09 December 2012

Advent Hymn: Text, Artwork, Choir.

 
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
 
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
 
 
 

 
O come, Thou Day-star, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
 
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.


 



 

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads to Thee,
And close the path to misery.
 
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

 
 
 
O come to lead us Adonai,
Who to the tribes on height of Sinai
In ancient times did'st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
 
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
 
 

 

 
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
 
 

Allegory of Old and New Testaments
- Hans Holbein the Younger



 


01 October 2012

American Cicero: Carroll the Catholic Founder

The following are insights from historian Bradley J. Birzer, author of American Cicero


Though I've studied the American founding throughout the entirety of my adult life, I'd never had the chance (or, at least, I'd never taken the time) to study much about Carroll.

Prior to the Carroll project, I had never studied Catholicism and its presence or absence in the American founding directly. I had studied the 1774 Quebec Act, perhaps, as J.C.D. Clark has argued, the catalyst for war, and the blatant anti-Catholicism of the American colonials. Prior to starting this project in 2005, I think I vaguely knew Carroll was Roman Catholic, but I was more fascinated with his self-identification, "of Carrollton," and his immense fortune, supposedly the largest in the colonies at the time of the founding. Sadly, prior to my study of Carroll, I also probably confused Charles with his cousin, Jacky (John), the first archbishop in the United States.

Just briefly, for those readers who were like me before I started this project in the fall of 2005--Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the only son of Charles Carroll of Annapolis and a devout Roman Catholic, was born in 1737 and died in November 1832. He was the last of the signers of the Declaration of Independence to die, outliving Jefferson and Adams by over six years. A driving force behind Maryland's move toward independence, Carroll helped shape the fundamental doctrines of rights and government in Maryland. His creation of the Maryland Senate, as admitted in Madison's note on the Constitutional Convention and in Federalist 63, directly inspired the creation of the U.S. Senate. A moderate Federalist, he defended the passage of the U.S. Constitution of 1787 and served as a U.S. Senator for the first several years of the Senate's existence. With the so-called "Revolution of 1800" and Jefferson's ascendence to the presidency, Carroll retired from all active politics but continued to serve as a cultural and political critic during the period of the early republic.



The Title "American Cicero"

Beginning sometime in his teenage years, Carroll fell in the love with the life, the ideas, and the writings of Cicero. From that point until his death in 1832, Carroll considered Cicero one of his closest friends and, as he put it, a constant companion in conversation. After the teachings of Christ and the Bible, he said toward the end of his life, give me the works of Cicero. Again, as Father Hanley has argued, Carroll truly was a Christian Humanist, blending the Judeo-Christian with the Greco-Roman traditions of the West quite nicely in his person as well as in his intellectual life.

The founders, overall, greatly respected Cicero. Not only had he served as the last real bulwark against the encroachment of tyranny and empire in ancient Rome, but he represented the best a republic had to offer, then or now. Probably Carl J. Richard, author of The Founders and the Classics and Greeks and Romans Bearing Gifts, has presented the most extensive and best work on this. Forrest McDonald, too, has done yeoman's work. Classicists Christian Kopff and Bruce Thornton have published excellent studies on this as well.

In many ways, Carroll resembled Cicero not at all. Certainly, no leader ever hunted down Carroll, as Marc Antony did to the great Roman senator. And, while Carroll could speak with force, dignity, and clarity, his oratorical skills could in no way match Cicero's.

But, like Cicero--and, indeed, inspired in large part by the example and words of Cicero--Carroll always put the needs of the res publica ahead of his own personal self interest. In fact, I couldn't find an instance in Carroll's public life where he did not always put the good of the republic ahead of his own good. He served as a model leader.


"An exemplar of Catholic and republican virtue"

Just as figures (some mythical, some historical, most a combination of both) such as Cincinatus and Cicero served as exemplars for the American founders, so Carroll should serve as an exemplar for us. Carroll devoted his considerable resources and gifts to the common good.

We live, however, in an age of cynicism and scandal. Such men as Washington or Carroll seem like cardboard figures to us, mostly because we can no longer imagine what real service and sacrifice means, especially to something so "old fashioned" as the republic. All we have to do is give a sidelong glance toward Washington or Wall Street to see where our society as "progressed": deals, corruption, and the radical pursuit of self-interest infect, inundate, and adulterate almost every aspect of our institutions and so-called leadership. A figure who stands for right seems the fool, the buffoon, or the flighty romantic, merely positioned to be stepped upon or used.

Throughout his public career, Carroll defended the soul and nature of the republic. Like many of the founders, he believed that no people could enjoy the blessings of liberty without the virtue necessary to maintain it. If a man cannot order himself, how can we expect him to order his community?

For Carroll, republican virtue would have flowed neatly into a Catholic understanding of the world. Virtue--our English equivalent of "virtu" or "manly power"--animates a person as well as a society. During the revolution, Carroll used much of his own wealth to maintain armies as well as governments. Never did he expect to be paid back for any of this. As he saw it, God placed him in that time and that place. His material wealth, a blessing, could only be sanctified by using it for God's greater glory. In the providence of history, Carroll believed, the American revolution served not only to give an example of religious liberty to the world, but also a representation and manifestation of God's desire for man to reform, to purify, and to bring society back to first principles.


Carroll's education in Jesuit schools in Europe

 Carroll's education in Jesuit schools in Europe profoundly shaped his political thought and guided his decisions regarding the American Revolution.  He lived with or near the Jesuits for most of his childhood, all of his teen years, and as a young adult. Carroll, with his cousin, John, received a typical Jesuit liberal education, then known as the "Ratio Studiorum." Over a six-year period, students learned Greek and Latin, especially "the acquisition of a Ciceronian style." The education, the Jesuits hoped, would harmonize "the various powers of faculties of the soul--of memory, imagination, intellect, and will." After earning his Bachelor of Arts degree, Carroll earned a M.A. in "universal philosophy." With the M.A. in hand, he studied civil and common law.

Ultimately, he and John Dickinson were the two most formally educated of all the founders. This is, by no means, faint praise. One of the most interesting things to me, especially as a historian, is how much we as an American people have forgotten the educational climate of the colonial and founding eras. At that time, education meant "liberal education." Anything else was considered "servile" or training.

