7 Simple Ways To Improve Your Leadership Skills

By Lolly Daskal

When you’re in a leadership position, it’s easy to feel like you’re losing your way. Maybe you’re overwhelmed by a specific situation, maybe you’re in a bit of a slump, or maybe you feel that you’re stuck in the same place without moving forward. Whatever the cause for those moments, the best solution is often found in revisiting the basics.

Here are seven simple things you can to shore up your leadership skills:

Understand your leadership style. If you had to sum up your leadership in one word, what would it be? Democratic, visionary, coaching, affiliative, pacesetting, commanding? Think about how you work most comfortably and effectively. Staying connected to your natural way of working can help you see and make any changes you may need.

Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Being aware of your leadership style can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you’re a visionary leader, you’re great at showing people the big picture and inspiring them to work toward it, but you may need help in creating and carrying out a plan to make it happen.

Leverage your weaknesses. When you know what your weaknesses are, think about how you can address them and leverage them into strengths. That difficulty in planning? In time, it may lead you to become great at delegating details.

Make use of your people’s talents. Great leaders don’t just rely on their people to work—they get to know the range of their talents and abilities, then solicit opinions and find ways for them to channel and develop their strengths. The results? A team working at top performance in a culture of trust and openness.

Maintain transparency. Especially at times when they feel they may be falling short, many leaders try to hide their challenges or their need for help. But one of the greatest forms of leadership is leading through example. Show your people how to ask for help and work through struggles. When you do, you’ll have better collaboration, stronger teamwork, more productivity, and higher levels of engagement.

Seek outside counsel. Often an informed outsider can bring a perspective and ideas that aren’t easy to see up close. Call in a trusted mentor or a good executive leadership coach to help walk you through the issues at hand. A coach or other outside advisor can help you improve your skills while you lead others.

Lead with humility. Being a humble leadership doesn’t mean downplaying your abilities or allowing yourself to become a doormat. It’s about centering your leadership in the idea that it’s not just about you. Focus your leadership on the people you lead and you’ll never stray far from the path.

Lead from within: Developing leadership skills is a lifelong process of transforming and growing the way you approach your work. For yourself and for the sake of the people you lead, don’t put it off.

Fauci Reveals What He Would Do If Trump Is Reelected

By Jack Phillips May 16, 2022
White House COVID-19 adviser Anthony Fauci revealed what he would do if former President Donald Trump wins the presidency in 2024.

Speaking to CNN on Sunday, when asked if he would stay around under a new Trump administration, Fauci said he would not.

“Uh, well, no,” Fauci replied, laughing. When asked by CNN if Fauci would “not serve with Trump again,” Fauci replied: “Right, for sure. Yeah.”

Fauci was also asked about the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.

“I think just history will speak for itself about that. I don’t need to make any further comments on that … It’s not productive,” he said.

There have been more COVID-19-related deaths under the Biden administration than under the Trump administration. In about 10 months under the final period of the Trump administration, data suggests there were about 425,000 deaths in the United States. Under President Joe Biden’s first year, there were about 455,000 COVID-19 deaths, according to federal data.

“People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots, these people,” Trump said in October 2020 during a campaign conference call, referring to the doom-and-gloom predictions that were being made along with COVID-19-related restrictions. “Every time he goes on TV, there’s a bomb, but there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him,” he said at the time.

In March of last year, Trump told a podcast of Fauci: “I thought rather than firing him, you know, I listened to him, but I didn’t do what he said because, frankly, his record is not a good record.”

“I like him personally,” the former president added. “He’s actually a nice guy. He’s a great promoter. He’s really a promoter more than anything else.”

“And if I would’ve listened to them?” Trump asked. “And then they went to the other extreme, like the entire country should lock up. I didn’t go for that. And you know, it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t go for that.”

In March, Fauci, 81, hinted at retiring from being in charge of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a position he’s held since 1984.

For more than 50 years, Fauci has served as a public health expert in various capacities, although he was appointed as lead White House COVID-19 adviser by Biden last year.

“I can’t stay at this job forever. Unless my staff is going to find me slumped over my desk one day. I’d rather not do that,” Fauci said at the time.

Trump, meanwhile, has not publicly committed to running for president in 2024, although he has strongly hinted that he might.

“They’re going to find out the hard way starting Nov. 8 and even more so starting November 2024,” Trump said during a recent Conservative Political Action Conference in February, referring to the Democratic Party’s chances.

The Saint for an Age of Insanity

We’re living through an age of increasing, intensifying insanity. If you’re feeling the pressure, try praying to St. Dymphna.

