life. But we always give too little when we just give material things. And aren't we surrounded by people who have been robbed and battered? The victims of drugs, of human trafficking, of sex tourism, inwardly devastated people who sit empty in the midst of material abundance. All this is of concern to us, it calls us to have the eye and the heart of a neighbor, and to have the courage to love our neighbor, too. For--as we have said--the priest and the Levite may have passed by more out of fear than out of indifference. The risk of goodness is something we must re-learn from within, but we can do that only if we ourselves become good from within, if we ourselves are "neighbors" from within, and if we then have an eye for the sort of service that is asked of us, that is possible for us, and is therefore also expected of us, in our environment and within the wider ambit of our lives.

--Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth--Part One: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration (New York: Doubleday, 2007), pp. 198-199

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Terrorism Strikes Again...

...this time in Boston, Massachusetts, where three innocent human beings were killed and hundreds were injured by two bomb explosions.

This kind of violence is inspired by the Evil One. Nothing can ever justify it. It must be condemned absolutely in the strongest terms. Let us pray for the repose of the souls of those who have died, for healing for the wounded, and for the comfort of the families of all the victims of this terrible crime.

Let us also pray for those who plotted and carried out this abominable act, for their repentance and conversion. And let us continue praying the Rosary for peace in the world.

What is terrorism? Why is it used? Who are the terrorists, and what (if anything) do they hope to achieve by such random acts of violence? What role does terrorism play in the Arab-Israeli conflict? And how can it be effectively combated?

You can get the answers to these and other pressing questions about terrorism--all from a solid, well-researched Catholic perspective guided by Blessed John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and our Catholic bishops--by reading my book America's Back-Door Enemy: Unmasking the Unknown Terrorists. It's available from Tate Publishing in print for $25.99; as a nine-CD audio book for $40.99; and as an e-book for $15.99. To order your copy direct from the publisher, just click on the image below.

 If you can't afford direct from the publisher, no problem--the book is also available on Amazon for only $19.75.

Thank you for checking out my book or even considering doing so. As our Divine Lord and Savior told us, the truth will make us free. May the Risen Lord bless you and all your loved ones with the gift of His peace.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Quote of the Day

"This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent."
--John 6:29

Friday, April 12, 2013

Quote of the Day

The world is now seen as something rational: It emerges from eternal reason, and this creative reason is the only true power over the world and in the world. Faith in the one God is the only thing that truly liberates the world and makes it "rational." When faith is absent, the world only appears to be more rational. In reality the indeterminable powers of chance now claim their due; "chaos theory" takes its place alongside insight into the rational structure of the universe, confronting man with obscurities that he cannot resolve and that set limits to the world's rationality. To "exorcise" the world--to establish it in the light of the ratio (reason) that comes from eternal creative reason and its saving goodness and refers back to it--that is a permanent, central task of the messengers of Jesus Christ.

--Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth--Part One: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration (New York: Doubleday, 2007), p. 174

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Lesson from the Canary Children

by Justin Soutar

(Published on OpEdNews 3/19/13 at
and on Newsvine 3/21/13 at )

Book: Autism—Prevention Care and Management: The Plight of the Canary Children and Their Release From Captivity
Author: Marvin D. Anderson, M.D.
Foreword: Sandra Cabot, M.D.
Introduction: Stephanie Cave, M.D., FAACP
Publisher: G.U.D. Publishers, Cedar, MI
Year of Publication: 2012
Formats: Print paperback/E-book
Number of pages: 212
Price: $19.95
Available from: Amazon and at

Autism—Prevention Care and Management is a groundbreaking and important book that should be read by every American concerned about our individual and public health. Although geared primarily to parents and caregivers of autistic children, the book reveals that the current escalating autism epidemic is merely the tip of the iceberg of an impending national health crisis that the American people simply cannot afford to ignore or sweep under the rug.

The book’s author, Dr. Marvin Anderson, is a longtime conventional medical practitioner specializing in internal medicine and in clinical nutrition; he is also a complimentary physician and has ten years of experience caring for children with autism. He draws on this experience, as well as on recent studies and research conducted by his colleagues in the medical and natural health fields, to take a fresh look at the causes of this childhood developmental disorder and what must be done to effectively manage and prevent it.

While it discusses some quite complex topics and issues from an authoritative and well-researched standpoint, this book is written for the average layperson in a simple, direct style and is very reader-friendly. Each of its six chapters is divided into two main sections, one entitled “The Problem” and the other entitled “The Solution.” Under these two general headings, the discussions are broken down into numerous brief subsections, each with its own descriptive subheading, which enables the reader to easily absorb each crucial bit of information presented. Valuable references and resources for further reading are given in the back of the book and sprinkled through the main text. In addition to traditional print format, the book will soon be available from the Apple i-Bookstore as an e-book for iPhones and iPads.