Consequently, the founding generation knew the classical world, inside and out. Perhaps historian and man of letters Russell Kirk put this best in a number of writings. The patrimony of four symbolic cities of western civilization—Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, and London—culminated in a fifth iconographic city, Philadelphia in 1776 and 1787. "The Revolutionary leaders were men of substance—propertied, educated. They read. And what they read made it easer for them to become rebels because they did not see rebels when they looked in the mirror," historian Trevor Colbourn has written. "They saw transplanted Englishmen with the rights of expatriated men. They were determined to fight for inherited historic rights and liberties."


Or, to quote Christian Kopff, quoting the founders themselves--when writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson (1825) explained that he drew on ancient sources:

This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion. All its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, etc.
John Adams sounded very similar to Jefferson, but fifty years (1774) earlier:

These are what are called revolution principles. They are the principles of Aristotle and Plato, of Livy and Cicero, of Sidney, Harrington, and Locke; the principles of nature and eternal reason.
Unlike the French revolutionaries of the 1790s or the Russian revolutionaries of 1917, attempting to create, in the words of Shakespeare, a "brave new world," the American patriots turned the world right-side up. They desired a republic rooted in right reason, first principles, and the Natural Law. From the perspective of the founders, God had written the republican principles of the American Revolution into nature herself. "We do not by declarations change the nature of things, or create new truths, but we give existence, or at least establish in the minds of the people truths and principles which they might never have thought of, or soon forgot. If a nation means its systems, religious or political, shall have duration, it ought to recognize the leading principles of them in the front page of every family book," a leading Anti-Federalist wrote in the aftermath of the war for Independence.

Again, it is worth noting how liberally educated the founders were. As Forrest and Ellen McDonald have written, when a student entered college in the 1750s or 1760s, (usually at age 14 or 15), he would need to prove fluency in Latin and Greek. He would need to "read and translate from the original Latin into English 'the first three of [Cicero's] Select Orations and the first three books of Virgil's Aeneid' and to translate the first ten chapters of the Gospel of John from Greek into Latin, as well as to be 'expert in arithmetic' and to have a 'blameless moral character.'"

This helps us understand why the classical world held such sway over the founding generation. They lived and breathed the classical and Christian worlds in their youth.



Place and influence of the Carroll family
 
Because of its wealth and reputation, the Carroll family stood as the most prominent Catholic family in the colonies. Even after the war, Charles Carroll maintained his position as leader of lay Catholics in America. His cousin, John, made archbishop toward the end of the founding period, wrote to Charles in 1800: "The concerns of our religion in this country are placed especially under my superintendence; and under God, its chief protection has long been owing to the influence and preponderance of yourself & your venerable Father before you."

As Catholics, the Carrolls had suffered severe disadvantages in colonial society. After the so-called "Glorious Revolution of 1688," a group of Protestants overthrew the Maryland government, establishing the Church of England as the only legitimate church of Maryland. Roman Catholics refusing to submit to the Anglican faith could not, by law, serve in politics or law, vote, represent themselves in court, worship in public, or raise the child in a "Catholic fashion." In short, no colony restricted and persecuted Catholics more than did Maryland, once (prior to 1689) the most tolerant of the English colonies.

Charles's father, Charles Carroll of Annapolis, had little choice but to send the future signer overseas, away from Protestant eyes. To have adopted his son legally could have risked the entire Carroll fortune and estate. As an aristocrat, no matter how disenfranchised, Charles Carroll of Annapolis had to uphold the honor of the family, past, present, and future. To endanger the family for an emotional attachment would have been, to Carroll of Annapolis, dishonorable.

From a great distance, Charles Carroll of Carrollton learned these lessons, the lessons of a persecuted minority, and he kept these with him until his death. This helps explain why Carroll proved extremely tolerant as a political leader, advancing the cause of religious liberty wherever possible. As he explained in 1829: "When I signed the Declaration of Independence, I had in view not only our independence of England but the toleration of all Sects, professing the Christian Religion, and communicating to them all great rights . . . . Happily this wise and salutary measure has taken place for eradicating religious feuds and persecution." When one considers "the proscriptions of the Roman Catholics in Maryland, you will not be surprised that I had much at heart this grand design founded on mutual charity, the basis of our holy religion," Carroll explained.


Carroll's View on Democracy


Though elected to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Carroll couldn't attend the august gathering in Philadelphia because of political problems in Maryland. He worried that his absence would encourage his political opponents to create mischief. So, sadly, Carroll never attended the convention. Regardless, he defended the adoption of the Constitution in Maryland, leading the Federalist forces there.

As mentioned previously, he inspired the creation and actual form of the U.S. Senate through his design (with state approval, of course) of the Maryland Senate. In Maryland as well as at the federal level, the Senate would serve as a form of aristocratic check on the executive as well as on the democracy.

As with many of the authors of the Constitution, Carroll feared the growth of democracy. Clearly, the founders incorporated elements of democracy, but they did so in a very limited way. The only true democratic element of the Constitution came in the form of the House of Representatives, one half of one branch of government. The people had no direct say in the election of the president, senators, or the Supreme Court justices. Citizens could vote only for their one representative, representing their one small district. If anything, the Constitution did everything possible to limit the direct influence of the people in any kind of immediate way. Today, we forget this, as we use the term "democracy" to mean almost anything good. Or, at least what we think is good. But for the founding generation, one could readily equate democracy with passion, irrationality, and mob role. Such distrust of democracy in the western tradition went back to Plato.

After a particular radical movement animated by a democratic sentiment emerged in the fall of 1776, Carroll wrote: "They will be simple Democracies, of all governts. the worst, and will end as all other Democracies have, in despotism."

While Carroll believed as many of the other founders did, his anti-democratic language came back to haunt him in the aftermath of Jefferson's election to the presidency in 1800. As America became more democratic in spirit, if not in form, Carroll began to look outmoded and reactionary.