Euripides said, “Those whom the gods destroy, they first make mad.” That ancient wisdom is playing out before our eyes in the modern world. No one can ignore the unhappiness shackling society, but most pretend to, as a maniac might.

Yesterday, May 15, was the feast day of a girl who resisted an insane, uncouth attack in the name of sanity and decency, at the cost of her home, family, and life. Catholics in the United States especially, as we hopefully anticipate the overturning of a national injustice, should remember this little Irish saint named Dymphna, for we, too, are pressured by the dictates of diseased minds and a culture of madness. Dymphna knows of our plight, as a hero who lost her head to a man who had lost his mind.

St. Dymphna lived in Ireland during the seventh century, the daughter of a minor king named Damon. At age fourteen, she consecrated herself to Christ, following the faith of her pious mother. But Dymphna’s mother died, and left Damon devastated.

The king’s sorrow over the loss of his wife led to a complete mental collapse. His counselors, terrified by the rantings and ravings of their master, perversely suggested he wed his daughter, Dymphna, who bore a striking resemblance to the woman Damon had loved.

In his madness, Damon pursued his daughter, who fled with her guardian, Fr. Gerebran, to what is today Belgium. There she used the money she had brought with her to build a hospital for the poor.

Using her currency, however, put her father on her track. He appeared in a rage, sword in hand, and slew Gerebran. Dymphna, bereft of her only guardian and standing on the threshold of death, still held fast—so Damon slashed off his daughter’s head.

Today, Dymphna is the patron saint of people who suffer from mental disorders, sexual assault, and anxiety. There are many in our time of perversity who suffer from such things. But today’s perversities are not considered perversities at all: pornography; abortion; transgenderism; homosexuality; and clear corruption in media and politics, and even in the Catholic Church.

The agenda of permissiveness sprawls and spreads, removing objective boundaries. At the same time, the free world has also launched several successful systems of restriction and subservience. When contradiction reigns, insanity prevails, for without common sense, there is no natural way to view the world.

Damon’s deranged quest to marry his daughter, in a horror of contradiction, shows how contradiction both makes men mad and marks them as mad—for madmen live by contradiction, in one way or another. This is precisely the sickness saluted in America. Whereas we should fly from it all, as Dymphna did, we learn to live with it. Skepticism, cynicism, and liberalism soon set in, as they must to assuage the soul in such a world. But culture of contradiction still hangs over us, and people can’t help but be driven out of their minds.

If liberalism gradually dilutes traditional civilization unto destruction, it is not liberating. It is enslaving. It is mental paralysis, locked away in a padded cell with nothing but itself, as G.K. Chesterton famously described in Orthodoxy. The land of the free is becoming a prison, and until identity is loved over ideology, the craziness will continue. Patriotism is impossible when regional character is destroyed, and a people who have no true, meaningful love for their country have lost touch with a basic tenet of human piety and human sanity.

Dymphna showed, together with the holy Gerebran, as all the saints do in some fashion, that men and women can’t be their own saviors. That is a contradiction. Those who surrender to the insanity of contradiction only perpetuate the illusion and the contagion in themselves and in others. They strive to justify their sins and sanctions and redeem those who would live without the Redeemer.

Dymphna is a saint for us all, being brave and unyielding against unreasonable and violent oppression. Following her example, we can face the mental disease caused by a culture of contradiction. Millions of Americans are forgoing their common sense, carried along the stream of insanity like dead things, afraid to take a stand or make a stir. Much of our fear and frustration is rooted in a feeling of helplessness.

We are not helpless, though. We can follow common sense. And if that means being martyrs for truth, in whatever form that may take, then so be it.

Some things, Dymphna teaches us by her life and death, are unendurable and must be steadfastly resisted. Through her intercession, may we all break free from the straitjackets of virtual reality, soft totalitarianism, and the culture of death. That will mean facing the uncomfortable facts of uncommon sense, secular preoccupation, and ecclesial ineptitude. But the truth will set us free—and in that freedom, we will be happy.

7 Concrete Actions That Can Help You Be a Champion of Workplace Inclusion

05.16.22

ENGAGING leaders within your organization may require leveraging several different kinds of elements, depending on what your company’s culture most heavily emphasizes. Data and research in the business case may be enough to convince some leaders that they need to engage in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). For others, it may be how you build a relationship and emotional connection to DEIB through storytelling and trust. For still others, it can depend on how strongly you can integrate DEIB actions into leaders’ business priorities and make this work as low lift as realistically possible. It’s up to you to find out what’s most important to your leaders and connect DEIB into that.