The picture Dr. Anderson presents is as disturbing as it is revealing. It includes a medical establishment and political system blind to the real causes of a growing autism problem and subservient to a mushrooming vaccination industry that puts private profit ahead of the public health. It includes toxic hazardous waste being “recycled” as a filler ingredient in artificial fertilizers which are spread over American cropland daily. It includes food that is nutritionally deficient, genetically modified, and contaminated with antibiotics, pesticides, artificial growth hormones, and chemical additives. And it includes newborn infants with 287 different toxic chemicals in their umbilical-cord blood, more than two-thirds of which have been banned from the American market for years.

Based on authoritative research, Dr. Anderson shows that childhood vaccinations, gastrointestinal disorders, environmental pollution, nutritional deficiencies, and liver problems are all contributing and interrelated factors in the development of autism. He advocates a balanced and reasonable multi-pronged approach to preventing and treating this disorder that includes more careful, patient-specific regulation and use of childhood vaccinations; correcting gastrointestinal disorders through special dietary restrictions and the use of probiotic supplements; growing one’s own food or purchasing organically grown food; and detoxification of the liver.

In Chapter Two, “The Cumulative Effect,” Dr. Anderson criticizes the American medical establishment to which he belongs for failing to effectively recognize and treat the root causes of the growing autism problem. One of these root causes is the administration of more and more childhood vaccines simultaneously at earlier and earlier ages to infants and young children, some of whose immune systems are not sufficiently developed or healthy enough to properly handle this massive influx of foreign microbes into their bodies. The medical community is allowing the ever-growing vaccination industry to determine ever more rigorous childhood immunization schedules without regard to the potentially harmful side effects of these multiple vaccinations on weaker children. After a brief but forthright discussion of the necessity of childhood vaccinations versus their safety and an urgent appeal to his colleagues to face the autism problem head-on, Dr. Anderson makes a novel yet sensible recommendation: the establishment of a new medical discipline devoted to the administration of vaccinations and to the pre-testing of infants and children in order to determine, on a case-by-case basis, which (if any) vaccines should be deferred to a later age or even withheld altogether. Dr. Anderson partly credits the low incidence of autism among the Amish people to their practice of delaying or withholding childhood vaccinations (p. 31).

Also ignored by the conventional medical establishment is a clear link between gastrointestinal disorders and autism. In Chapter Three, “The Enemy Within,” Dr. Anderson reports that upwards of 75 percent of the children whom he has treated suffer from gastrointestinal maladies. He discusses how various problems in the GI tract can affect the brain and cause behaviorial problems, and he stresses the key role of healthy intestinal flora to overall health. He explains that infants who are breast-fed receive beneficial bifidobacteria through their mother’s milk, promoting the development of a healthy intestinal flora in their guts, while infants who are not breast-fed (such as those in neonatal intensive care units) do not receive this healthy bacteria, allowing harmful bacteria to take root and grow in their GI tracts. Dr. Anderson posits that the latter infants are at higher risk of developing autism due to their intestinal dysbiosis and weakened immune systems. Remarkably, he has found that correcting digestive disorders is the most effective initial remedy for his autistic patients.

Furthermore, the medical establishment pays little attention to the role of environmental poisons, such as heavy metals and industrial chemicals, in the ever-worsening U.S. autism epidemic. In Chapter Four, “Dark Skies and Dirty Water,” Dr. Anderson brings to light some shocking and disturbing facts about the pollution of our natural environment, and he notes a link between increasing environmental toxicity levels and rising autism rates. He explains that autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder because it affects the development of the human embryo in utero. One study found almost 300 different toxic chemicals in the umbilical-cord blood of American newborn children across different social strata, although more than two-thirds of these chemicals have been banned from the American market for years (p. 79). Another study shows that of the 2,863 chemicals manufactured in excess of one million pounds daily in the United States, only 12 of them—0.4 percent—have been tested for neurodevelopmental toxicity in accordance with EPA guidelines (p. 80).

Most shocking of all, Dr. Anderson reveals that our farmland is currently and deliberately being poisoned on a massive scale with “recycled” hazardous waste and sewage. He points out that dangerous toxic waste is a standard filler ingredient in the commercially mass-produced artificial fertilizer products constantly being spread over millions of acres by American mega-farmers. In addition, both hazardous waste and sewage sludge from waste treatment plants are being applied directly to our fields. As an extreme example of the latter waste disposal method, Dr. Anderson quotes Diane Olson Rutter of the Rodale Institute: “’A sickening flow of heavy metals, nerve gas residue, dioxin, PCBs, pesticides, industrial solvents, petroleum oils and radioactive plutonium, americium, radium and strontium-90 makes its way from the Lowry Landfill Superfund site southeast of Denver, down 17 miles of pipe, and into the Denver Metro sewage treatment plant. There it joins the city’s domestic and industrial waste and comes out the other end as sludge. Almost unbelievably, this sludge is then used to fertilize wheat’” (p. 86). Dr. Anderson sounds the alarm that this outrageous, immoral, and widespread practice of converting toxic waste into agricultural “fertilizer” is destroying our nation’s farm soil, imperiling the safety of our food supply, and contributing to growing rates of autism and infertility worldwide. He says, “Respected scientists soberly warn us that something must be done if the human race is to survive.”