Still, Carroll persevered in his criticism of the direction of the republic. "It is however I find, impossible for a man tainted with democratic principles, to possess an elevated soul and dignified character," he wrote to his son in 1806. "In all their actions and in all their schemes and thoughts, there is nothing but what is mean and selfish."



American Cicero: The Life of Charles Carroll

02 September 2012

Great Public Servant Marking a Catholic Milestone

Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online.



 
The first time Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, met Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan, the congressman was talking about St. Thomas Aquinas. Cardinal Dolan reminisced about the meeting and their subsequent friendship and correspondence during his Sirius Catholic Channel radio show Thursday.
 
The meeting took place at Carthage College, a Lutheran school in Kenosha, Wisc., Dolan, then bishop of Milwaukee, was there to receive an honorary degree; Ryan, a fourth-term congressman, was the commencement speaker that year.
 
“He gave — I timed it — nine minutes, which is excellent, on St. Thomas Aquinas,” recalled Cardinal Dolan, who himself tends to give concise homilies. “It was tremendous, in front of a Lutheran audience,” the cardinal remembered. “So we really started up a great correspondence and got to know each other very, very well.”
 
“We go way back, Congressman Paul Ryan and I,” the cardinal continued. “I came to know and admire him immensely. And I would consider him a friend. He and his wife Janna and their three kids have been guests in my house; I’ve been a guest at their house. They’re remarkably upright, refreshing people. And he’s a great public servant.”

Dolan stressed that he was “speaking personally and not from a partisan point of view. . . . But I have immense regard and admiration and affection for him, just personally.” Dolan added that he is “happy” his friend has the “honor” of being on a national ticket.
 
 
 
 
In his first solo outing this week, Ryan met hecklers criticizing him for policies they believe are against the “common good.” This summer, his budget was criticized on a bus tour by politically active liberal religious sisters, one of whom is on the verge of becoming a talking-head-show regular through Election Day. In his own show, taped Tuesday afternoon and aired Thursday afternoon, Cardinal Dolan acknowledged that Ryan has his critics, but commended the congressman for his efforts to tackle the federal budget deficit.
 
He recalled exchanges they have had about the Ryan budget plan (exchanges that National Review Online first reported on last May) and paraphrased Ryan:
He did say, “I bristle when any Catholic politician who dares to suggest that we need to get our fiscal house in order, that we need to balance the budget, that we need to show some frugality and restraint, is automatically branded as anti-poor. . . . I am passionate about the poor. That, too, comes from my religious conviction. . . . Nobody suffers more from runaway deficits and a poor economy than the poor. And the best way we can help the poor is by getting our financial house in order — meaning jobs will go up, employment will go up, and they’ll be helped.”
Cardinal Dolan summed up his end of the exchange, saying: “And I wrote back and said, ‘You’ve got a good point.’ ‘And,’ I said, ‘let me applaud some of the things you are doing, namely your call for financial accountability and restraint and a balanced budget . . . and . . . let me also applaud your obvious solicitude for the poor.”
 
“Once again it comes down to that prudential judgment. How are we going to do it?” Dolan stressed that he was “not trying to be an apologist” for Ryan:
He and I had a good, heated conversation and I offered some criticism which he was gracious in accepting. . . . [Ryan said he believes it is] “probably time to ask a big question . . . whether so-called entitlement programs are the best way to help the poor. . . . I’m for the entitlement programs. We always have to have a vigorous safety net. But if we don’t do something to save them, our huge entitlement programs, like Medicare and Social Security” — to which he is committed, by the way — “are going to flounder. So I’m kind of the only one saying what we’ve got to do to save them. Please don’t say to me that I’m the one about to undo them. Actually, if we don’t do this, they’re going to be undone.” 
So I admire him. He’s honest. He’s refreshing. Do I agree with everything? No, but . . . I’m anxious to see him in action.
 
In his letter to Cardinal Dolan in April, Ryan wrote:

The vast network of centralized bureaucracies under a government that grows without limits has reached the point where an increasing majority of citizens are now receiving more in government payments than they provide in revenues. We believe human dignity is undermined when citizens become passive clients living on redistributions from government bureaucracies. Twenty years ago Blessed Pope John Paul the Great identified these problems as the “Social Assistance State” in his encyclical Centesimus Annus: “By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.” . . . What he warned against as a threat to human dignity is now being realized in America.
 
On his radio show this week, Cardinal Dolan affirmed that the social-assistance state is “not the end-all, be-all. And it shouldn’t become an end in itself, and sometimes, it can become strangling.”
 
Cardinal Dolan credited Ryan with considering subsidiarity and solidarity, two principles of Catholic social teaching, in his approach to public policy. “It’s a both-and, not an either-or,” consideration, the cardinal said, “as most things in Catholic chemistry are.”
 
Modeling how one would walk through the principles in making policy, the cardinal said:
 

The subsidiarity would seem to say, “Hey, we need to work at the local level: families, neighborhood, churches, volunteer associations. The closer we can get to the folks, and the more we can avoid ‘Big Brother’ government, the better off we are.” That’s subsidiarity, and that’s always been a classic part of Catholic social justice. . . . Solidarity, though, also balances it out to say, “By the way, a civil, virtuous society is going to come together to take care of those most in need.” Now, somewhere between the two — which is another great classic of Catholic social justice — usually in the middle stands virtue.
Dolan welcomed the fact that there is a Catholic on each party’s ticket. “Do you not think it’s a cause for celebration in the Catholic community in the United States of America that the two vice-presidential candidates are Catholic? Did you ever think it would come to this?
 
“We’ve got two men who — and you can disagree with one of them or both of them — say they take their faith seriously, who don’t try to hide it, and who say, ‘Hey, my Catholic upbringing and my Catholic formation influences the way I think.’ Not bad. Not bad.”
 
President John F. Kennedy, Dolan observed, “couldn’t say, ‘My religion will affect my public policy.’ He couldn’t say, ‘My Catholic faith is going to have an impact on the way I govern.’ In fact, he almost had to say the opposite. And now you’ve got two guys . . . who were picked because their Catholicism was attractive.”
 