Most of the time, I find that leaders have already bought into the concepts of DEIB. What they lack is a clear understanding of how to make progress. Taking no action at all is considered safer than taking the wrong actions that might cause controversy or inadvertently offend someone. What this means is they need a clear road map of actions to take. This can take the form of a customized DEIB action plan that includes a data dashboard supporting your recommended areas of focus. Or it can be a more generic set of suggestions that any leader across the organization can take, such as stating publicly on social media that they are committed to DEIB and looking for ways to get closer to different communities.

What’s most important is to define a set of actions that are concrete enough to move the firm toward its defined DEIB goals. Simple advice such as “hire more people of color” is not that helpful because the organization would be doing that if they already knew how to do it well. It’s the fact that they don’t know what to do that we need to pay attention to. So I try to give leaders easy, concrete actions that they can do to be a champion of DEIB, such as these:

• Audit your networks. If it is not diverse, start following and connecting with people from diverse backgrounds. For every new connection you make that is in the majority, invite another connection that is not.

• Educate yourself. Either read articles or books, listen to podcasts, or attend webinars on DEIB. Actively participate in trainings offered by your employer.

• Communicate your support. When you post a job, explicitly state that you encourage people from diverse backgrounds to apply. Talk to your teams about your commitment to and expectations of DEIB.

• Amplify minority voices. Give credit to ideas shared by underrepresented groups in meetings. Share social media posts from underrepresented talent.

• Make space. Invite people who haven’t spoken during a meeting to share their thoughts. Make sure event speakers are representative of diverse backgrounds.

• Show up. Attend ERG events whether you have an affinity for that ERG or not. Listen and learn.

• Seek input. If you’re leading an initiative that will impact an underrepresented group, make sure you involve their perspective in it as early as possible.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it contains a few basic ideas that I have found to be helpful guideposts for leaders who are seeking to demonstrate their DEIB commitment. Of course, it’s not enough for leaders to show their top-down commitment and role-model inclusive behaviors. It must also be coupled with employee support for DEIB initiatives to truly take hold.

Was Deborah guilty of blasphemy?

By Saidu Muhmmad Lawal

THE murder of Deborah on May 12, 2022, by a mob in Sokoto state, can neither be excused nor justified under any guise.

As with many religiously motivated acts of violence, the perpetrators and their supporters will try to make the point that Deborah committed the crime of blasphemy and so she deserved to die. They will tell you that the punishment for blasphemy in Islam is death, and so they did the right thing by killing her.

However, everything we do as a people within the walls of this country called Nigeria must be done as stipulated by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. There are no exceptions. It is through the Constitution that Sharia courts derive their legitimacy by virtue of sections 4(7), 6(4)(a), and 6(5)(k).

Therefore, Sharia law which Sharia Courts use cannot operate outside the confines of the same Constitution through which they derive their legitimacy. In essence, Sharia law does not exist in a sphere that is independent of the Nigerian Constitution.

It is because section 6(5)(k) of the Constitution empowers a House of Assembly to create courts with respect to which a House of Assembly has the power to make laws, that State Houses of Assemblies in the Northern parts of Nigeria enacted their various Sharia Penal Code Laws.

Crime is a matter with respect to which the House of Assembly of a State may make laws.

That Sharia law does not exist in a sphere that is independent of the Nigerian Constitution is evident in the preamble to the Sharia Penal Code Laws of those states. Looking at the preamble to the Sharia Courts Law of Kaduna State 2001, the steps taken by the Kaduna State House of Assembly in enacting the law to establish Sharia Courts in Kaduna State are clearly stated. The preamble reads:

“WHEREAS the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria provides for a Federal system of government in a Federation consisting of States and Federation consisting of States and the Federal Capital Territory based on the principles of democracy and social justice and guaranteed under chapter 1 thereof;

“AND WHEREAS every person in the State is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person and is guaranteed the rights to fair hearing, freedom of thought, conscience and religion amongst other fundamental Human Rights enshrined under Chapter IV of the Constitution.

“AND WHEREAS by the provisions of S. 4(7) of the Constitution, the House of Assembly of the State is vested with legislative powers to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the State or any part thereof:

“AND WHEREAS by the provisions of S. 6(4)(a) of the Constitution the House of Assembly of the State is not precluded from establishing courts with subordinate jurisdiction to the High Courts (other than superior courts of record) as provided in S. 6(5)(a)-(j) of the Constitution;

“AND WHEREAS by the provisions of S. 6(5)(k) of the Constitution such other courts may be established and authorised by Law to exercise jurisdiction at first instance or on appeal on matter with respect to which the house of Assembly of the State may make laws.

