Only Spank Kids on Their Behinds

So say Manitoba social workers (who actually don't support spanking, just so you know).

Manitoba social workers want parents of an orthodox Mennonite community to promise they will only spank kids on their behinds and not use objects, such as belts, as punishment.

Makes sense to me. (“But I suppose that comma after objects shouldn’t be there,” said the Grammar Guardian.)

The parenting rules and discipline guidelines are spelled out in a recent letter from the government’s Child and Family Services Department to members of the tiny community, where Mounties made arrests over several weeks this summer.

The Canadian version of CSD actually allows spanking?! 😯 Read it all

Northern Youth Programs

Clair and Clara Schnupp

Hey! I know these people!

WORLD Magazine | Northern light

One reason they are talking is the influence of Northern Youth Programs (NYP) and its founders Clair and Clara Schnupp, who have been married and flying all over the Arctic and North America in ministry for 50 years. Beyond the novelty of their given names and Mennonite dress, they are both licensed pilots. They met as counselors at a summer Bible camp in Ontario and married in 1959. They began Northern Youth Programs ministering to at-risk children on the streets of Thunder Bay, Ontario, in 1967.

According to Clair, sexual abuse and absentee fathers are the leading causes of suicide—six times greater in aboriginal populations than among others—and over time this is where NYP has focused much of its effort. Northern Youth’s programs include summer camps and prison ministries, but its soul is in its counseling seminars and family life training to help native people heal from the trauma of sexual abuse and become better parents.

Years ago, Clair graciously and generously gave me permission to translate into Spanish their Family Life Seminar. Thank you!!! My project eventually turned into a Mexican-ized “production” of my own and not really a translation of their work. Publicadora La Merced in Costa Rica happily took my finished work for final editing and publishing…over 15 years ago.

And even more years ago, Ruby and I (we weren’t married yet) attended one of the Schnupp seminars at Fairview Mennonite Church (near Albany, Oregon).

If I may, I’ll play the so-called Mennonite Name Game by saying that one of my first cousins married one of the Schnupp daughters. 🙂

Canada: Hate Speech Law Unconstitutional

More good news (I guess) on the freedom of speech front:

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on Wednesday ruled that Section 13, Canada’s much maligned human rights hate speech law, violates the Charter right to free expression because it carries the threat of punitive fines.

The shocking decision by Tribunal member Athanasios Hadjis leaves several hate speech cases in limbo, and appears to strip the Canadian Human Rights Commission of its controversial legal mandate to pursue hate on the Internet, which it has strenuously defended against complaints of censorship.

It also marks the first major failure of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, an anti-hate law that was conceived in the 1960s to target racist telephone hotlines, then expanded in 2001 to the include the entire Internet, and for the last decade used almost exclusively by one complainant, activist Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman.


All sides seem to agree, however, that the stage is set for pitched battle in federal court, where CHRT rulings can be appealed. Another less likely outcome is for Parliament itself to repeal or amend Section 13, a law that even supporters say needs updating in the age of the Internet.

Source: National PostHate speech law unconstitutional

Canada: Eroding Freedoms

Two stories via Persecuted Church:

Hutterite colony loses battle over photo ID

Yesterday (July 24, 2009) the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that all driver’s licences in Alberta must require photo ID regardless of one’s religious beliefs. After hearing the appeal by members of the Wilson Hutterite Colony more than nine months ago, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered a close 4-3 judgment to uphold Alberta rules requiring a digital photo for all new licences. Some Hutterite sects, however, believe the second commandment forbidding idolatry prohibits them from willingly having their photograph taken.

Saskatchewan marriage commissioner loses appeal

Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Janet McMurty has upheld the ruling of the human rights tribunal that marriage commissioner, Orville Nichols did not have the right to refuse to marry a same-sex couple in April 2004 on basis of his personal Christian beliefs. The tribunal had also ordered Nichols to pay the complainant (a man identified only as M.J.) $2,500 in compensation.

Nichols had appealed the May 23, 2009 ruling, arguing that his religious beliefs should be protected under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. McMurty dismissed his argument, however, in her 39-page ruling today, concluding that the human rights tribunal was “correct in its finding that the commission had established discrimination and that accommodation of Mr. Nichols’ religious beliefs was not required.”

The Hutterite story is of particular interest to me since their historical roots are Anabaptist, just like mine.

Three Strikes, Who’s Out?

Dollar, Peso, Amero!

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox confirmed the existence of a plan conceived with President Bush to create a new regional currency in the Americas, in an interview last night on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”

It possibly was the first time a leader of Mexico, Canada or the U.S. openly confirmed a plan for a regional currency. Fox explained the current regional trade agreement that encompasses the Western Hemisphere is intended to evolve into other previously hidden aspects of integration.

US Law, UN Law!

The Bush administration is before the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn the death penalty, at the behest of the International Court of Justice, a division of the United Nations.

Free Speech, Zoned Speech!

A street preacher whose annual fall campaign often includes a stop in Philadelphia, the self-described “Birthplace of Liberty,” has been arrested for speaking against abortion on public property outside the building housing the Liberty Bell.


While he was speaking, National Park Service rangers ordered him and others in his group to the other side of the building, where they said they had set up a “free speech zone,” which was far away from any pedestrian traffic entering or leaving the building.