Ryan’s bishop, Robert Morlino of Madison, also commended Ryan this week, as he has before. “I am proud of his accomplishments as a native son, and a brother in the faith, and my prayers go with him and especially with his family as they endure the unbelievable demands of a presidential campaign here in the United States,” he wrote in the Diocese of Madison’s Catholic Herald. He added:
 

It is not for the bishop or priests to endorse particular candidates or political parties. . . . It is the role of bishops and priests to teach principles of our faith, such that those who seek elected offices, if they are Catholics, are to form their consciences according to these principles about particular policy issues. . . . Some of the most fundamental issues for the formation of a Catholic conscience are as follows: sacredness of human life from conception to natural death, marriage, religious freedom and freedom of conscience, and a right to private property.
“This is a big moment for Catholic voters to step back from their party affiliation,” Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of a new religious-liberty committee of the bishops’ conference, told me in an interview last week, just before Mitt Romney’s announcement about Ryan. Advising Catholic voters, Archbishop Lori said: “The question to ask is this: Are any of the candidates of either party, or independents, standing for something that is intrinsically evil, evil no matter what the circumstances? If that’s the case, a Catholic, regardless of his party affiliation, shouldn’t be voting for such a person.”
 
 
See also: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/267678/shepherding-moral-economic-policy-paul-ryan-and-archbishop-dolan-s-dialogue-catholic-s



 

29 August 2012

Militancy in Central Asia: More Than Religious Extremism

By Eugene Chausovsky

Since 2010, Central Asia has become increasingly volatile, a trend many have attributed to a rise in militant Islamism. Militancy has indeed risen since 2010, but the notion that militant Islamists primarily are responsible for Central Asia's volatility is shortsighted because it ignores other political and economic dynamics at play in the region.

But if these dynamics, not jihadist designs, inspired much of the region's recent militant activity, the impending U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 could put Central Asia at greater risk for militant Islamism in the future. Combined with upcoming leadership changes in several Central Asian states, the withdrawal could complicate an already complex militant landscape in the region.

 

Regional Militancy: Late 1990s and Early 2000s

Central Asia was an important region for Islamist militancy in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The region is predominantly Muslim, though like all religious practices, Islam was suppressed during the Soviet era. Given the region's secularization under Soviet rule, many religious groups and figures either went underground or practiced openly to the extent that the Soviets would allow. These groups and individuals were concentrated in the Fergana Valley, the demographic core of Central Asia that encompasses parts of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Islamists were particularly prevalent in Uzbekistan, which is home to several important religious and cultural cites in areas such as Samarkand and Bukhara.

As Central Asian countries gained independence in the 1990s, religion began to be practiced more openly, and Islamist elements operating on the margins of society were freer to come out accordingly. This created a space in which the Islamist environment grew stronger, just as the ability of the new Central Asian regimes to control and suppress Islamist movements weakened. As a result, some Islamist groups began to call for a regional caliphate governed by Sharia.

Central Asia and the Fergana Valley

Among these groups were the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Hizb al-Tahrir, both of which drew inspiration from the Afghan mujahideen that had fought the Soviet Union from 1979 to 1989. Despite their similarities -- they both advocated ousting Uzbek President Islam Karimov -- the two groups differed in a fundamental way: Whereas the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan used violence to further its cause, Hizb al-Tahrir did not. Other groups, such as Akromiya, would later adopt the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan's use of violence while espousing Hizb al-Tahrir's ideology.

Karimov clamped down on these groups in the early to mid-1990s, but the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan gained refuge in Tajikistan, which was ravaged by civil war from 1992 to 1997. Because of the resultant power vacuum and its long, porous border with Afghanistan, Tajikistan became the primary base of operations for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the group conducted attacks from Tajikistan throughout the Fergana Valley and into southern Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

The 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, a country that provided both material and ideological support to Islamist groups in Central Asia from the ultra-conservative Taliban regime, effectively curtailed jihadist activity and ambitions in Central Asia. With the help of the U.S. military, including U.S. special operations forces, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan was largely driven out of Central Asia, finding refuge in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area. For its part, Hizb al-Tahrir went underground.

The Central Asian regimes, especially Karimov's, were then able to crack down on the remaining Islamist militants. Attacks grew rarer throughout the next decade as militant Islamist groups struggled to survive in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan.

Militancy Since 2010

Militant attacks in the region became more frequent in June 2010, when clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks broke out in Kyrgyzstan's southern Fergana Valley provinces of Osh and Jalal-Abad. As a result, Kyrgyz authorities conducted security sweeps through predominantly Uzbek neighborhoods under the pretense of rooting out suspected militant Islamists.


In reality, these sweeps most likely were directed at ethnic Uzbeks. Many ethnic Kyrgyz have long been suspicious of Kyrgyzstan's ethnic Uzbeks, which constitute a substantial portion of Osh's and Jalal-Abad's population. Thus, security sweeps targeting these areas and the resulting armed resistance to the sweeps do not necessarily fit neatly with the claims of religious extremism. Rather, militant activity could be related to the internal ethnic and political tensions between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. Indeed, these tensions have surfaced periodically since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

A similar dynamic can be seen in Tajikistan. After the country's civil war, reconcilable Islamist militants, such as those of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, were incorporated into the government and security forces, while the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and other jihadist elements were suppressed. Violence peaked in the early 2000s, after which Tajikistan experienced nearly a decade of relative calm. However, a high-profile prison break in Dushanbe in August 2010 interrupted this calm. During the escape, about 24 prisoners deemed former Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan members fled to the Rasht Valley in eastern Tajikistan. This precipitated security sweeps in the Rasht Valley, which in turn led to attacks against Tajik military convoys -- attacks that the Tajik government blamed on Islamist militants.



These militants were much more likely linked to opposition elements from the country's civil war rather than to jihadist militants. (That they fled to the east is telling; those from the eastern provinces of Garm and Gorno-Badakhshan opposed those who came to power in the western provinces of Leninabad and Kulyab.) The jailbreak could have prompted -- or merely been a symptom of -- the resurfacing of the political power struggle among Tajik clans, a struggle that was commonplace during the early years of independence. In itself, the jailbreak does not signify a jihadist resurgence.