What can be done to remedy this alarming situation? Dr. Anderson offers two common-sense solutions: 1) Take control of your own food supply, and 2) care for the soil properly by using natural fertilizer (animal manure, humus) and earthworms (vermicomposting). Dr. Anderson points out that autism rates are very low in Amish communities and in Cuba, where natural methods of caring for the soil are used instead of artificial fertilizer (and toxic waste). He also cites an amazing and hopeful discovery by Austrian researchers, who grew organic vegetables in soil contaminated with nuclear fallout from the Chernobyl accident. Remarkably, these scientists found that applying humus-rich compost to the soil before planting resulted in crops completely devoid of radioactivity (pp. 105-106). Dr. Anderson further notes that in Cuba, the incidence of autism is only one in 16,800 despite a rigorous vaccination schedule and high immunization compliance rate. He links this remarkable finding to the Cubans’ natural methods of soil management and plausibly contends that their resulting good nutrition makes their children’s immune systems strong enough to withstand a heavy vaccination load (pp. 107-108).

This leads directly into a discussion of the critical role of good nutrition in preventing and managing autism—a role not fully appreciated by the current medical establishment. In Chapter Five, “Help from the Barn,” Dr. Anderson points out that conventional food crops grown with artificial fertilizer are not only heavily contaminated but also pathetically deficient in the nutrients required for human health and well-being. He also contrasts the extremely low rate of autism among the Amish—one in 10,000—with the skyrocketing U.S. national rate (one in 150 in 2002, one in 88 in 2008; pp. 32, 197), and suggests that the wholesome agrarian lifestyle of the Amish based on their natural methods of soil treatment is what makes autism practically unknown among them. Dr. Anderson then strongly recommends that families of children with autism who are able to do so should purchase their own small piece of farmland on which to live and grow their own clean and healthy food. For families of autistic children who are unable to do this, he says, the next best option is to purchase the best organically grown food available and add nutritional supplements.

In Chapter Six, “The Canary Children,” Dr. Anderson emphasizes that a clean and properly functioning liver is absolutely critical to the health of the immune system and thus to the health of the body in general. He points out that our livers are generally overstressed by environmental poisons and weakened by nutritional deficiencies. Dr. Anderson explains that the underdeveloped livers of many modern infants and young children in particular are being overwhelmed and clogged by the tidal wave of multiple vaccinations, prescription drugs, harmful bacteria, and artificial chemicals coming at them; as a result, their immune systems are compromised and begin to malfunction, leaving their bodies exposed to harmful invaders and leading to autoimmune diseases. Dr. Anderson observes that toxic heavy metals not deactivated by the liver and removed via the excretory system are allowed to circulate in the bloodstream and, due to their fat-soluble nature, are deposited in organs of the body with a high fat content such as the brain, resulting in autism and other serious behaviorial disorders.

Photo credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos
Used with permission

Some people may reasonably ask: If all of the foregoing is true, why aren’t all Americans ill? Good question. In the first and last chapters of the book (Chapter One entitled “Sink or Swim”), Dr. Anderson responds that each individual’s health background and biochemical makeup is different and explains how some people, for various reasons, are better able than others to handle the same toxic load. Dr. Anderson warns that the rapidly growing ranks of autistic children in the U.S. today signal an impending national health crisis of unprecedented proportions. Like canaries in a coal mine, these unfortunate individuals are the first victims of our irresponsible agricultural practices and heavily poisoned modern environment—and unless we do something about it soon, our country will be in serious trouble.

Autism—Prevention Care and Management is a powerful wake-up call for the American people to the reality of the health catastrophe our nation is staring in the face unless we have the wisdom and courage to change our agricultural policies, beginning at the grassroots level of the individual person and family. It’s a timely reminder of the truth once stated by FDR that a nation that destroys its soil destroys itself. This book deserves a mass audience and I highly recommend it to everyone.

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Copyright © 2013 Justin D. Soutar. All rights reserved.

Thought for the Day

Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives! Are we often weary, disheartened and sad? Do we feel weighed down by our sins? Do we think that we won’t be able to cope? Let us not close our hearts, let us not lose confidence, let us never give up: there are no situations which God cannot change, there is no sin which he cannot forgive if only we open ourselves to him.
--Pope Francis