Mennonites and Government Schools

Mennonites may flee Quebec town:

Members of Quebec’s only Mennonite community say they may move to Ontario or New Brunswick so they can keep their children in a private school that suits their religious beliefs.

Fifteen English-speaking Mennonite families in this small community in the Monteregie region say they won’t send their children to government-approved schools, balking at the teaching of evolution, the acceptance of gays and lesbians and low “morality standards.”

They say they are considering relocation out of fear that child-protection officials will seize their children.

Other townspeople here — mostly francophone Catholics — support the primarily English school, deemed illegal by Quebec’s Education Department.

The story continues:

He said about 30 members of the community — young couples and their school-aged children — will have to move before school starts. The others will follow.

News reports last year about unsanctioned schools led to a complaint to the Education Department about the Mennonite school.

Parents were warned they would face legal proceedings if their children aren’t enrolled in sanctioned schools this fall. That could lead to children being taken from families

And this:

In Roxton Falls, the vast majority of non-Mennonites strongly support the school, said the town’s Mayor, Jean-Marie Laplante. This week, he wrote letters to the education department and Education Minister Michelle Courchesne in an effort to save the school.

We’ll see how it all shakes out.

I empathize (or at least sympathize) with my fellow-Mennonites and fellow-parents, but I wonder if Mr. Goosen didn’t overstate his case with this comment:

“It boils down to intolerance to our religion” by education officials, said Ronald Goossen, who in the early 1990s was among the first Mennonites from Manitoba to move to Roxton Falls, a sleepy town on the Riviere Noire, about 100 kilometres east of Montreal.

If they truly fail to meet whatever standards the state has, then change or move or appeal, but please don’t play the intolerance card.



Food Fight (and More)!

In Hong Kong:

A transatlantic row on food aid boiled over and anti-globalisation protesters clashed with police on Tuesday as troubled trade talks got under way in Hong Kong.

Tension between the United States and the 25-nation European Union burst into the open as the meeting got under way, with European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson calling for “radical reform” to the U.S. system of food aid for developing nations.

Meanwhile, another marriage chapter begins to open in the US and Canada (and elsewhere also, no doubt:

“Polygamy rights is the next civil rights battle.” So goes the motto of a Christian pro-polygamy organization that has been watching the battle over homosexual “marriage” rights with keen interest.

Oh, and speaking of marriage, here’s a story from Northern Africa somewhere:

Four American women — a missionary named Molly*, a journeyman named Susan* and two volunteers — sit among a dozen or so African prostitutes in a circle of mismatched chairs and a couch. They all listen intently as the Old Testament story of Joseph and Potiphar plays from a cassette. From the hall outside comes the sound of Molly’s toddler, Joshua*, playing with African friends.

In a home across town, Molly’s husband, Mike*, pulls dishes from the cabinet and sets out two pans of lasagna to thaw, getting ready for the evening’s house church. Christopher*, the couple’s 3-year-old, throws a ball outside with a neighbor.

And while we’re focused on family, some public school parents may have had a rude awakening in Hillsboro County, Florida:

In a districtwide survey, nearly half of high school students and one in five middle school students said they have had sexual intercourse, and a higher percentage of high school boys than girls reported being physically hurt by their “significant others.”

Before we leave Florida, there’s this from West Palm Beach:

They could be called the other “anti-abortion” photographs, if photographer J. Scott Kelly could stomach those words for only a moment.

Instead of trying to persuade people not to do something with what he describes as gruesome “shock and awe” pictures plastered on buses and the like, Kelly decided last spring that he wanted to sway expectant mothers from abortion by exhibiting the tenderness of parenthood in poster-sized black-and-white studio portraits.

North Carolina is (back?) in the ACLU crosshairs:

In an effort to end the Bible’s monopoly on the swearing-in procedure in the courtroom, the American Civil Liberties Union is now suing the state of North Carolina.

A lawsuit has been filed in Superior Court in Wake County, N.C., on behalf of the organization’s statewide membership of approximately 8,000 individuals of many different faiths, including Islam and Judaism.

And in a Florida courtroom:

For a third time, a court dismissed claims in a lawsuit against Jews for Jesus prompted by a woman who complained she was defamed when the group called her a “Jewish believer” in its newsletter.

This time, Florida State Circuit Court Judge Edward Fine in West Palm Beach dismissed the entire $1 million suit with prejudice, meaning none of the claims can be re-filed.

And in a courtroom in San Diego:

A federal judge on Monday lifted the final legal barrier to completing a border fence meant to thwart illegal immigrants in the southwestern corner of the U.S. The project comprises 14 miles of additional fencing in San Diego.

And in El Paso, Texas, today . . . .

Two national presidents set off an explosion that diverted the Rio Grande, reshaping the U.S.-Mexican border and ending a century-old dispute. President Johnson and Mexican President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz. In 1964.

Further away (I assume), in Adwar, Iraq . . .

Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces while hiding in a hole — two years ago today.

And in Los Angeles, Tookie Williams finished his 26 years (or so) in prison. He left San Quentin a little over seven hours ago. Lying down. In plain sight of a few people. I wonder what he is learning wherever he arrived after that.

“Laughed as he told his friends
how the victim gurgled as he lay dying”

I spent way, way, way too much time at this! 🙁

Above all, love God!