A funny thing happened to me just now when I tried to watch a video of top-flight marriage defender Ryan Anderson on the Washington Post site where he was sympathetically profiled a couple of days ago. It wouldn't play. I am always prepared to find that there's something wrong at my end when the internet won't deliver its goods to me, but in this case I very much suspect that there is mischief afoot. There are people who don't want Ryan to be heard, especially not in the maintsream media. Just watch what happened here on something called the Ed Schultz Show a couple of weeks ago. Shut up! the "host" explained. And read in Michael Cook's piece what happened when Ryan's old school posted a link to the Wapo article.
Anyway, nothing can stop this guy speaking. He is all over the country at once. Robert P. George, his former professor, calls him "a force of nature" and that sums up the Ryan Anderson effect perfectly. I would go so far as to say that he has done more than anyone else in America to explain the case against same-sex marriage -- and that's saying a lot, because there are so many people people in the US doing a brilliant job on this front. Thanks to all of them.
Just checked the video again - no luck. If you manage to see it, let me know. If not, you could always watch this one again.
Two of our bloggers pounced on a news story this week about a scheme in Holland (and a few other places) to give university students free accomodation in resthomes in return for spending some time with the elderly residents. Since the bloggers in question, Tamara Rajakariar and Marcus Roberts, are two of our younger contributors, for whom university days are more than a dim memory, if they think this is a great idea it must be -- at least from a student point of view. From a more advanced point on the age spectrum I can imagine it being attractive in one's declining years as well.
Speaking of university, Kevin Ryan has his own solution for solving the accomodation problem, as you can discover in his piece today.
As a sport, golf baffles me. My career ended long ago on a drizzly day when I took a divot out of a green and it was agreed that I should retire early. However, I admit that there can be a lot of human drama in golf, like Jordan Spieth's splendid win in the Master's earlier this month. At 21, he is the second youngest to win the Master's, behind Tiger Woods.
There's a back story to Spieth's accomplishment, which is illustrated in the video on MercatorNet's home page today. Check it out. He has an intellectually disabled 14-year-old sister, Ellie, who is his biggest fan and his inspiration. He has already launched a philanthropic foundation to help kids with special needs.
“Ellie certainly is the best thing that’s happened in our family,” Spieth told one newspaper. “It helps put things in perspective that I’m lucky to play on tour and to compete with these guys, it’s been a dream come true. I definitely attribute a lot of that to her.” The attention given to Jordan and Ellie by the media is certainly welcome. Far too often the disabled are seen as burdens. But, like Ellie, they help us reach higher as we try to help them.
Although her first campaign video is a propaganda jewel, Hillary Clinton must be the most peculiar family values candidate ever. Most family-values politicians have photos of themselves with their immediate family, but there's not a sign of Bill and Chelsea here. But then again, as Carolyn Moynihan points out below, Mrs Clinton has a most peculiar view of the family, one that many, if not most, voters with families do not share.
Same-sex marriage is a headline issue, but if there is a contest for advancing the decline of traditional marriage, co-habitation clearly takes the trophy. In many countries, more young people are living together "without the benefit of clergy", as they used to say, than are walking down the aisle.
Is "try before you buy" really a good idea?
Dr Patricia Lee June, of the American College of Pediatricians, says it isn't. In a stunning article below, she shows that life as a cohabiting couple is shorter, poorer, unhealthier and unhappier than life as a married couple -- even if the man and woman later marry. It is a sombre message which young people need to hear.
New research shows that the religious population is growing faster than the non-religious, but Christians have no reason to feel complacent. Muslims are catching up and could overtake Christians by the end of the century.
Still looking ahead, Marcus Roberts finds that he will turn 116 (the age of the oldest person in the world, Gertrude Weaver, for the six days prior to her death on Monday) in 2101. Gertrude said the key to longevity is to treat people with kindness, so I think there's a good chance Marcus might make it.
David Cameron in our new video -- recommended by a reader -- praises Christians for their kindness. That is kind of nice, although one cannot forget that he has made life more difficult for Christians in Britain (some at least) by introducing same-sex "marriage" on his watch. As the Welsh say, "There's nowt so queer as folk."
One of the big stories of the week -- a Columbia University report confirming that a sensational Rolling Stone story about rape at the University of Virginia was based on a big lie -- has people asking how that could happen. My own reaction is, beware of any sensational story. Barbara Kay in her piece traces the journalist's gullibility to "the myth that rape is a common crime on campus that is not taken seriously" and a readiness to believe the worst of men. I must say that I have wondered myself whether American university campuses could be as bad as all the reports about "rape culture" suggest. What do you think?
Today's good news story can be found in the front page video spot. In this two-minute film Dolmio combines self promotion with a great message about family life. I am guessing you will want to send it to your friends.
Today, Francis Phillips reviews what sounds like a fascinating , if controversial, book on how the "great dictators" of the first half of the 20th century attempted to mould and manipulate family life for political ends. According to the author, this tactic was as its most destructive in post-revolutionary Russia and least destructive in Italy, for reasons you can read for yourself. Paul Ginsborg also looks at the families which nurtured the tyrants, which in itself would be a fascinating read. It is good to see the family getting some serious attention from historians, even if, in this instance, it is during a period of extreme and and destructive forces.
It was only last week, was it not, that I said religion was a subject difficult for us to avoid, and so it appears again today in Zac Alstin's piece about the resurgence of paganism in Iceland. A Norse temple is under construction -- who could resist prying into that?
Among today's articles is an account of Paul Sullins defence of his study of the emotional wellbeing of children being raised by same-sex couples. The social science closed shop of America has tried to discredit it but Sullins' defence is almost as revealing as the study itself. This is all deadly serious stuff as it is arriving at the US Supreme Court in the form of amicus curiae briefs on the issue of same-sex marriage. We can never forget that the wellbeing of many children hangs in the balance.
It is that time of year when Christians throughout the world commemorate and celebrate, relive liturgically, the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. At MercatorNet we try not to wear our faith on our sleeve, so to speak, but religious faith of one sort or another is so often in the news that it is difficult to avoid talking about it.
The more that articles of the Christian faith are questioned, attacked and ridiculed, the more reason there is for believers to understand them better and explain them better. This is what Jesuit priest Fr James Schall writes about in his article, Why the Resurrection? He says:
In this sense, the biggest skeptics about the truth of the Resurrection are, or ought to be, Christians themselves. This approach means that not only do the facts of time and place have to be coherent, but the understanding of what is going on has to be logical and explainable. It has been the considered judgment of philosophical Christians, reflecting on the evidence, that no effort of archeology, critical analysis, historiography, or science to dislodge the facts and thus the truth of this event’s reality has been successful. They remain open to consider any new hypothesis or evidence to the contrary.
In the end, though, such great mysteries can only be understood from the inside, after an act of faith, by contemplating them and celebrating them. To all who are about to do that this weekend, to all who are sympathetic but unable to believe, and even to those who find intellectual excitement in trying to demolish what they think is a myth -- Happy Easter!