Moreover, the ongoing military operations in Gorno-Badakhshan can be seen in a similar light. Security forces were deployed to the region after forces loyal to warlord and former opposition leader Tolib Ayombekov allegedly killed the region's top security officer. But Ayombekov likely did not kill the officer out of any religious motivation. Rather, it was Ayombekov's reported ties to the lucrative regional smuggling networks, as well as his resistance to the regime of Emomali Rakhmon, that led to operations and ultimately the death of the security officer. Like militancy in Kyrgyzstan, much of the militancy in Tajikistan probably is the result of political and ethnic rivalries, not religious extremism.

Kazakhstan likewise challenges the theory that Islamist militancy is proliferating in the region. Given its geographic separation from the Fergana Valley and a comparatively less religious society, Kazakhstan did not experience Islamist militancy in the 1990s and 2000s. However, in 2011 Kazakhstan began seeing militant attacks for the first time in its modern history. That the attacks were conducted with different tactics all across the country, including Almaty, Atyrau and Taraz, is particularly anomalous.

The Kazakh government blamed Islamist militants and religious propaganda reportedly circulating throughout the country. However, the timing of these attacks was curious because they came amid a growing political battle over the succession of the country's long-serving president, Nursultan Nazarbayev. It follows that these attacks could have been inspired less by Islamic radicalism, which has hardly been evident in Kazakhstan over the past 20 years, and more by the power struggle between various players seeking to position themselves for Nazarbayev's succession.

Notably, a jihadist group called the Soldiers of the Caliphate claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, including the October 2011 bombings in Atyrau. The claims suggest there is a genuine militant Islamist threat in Kazakhstan. However, the group was unknown until 2011, and there is little information on its members and leadership.


More recently, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have seen fewer attacks and reports of militant activity. This suggests that their respective internal situations are relatively stable and that their governments are secure enough to not have to use Islamic radicalism to justify their security crackdowns.

While this is probably true for Turkmenistan, the situation is less clear in Uzbekistan, which has been more stable than its neighbors in the Fergana Valley. However, Uzbekistan witnessed an explosion on a rail line near the Tajik border in November 2011. The government labeled the incident a terrorist attack. Since the blast occurred in a remote area with relatively little strategic significance, many speculated that the Uzbek government conducted the attack to halt traffic and goods into Tajikistan, with which Tashkent has had several disputes.

Meanwhile, Uzbekistan is undergoing its own succession struggle, which could result in instability. Indeed, recently there have been reports of protests in the Fergana Valley province of Andijan, the site of a security crackdown in 2005 that killed hundreds. In this instance again, the government blamed the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Islamist militant elements. However, just as in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, this was more likely the result of power struggles within the country.

 

 

Potential Resurgence

As the dynamics and circumstances in most Central Asian countries suggest, oftentimes it is in the government's interest to refer to any militant activity as Islamist. Doing so suggests the activity of transnational rather than localized political elements and gives an excuse to crack down on those elements.

Of course, jihadist groups and elements exist in Central Asia, but most evidence suggests that the serious jihadist players have largely been eliminated, marginalized or pushed into the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater. However, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan could provoke a jihadist resurgence in the region. The security vacuum created by the departure of U.S. and International Security Assistance Force personnel could also destabilize Afghanistan as various internal forces compete to fill the void.


Due to Central Asia's proximity to Afghanistan and the porous and poorly guarded border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, there is certainly potential for violence and instability to spill over. Particularly worrying to Central Asian regimes are the Islamist militants in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area that have survived and become battle-hardened in their war against Western forces. However, there have been reports that Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leader Abu Usman Adil was killed Aug. 4 in Pakistan, suggesting that the group may be struggling to survive even in the Afghanistan-Pakistan area.

The degree to which Islamist militant elements become active in Central Asia again will therefore depend on the U.S. withdrawal and the state of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan by that time. Until then, any developments on the militant front in the region need to be examined within the context of the internal power struggles and political dynamics of each country in addition to the Islamist angle. It is only in this context that the motivations behind militant actors and attacks in Central Asia can truly be determined and anticipated.


"Militancy in Central Asia: More Than Religious Extremism is republished with permission of Stratfor."

 

14 July 2012

World's Most Repressive Societies 2012

Source: http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/special-reports/worst-worst-2012-worlds-most-repressive-societies


Photo Credit | Dr. Ebrahim Othman (pseudonym)
More than 1.6 billion people—23 percent of the world’s population—have no say in how they are governed, and face severe consequences if they try to exercise their most basic rights such as expressing their views, assembling peacefully, and organizing independently of the state. Citizens who dare to assert their rights in these repressive countries typically suffer harassment and imprisonment, and often are subjected to physical or psychological abuse. In these countries, state control over public life is pervasive, and individuals have little if any recourse to justice for crimes the state commits against them.

 

 In this year’s Worst of the Worst report, nine countries were identified by Freedom House as being the world’s worst human rights abusers in calendar year 2011: Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Two disputed territories, Tibet and Western Sahara, were also in this category. All of these countries and territories received Freedom in the World’s lowest ratings: 7 for political rights and 7 for civil liberties (based on a 1 to 7 scale, with 1 representing the most free and 7 the least free). Within these entities, political opposition is banned, criticism of the government is met with retribution, and independent organizations are suppressed.

Seven other countries fall just short of the bottom of Freedom House’s ratings: Belarus, Burma, Chad, China, Cuba, Laos, and Libya. The territory of South Ossetia also is part of this group. All eight, which received ratings of 7 for political rights and 6 for civil liberties, offer very limited scope for independent discussion. They severely suppress opposition political activity, impede independent organizations, and censor or punish criticism of the state.







Sadly, the Worst of the Worst and Threshold countries have endured on average for 37½ years without any transfer of power between competing political parties or forces. Few among them have risen above the Not Free rating in Freedom in the World for more than a few years. Of those that have, Belarus has received a Not Free rating since 1996, within two years of Alyaksandr Lukashenka becoming president; Eritrea has received the lowest possible ratings (6 or 7 out of 7) for political rights since independence in 1993; and Sudan has remained a Worst of the Worst country for every year since 1989, when a military coup brought the current leader, Omar al-Bashir, to power.







