Columns

From the category archives: Columns

Editorial

'Phobic phobia' puts a halt to reasoned debate

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April 18, 2016

The weakest form of argument is the ad hominem; you try to vanquish your debating opponent, not by discrediting his or her argument, but by attacking the person making the argument. For example, "Don't believe what Al Gore says about global warming; he's made millions from giving talks on the subject." Monroe Beardsley, in his classic logic textbook Thinking Straight, calls the ad hominem a "kind of emotional appeal that is very common." Although the ad hominem is a form of distraction, it can deter onlookers from accepting an opposing point of view.

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Practical atheism lies at the root of Panama Papers scandal

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April 18, 2016

The Panama Papers scandal has revealed - as if we did not already know - that the wealthy have different modus operandi than the rest of us poor sods. Those who labour for a salary or an hourly wage would find no benefit in setting up offshore shell companies to avoid paying taxes. One source of scandal in these revelations is that billionaires strenuously avoid paying taxes to the countries that make them wealthy. Do they have any sense of social responsibility?

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Canada must play role in halting Middle East genocide

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April 4, 2016

The declaration by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that atrocities being committed against Christians as well as Yezidis and other minorities in the Middle East amounts to genocide is a welcome recognition of the reality faced by millions of people in the region. The U.S. declaration, combined with a similar stance by the European Union, surely implies that the nations of the world must act effectively to halt the slaughter which is occurring.

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Trudeau ignores moral duty in proceeding with Saudi arms pact

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April 4, 2016

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tried to claim the moral high ground for his decision to proceed with a $15-billion arms deal with the government of Saudi Arabia. Speaking to the United Nations March 15, Trudeau said the government must honour all contracts signed by the previous government whether it agrees with those contracts or not. It does not seem to matter to the prime minister that there is near-moral-certainty that the light armoured vehicles (aka, tanks) will be used in suppressing dissent and the human rights of the Saudi people.

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Guilty bystanders can be saved by repentance

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April 4, 2016

St. Peter's speech on Pentecost to "men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem" is one of the most dramatic moments in the Acts of the Apostles (2.14-36). In the speech, Peter directly accuses his hearers of crucifying Jesus and then proclaims that God "raised him up." Hearing his speech, the men "were cut to the heart" and asked Peter how they could overcome their sin. "Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins," Peter replied. That day, about 3,000 souls were baptized (2.37-41).

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Folly of the cross provides the hope for Church and society

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March 21, 2016

The cross is not only the toughest aspect of the Christian faith to accept, but also the most important. North American Christians, living in the most affluent time in history, may want to downplay the cross and hurry on to the resurrection. With the resurrection, those uncomfortable nails are no longer driven through the hands and feet, to say nothing of having to endure that scratchy crown of thorns. With the resurrection, one might even enjoy a margarita on the beach, if not a piece of fish.

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Limiting physicians' conscience rights would have dire implications

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March 21, 2016

Physicians have a right to refuse to participate in assisted suicide, but they should have no right to refuse to refer a patient who wants assistance in dying to another physician who will help that patient. That was one central conclusion in the report of the parliamentary committee on physician-assisted dying issued last month. In short, a physician should have a right to be true to his or her conscience on matters of life and death, but has a responsibility to help every patient who wants to exercise his or her supposed right to receive help in dying.

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Parliamentary report on euthanasia is odious, reprehensible

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March 7, 2016

The parliamentary committee on assisted suicide and euthanasia has called for the gates to those ways of being put to sleep to be opened as wide as currently possible in Canadian society. If Parliament accepts the committee recommendations, it will put Canada on a slippery slope to the day when the supposed right to assisted suicide becomes an obligation. Even without the slippery slope, the committee report is a horrible, odious, reprehensible call for slaying human dignity.

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Mental health needs greater priority

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March 7, 2016

The most important things about the Alberta government's mental health review are that it was done and that Health Minister Sarah Hoffman has said that implementing the report's 32 wide-ranging recommendations will be a government priority. Over the years, mental health services have become the poor child of the province's health care system. That reality, as the report pointed out, has major human and financial costs. One "cost" is that more than 500 Albertans a year die from suicide. Other costs are that people with mental health issues find the current system difficult to negotiate and, if they have housing problems, they have a higher risk of running afoul of the criminal justice system.

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'Social revolution' calls for concerted response

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March 7, 2016

Archbishop Richard Smith, in announcing new archdiocesan initiatives to combat the culture of death (Page 3), refers to the current process of legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide as a social revolution. That is an apocalyptic outlook, and it is an accurate one. The social revolution of which we are in the midst includes a rash of initiatives in recent decades - legal abortion, no-fault divorce, widespread contraception, same-sex marriage, gender ideology and now the termination of the lives of the sick and suffering.

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