The news is not all bad however. The number of Worst of the Worst and Threshold countries has risen and fallen over the years, but the long-term trend is downward. From a peak of 38 such countries in 1984, the number declined to 15 countries in 2003, and stood at 16 countries for 2011. This decline was associated in large part with the move from one-party states and military dictatorships to multiparty systems in Africa and the collapse of communism in Europe.









30 June 2012

Escape from Camp 14

book review by Andrew Anthony, for  The Guardian
source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/apr/13/escape-camp-14-korea-harden-review



One Man's Remarkable Odyssey
from North Korea to Freedom in the West

For outsiders, North Korea can seem less like a nation than a sick joke. What little information emerges from the world's most secretive state is almost too disturbing to process. A communist monarchy and impoverished nuclear power that relies upon slave labour and levels of repression that even George Orwell would have struggled to invent: it's as if Nineteen Eighty-Four was taken not as a critique but a blueprint.

But for North Koreans, like abused children, the grim reality of the Kim family dynasty is all they know. Until recently, full accounts of life in this famine-riven dystopia were hard to come by. Then a couple of years ago, Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy provided excoriating testimonies of refugees who had managed to escape into China and then on to South Korea. The picture those witnesses drew of North Korea was of one vast and brutal gulag.


Now comes Escape From Camp 14, a still more harrowing account of the gulag within the gulag, the huge prison camps that litter the more remote provinces of this benighted country. Written by Blaine Harden, an experienced American journalist, it tells the extraordinary story of Shin Dong-hyuk, the only person born in the gulag to have escaped.

As with the terrors of Stalin and Mao, North Korea judges any crimes against the state as blood crimes. So when Shin's uncle committed the capital crime of escaping from the state, his remaining family were imprisoned for life. Although cohabiting is not allowed in the prison camp, Shin was the result of his parents being granted one of the rare conjugal permits.


Kaechon Internment Camp 14, on Taedong River
drawing by Shin Dong-Hyuk, escapee


Born in 1982, he spent his childhood in unforgiving and unpaid labour, developing the survival skills – snitching and stealing – that were vital for a daily existence, constantly threatened by beating and starvation. At 13, when he learned that his mother and brother were planning to escape, he did what had become instinctive and betrayed them to the authorities. The pair were tortured before his mother was hanged and his brother shot. But Shin, too, was tortured, for weeks in an underground prison within the prison camp, within the prison state. He had upset one guard by giving his information on his mother's plot to another guard, rather than to him.

Shin Dong-Hyuk
The narrative, I should warn sensitive readers, is unyielding in its pain and despair. Except that Shin didn't despair, because despair requires hope and he possessed no hope. He could see no further than his next meal, which was often difficult enough to find. It was only meeting an older prisoner, a disgraced party official who had travelled abroad, that led him to start thinking of a world beyond the electric fence and beyond North Korea. The two planned an escape that only Shin, with no small luck, survived.

Eventually, after sneaking across the Chinese border and finding paid work for the first time in his life, he made his way to South Korea – not a straightforward journey because China, ever indifferent to human rights, sends asylum seekers back to North Korea.





Once in the south, like the majority of North Korean refugees, Shin struggled to settle. The South Korean state offers generous provisions for refugees, but the South Koreans themselves tend to view their northern neighbours as problem cases.

For Shin's part, having been guided from birth by nothing more complex than a desire to assuage pain and hunger, he remained unmotivated by South Korea's preoccupation with profit and competition.

He drifted around aimlessly for a while and then moved to the US, where, despite the support of refugee groups, he has also failed to find a position or place that he can nurture. The sense of chronic, and perhaps incurable, displacement is just one of the legacies of his appalling treatment in North Korea.

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camps also suffered long after their release, but at least they had group solidarity and a distinct place in history. No such consolations are afforded North Korean survivors.  First, they were practically bred to be pitted against one another, and second, as Harden notes: "While Auschwitz existed for only three years, Camp 14 is a 50-year-old Skinner box" – referring to BF Skinner's notorious behavioural experiments.

Shin Dong-Hyuk

To some, perhaps many, this might appear to be a book that has few redemptive qualities. After all, what can be done with this knowledge of suffering? But it's important to recognise the depth of misery in North Korea, not just to be aware of the horror of the Kim regime, but also to stand as a testament to the plight of a terrorised people.

One other reason is to arm yourself against those misguided individuals who continue to see in North Korea an anti-imperialist challenge to the US. They may be rare, but they're not always without influence. One example is Andrew Murray, who, as an executive member of the Communist party of Britain, expressed his party's "solidarity" with Kim Jong-il's "People's Korea".  Murray now sits on the TUC general council and was until recently chair of the Stop the War coalition.

Unfortunately, North Korea's war on its own people shows no sign of stopping.








Andrew Anthony has been writing for the Observer since 1993 and for the Guardian since 1990. He is the author of On Penalties, published by Yellow Jersey Press and The Fallout, published by Jonathan Cape.

28 May 2012

The Art of Happiness

* Translated from the French by the Rev. Matthew Russell, SJ.

"Innocence"
William-Adolphe Bouguereau
I. - PEACEFUL CONSCIENCE

WHAT must we do to be happy? The thing is not hard. Much knowledge is not necessary for this, nor much talent, but only a real good will to do one's duty. Happiness, as far as it can exist here below, consists in peace, in the joy of a good conscience. Our conscience will be joyous and peaceful if it know not remorse; it will not know remorse if we are careful not to offend God. To fly from sin is, therefore, the chief source of happiness on earth. If our conscience is pure, our life will be happy. There are none happier than saints, for there are none more innocent.



II. - THE 4 PILLARS OF HOMELIFE

What is it that secures happiness in a home?  Before everything, religion: let all love well our good God, let all say their prayers morning and  night, let all put their trust in divine providence.  In the next place, union: let the members of the household be affectionate toward one another,  having only one heart and one soul, not saying  or doing anything that may pain any one of them.  Thirdly, the spirit of sacrifice: we must be ready to do without something in order to make another member of the family enjoy it, we must give up our own personal tastes to conform to the tastes of others. Finally, pliancy of character:  not to be hard to deal with, touchy, sour, proud; not to be obstinately rooted in one's ideas, not to  grow impatient about mere nothings, but to have a large mind and a generous heart. A family whose members possess these qualities is a paradise on earth.



III.  - INDULGE OTHERS

There is a word which cannot be said too often to every Christian whom God has destined to live, converse and labor in the society of his fellow creatures: Be indulgent. Yes, be indulgent; it is necessary for others, and it is necessary for your own sake. Forget the little troubles that others may cause you; keep up no resentment for the inconsiderate or unfavorable words that may have been said about you; excuse the mistakes and awkward blunders of which you are the victim; always make out good intentions for those who have done you any wrong by imprudent acts or speeches; in a word, smile at everything, show a pleasant face on all occasions; maintain an inexhaustible fund of goodness, patience, and gentleness. Thus you will be at peace with all your brethren; your love for them will suffer no alteration, and their love for you will increase day by day. But above all, you will practice in an excellent manner Christian charity, which is impossible without this toleration and indulgence at every instant.


"I have sought for happiness in the brilliant haunts of society, in sumptuous banquets, in the glare of theatres, I have sought it again in the possession of gold, in the excitement of the gaming-table, in the illusions of romance; but all in vain — whilst an hour passed in visiting a sick person, or in consoling some afflicted one, has been enough to give me enjoyment more delightful than all delights." — Anon.



IV. - SHOW APPRECIATION

Flattery is never worth anything; but to give a little praise at the right moment to someone under us is an excellent way of encouraging him and giving him a pleasure as sweet as it is salutary. For this a mere "thank you" is enough, an approving smile, a kind look, or even a simple word, such as these: "I am greatly pleased" — "that has succeeded very well" — "this is precisely what I wanted," etc. Why should we always keep up an air of indifference and coldness toward workmen, servants, children, opening our mouths only when we have some rebuke to give them? Is this charitable? Is this Christian? Let us put ourselves in the place of these inferiors, and let us be happy in making them happy. Let us show ourselves satisfied with their good will and make them understand that we love them. Not only will they serve us much better and attach themselves to us with true devotedness, but we shall thus gain their hearts, and it will then be easy for us to secure their fidelity to the duties of religion and the fulfillment of the practices of Christian piety.


V. - GENEROSITY

Economy is praiseworthy; stinginess is not: it contracts the heart of a man and makes him miserable. Pious persons must be on their guard against this snare of the devil, for many are caught in it without knowing. Some persons will give several dollars to a beggar, and an hour after they will haggle about three pennies with an honest workman, or go on bargaining about some worth- less object. Pious Catholics ought not to let it be said that they are harder and fonder of money than other people! They ought not to be afflicted by or bewail any little losses that they may suffer. Let us be economical when there is question of our pleasures, of our table, or of our dress; but let us be large-hearted and generous in all our relations with others.


VI. - THANKSGIVING

A poet was gazing one day at a beautiful rose-tree. "What a pity," said he, "that these roses have thorns!" A man who was passing by said to him: "Let us rather thank our good God for having allowed these thorns to have roses." Ah! how ought we also to thank Him for so many joys that He grants to us in spite of our sins, instead of complaining about the slight troubles that He sends us!


VII. - DO GOOD

Let us do good, let us avoid evil, and we shall be happy. "There is but one way," said a man of genius, "of being happy, and it is to do well all one's duties."


VIII. - SMILE :-)
How sweet and agreeable an occupation it is to give pleasure to those around us! It is quite natural amongst Christians, but it becomes almost a duty amongst the members of a family or a community, especially toward persons whom age or rank places above us. And, to give pleasure, what is necessary? Things the most insignificant, provided they be accompanied by amiable manners; what is necessary above all is to have habitually a smile on our lips. Oh! who can tell the power of a smile ? For ourselves, it is the guardian of kindness, patience, tolerance, all the virtues that we have occasion to exercise in our relations with our neighbor. There is, in fact, no danger of our being rude or severe so long as a smile rests on our lips. For others, it is a source of contentment, joy, satisfaction and encouragement. Without even uttering a single word we put those around us at their ease; we inspire them with a sweet confidence, if we approach them with a smile. Perhaps you will object that you cannot smile, that you are naturally serious or even severe. Undeceive yourself: with real good will you will acquire this empire over yourself, you will soon do by custom what you at first did by constraint; and the interior joy that you taste will recompense you superabundantly for your trouble and your efforts.



 
IX. - STEADY ONWARD
 
Keep Calm and Fulfill Your Duties
A great secret for preserving peace of heart is to do nothing with overeagerness, but to act always calmly, without trouble or disquiet. We are not asked to do much, but to do well. At the Last Day God will not examine whether we have performed a multitude of works, but whether we have sanctified our souls in doing them. Now the means of sanctifying ourselves is to do everything for God and to do perfectly whatever we have to do. The works that have as their motive vanity or selfishness make us neither better nor happier, and we shall receive no reward for them. 



X. - EVERY ACTION MEANINGUL

"I feel happy," said a holy person, "in proportion as I do my actions well." Let us meditate an instant on this luminous saying. To do well what one has to do— here again is the secret of being happy. Every man, then, can be happy; and, if we have not been happy hitherto, it is because we have not put this lesson into practice. But what is necessary for this? Oh, very little. To do every action with a view of pleasing God; to do every action in the manner that God commands, either through Himself or through those who hold His place in our regard; to do every action as if we had nothing else to do but this, and as if we were to die after having done it.
XI. - KEEP YOUR HUMOR

There are some who are affable and gracious to everyone as long as things go according to their wishes; but if they meet with a contradiction, if an accident, a reproach or even less should trouble the serenity of their soul, all around them must suffer the consequences. They grow dark and cross; very far from keeping up the conversation by their good humor, they answer only in monosyllables to those who speak to them. Is this conduct reasonable? Is it Christian? Let us always be kind and good-humored so as always to make our brethren happy, and we shall merit to be always made happy by God.


XII. - BLESSED ARE THEY . . .

Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the meek, blessed are they that mourn, blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, blessed are the merciful, blessed are the clean of heart, blessed are the peacemakers, blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you and persecute you for My sake. St. Matthew v, 3-11.

Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it. St. Luke xi, 28.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation. St. James i, 12.

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Apocalypse xiv, 13.



20 May 2012

Emotional Causes of Homosexuality


Excerpt from: The Origins and Therapy of Same-Sex Attraction Disorder (SSAD)

By Richard Fitzgibbons, M.D.

Source: http://narth.com/ National Association of Research & Therapy of Homosexuality





For a number of years, my area of expertise has been in the nature and treatment of excessive anger. Throughout my work, it became clear to me that the most important relationship in which men and women deny their anger is the father relationship. Since anger at rejecting peers or a distant father is extremely common among men who experience same-sex attractions, many men who struggle with SSAD have come to my practice.


My goal with these patients was not necessarily to change their sexual orientation, but to try to help them understand and overcome their emotional pain, which most often was the result of childhood and adolescent conflicts. In using the healing approach that I will describe, I found that many clients could resolve the emotional hurts which led to same-sex attractions and, as a result, over an extended period of time, that they were able to resolve their homosexual attractions and behaviors.


The first stage of the healing process is to understand the operative emotional conflicts. There are several different origins of same-sex attraction, and in addition, there is a marked distinction between the origins of homosexual attractions in males and in females.


SSAD in Men



The three most important risk factors for the development of SSAD in men are weak masculine identity, mistrust of women, and narcissism.


Weak Masculine Identity

Weak masculine identity is easily identified and, in my clinical experience, is the major cause of SSAD in men. Surprisingly, it can be an outgrowth of weak eye-hand coordination which results in an inability to play sports well. This condition is usually accompanied by severe peer rejection. In a sports-oriented culture such as our own, if a young boy is unable to throw, catch, or kick a ball, he is likely to be excluded, isolated, and ridiculed. Continued rejection can be a major source of conflict for a child and teenager. In an attempt to overcome feelings of loneliness and inadequacy, he may spend more time on academic studies or fostering comfortable friendships with girls. The "sports wound" will negatively affect the boy's image of himself, his relationships with peers, his gender identity, and his body image. His negative view of his masculinity and his loneliness can lead him to crave the masculinity of his male peers.


The second and crucial conflict in the development of a weak masculine identity is a poor emotional relationship with the father. A number of therapists characterize the childhood experiences of the homosexual adult as a form of defensive detachment from a disappointing father. As children and adolescents, these men yearned for acceptance, praise, and physical affection from their fathers, but their needs were never met. The profound inner void that develops from a lack of physical affection and father love can lead a man to promiscuous behavior in a misguided attempt to fill an emotional emptiness.


Another reason that some men have a weak masculine identity is poor body image. I have found that many active homosexual men are totally obsessed with other men's bodies. They often express hatred for their own bodies and desire the bodies of other men. A final reason can be a history of sexual abuse by older, more powerful children or by adults. Such abuse over a prolonged period of time may have made the child believe that he must be a homosexual.


Mistrust of Women


The second most common cause of SSAD among males is a mistrust of women's love. Feelings of mistrust may develop as a result of a difficult mother relationship or from experiences of betrayal by women. Male children in fatherless homes often feel overly responsible for their mothers. As they enter their adolescence, they may come to view female love as draining and exhausting. They want a relationship that is lighthearted and enjoyable and, by default, turn to male love. Feelings of mistrust may also arise from having a mother who was chemically addicted, overly controlling, possessive, or emotionally distant.


A very small percentage of homosexual men have experienced such devastating female betrayal in personal or professional relationships that they fear and avoid female love. Subsequently, they only feel safe making themselves vulnerable to a person of the same sex.


SSAD in Women



The major conflicts that lead to SSAD in women are, in my opinion, a mistrust of men's love, a weak feminine identity, or intense loneliness.


Mistrust of Men

A number of women who become involved in same-sex relationships had fathers who were emotionally insensitive, alcoholic, or abusive. Such women, as a result of painful childhood and teenage experiences, have good reason to fear being vulnerable to men.


Women who have been betrayed by a man after a long-term relationship often fear trusting other men and seek relief from their loneliness through involvement in homosexual relationships. Women who have been sexually abused or raped as children or adolescents may find it difficult or almost impossible to trust men. They may, therefore, turn to a woman for affection and to fulfil their sexual desires.


Weak Feminine Identity

The second most common cause of SSAD in women is a weak feminine identity. Three basic areas of conflict lead to such difficulty: mother conflicts, peer rejection, and poor body image. In those cases that involve maternal conflict, the woman usually had a mother who was emotionally distant and who had difficulty in affirming her child's femininity. Such negligence can lead to an inner sadness and emptiness which no amount of adult love can overcome.


This condition is far more rare than weak masculine identity, and this is why, in my view, male homosexuality is much more common than female homosexuality. The female role model, the mother, is much more likely to be affirming, to be giving, to be nurturing to her daughter than the father to his son.


Loneliness


Finally for some women, loneliness is also a major factor in the development of homosexual attractions. A number of women in their late twenties or early thirties have spent considerable time in a disappointing search for the right male relationship. The resultant loneliness and disillusionment about men may lead them into a sexual relationship with a woman.








Note: Subsequent topics covered in Dr. Fitzgibbons's chapter in the book, Homosexuality and American Public Life are "Prevention," "Overview of the Healing Process," "Giving Up the Anger," "Scapegoated Children Carry Scars Into Adulthood," and "Childhood Sexual Abuse."


This insightful discussion is from the 1999 book, Homosexuality and American Public Life, edited by Christopher Wolfe. The author of this chapter, Dr. Fitzgibbons, is a member of NARTH's Scientific Advisory Committee. Other chapters in Homosexuality and American Public Life are by different authors. The book is available from Spence Publishing Company, Dallas, Texas, 1-888-SPENPUB or www.spencepublishing.com.


For more resources, see also: http://gaytostraight.tripod.com/products.html