“AND WHEREAS the State desires to establish Sharia Courts in the State to exercise all civil and criminal jurisdiction.

From the Preamble, it is apparent that in the process of enacting the law, the Kaduna State House of Assembly was not oblivious of the core values of Federalism, Democracy, and Social Justice as guaranteed under Chapter 1 of the Constitution.

The preamble also recognizes and acknowledges that every person in the State is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person and is guaranteed the rights of fair hearing, freedom of thought, conscience and religion amongst other fundamental Human Rights enshrined under Chapter IV of the Constitution.

Essentially therefore, SPCLs cannot go contrary to the provisions of the same Constitution from which they derive their validity. Crucially, and many who are for or against Sharia miss this particular point, SPCLs are not intended, by their very nature, to work contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.

The issue gets even more interesting. The same Constitution in section 33 guarantees that every person has a right to life, and that “no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria”.

Does Sharia law provide anything contrary to section 33 of the Constitution? No. Was Deborah Samuel found guilty for any criminal offence? Was she killed in the execution of a sentence of court? The answer is no.

The argument that she committed an offence for which she was apparently or obviously guilty of under Sharia law is not a valid argument. Only a court of competent jurisdiction can decide whether someone who has been accused of committing a crime is guilty or not.

This is so even under Sharia law. Deborah Samuel was never charged before any court. Deborah Samuel was never tried for any offence by any court. Deborah Samuel was never convicted of any offence. Deborah Samuel was never sentenced to death for any offence.

Furthermore, section 36(5) of the Constitution guarantees the presumption of innocence; “every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty”. That presumption can only be taken away by a court of competent jurisdiction upon a finding of guilt by the same court.

Was there a trial by a court of competent jurisdiction where Deborah Samuel was found guilty of the offence of blasphemy? No.

But let’s even pretend for a moment that she was not killed. Let’s pretend she’s still alive. Let’s pretend she is charged before a Sharia Court in Sokoto State for the offence of blasphemy. What does every Sharia Court Law say about a person who isn’t a Muslim? Again, using the SPCL of Kaduna State as a case study, section 20 of the law provides that “persons subject to the jurisdiction of Sharia Courts are persons of the Islamic Faith or any other person in a cause or matter in which he consents in writing to the exercise of the jurisdiction of the Sharia Court”.

The wisdom behind making Sharia law to apply only to Muslims is to preserve the freedom of thought conscience and religion as guaranteed by the Constitution. Muslims believe, voluntarily, in Sharia, so they can be bound by it. Those who are not Muslims and do not believe in Sharia law cannot be bound by it. Making Sharia law to apply to only Muslims is also in consideration of the fact that Nigeria a multi-religious and a multi-cultural society.

Was Deborah of the Islamic faith? No. She therefore could not have been subject to Sharia law.

This is not to say that in Nigeria, blasphemy is legal. It isn’t. In every state in Nigeria, there are laws that prohibit blasphemy, one way or another. Section 124 of the Lagos State Criminal Law generally criminalises insult to religion and provides a punishment of imprisonment for two years or a fine of Fifty Thousand Naira.

Under the Lagos law, it doesn’t even necessarily have to be blasphemy. The law provides that “any person who does an act which any class of persons consider as a public insult on their religion, with the intent that they should consider the act an insult, and the person who does the unlawful act with the knowledge that any class of persons will consider it an insult, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and is liable to imprisonment for two years or a fine of Fifty Thousand Naira (N50,000)”.

There is a similar provision under section 210 of the Penal Code Act of the FCT. I am sure The Penal Code Law of Sokoto State has similar provisions under which Deborah Samuel could have been charged in view of the fact that she was not a Muslim, and tried fairly.

The most important thing, perhaps the only important thing at the moment, is that the murderers are arrested and prosecuted. Let them, together with their supporters, present the argument in court that she blasphemed and that was why they killed her.

Then they will learn that her blasphemy does not excuse their murder. That jungle justice, or in this case jungle injustice, is not permissible under our laws. That only a court of competent jurisdiction has the power to decide whether a person is guilty of a crime.

Every other thing at this point in time is secondary. Every other thing at this point in time is a distraction.

When it is Boko Haram, armed bandits, armed secessionists, or other purveyors of violence in Nigeria, we say they hide in bushes, therefore they are difficult to defeat. In this case there are no excuses. This act was carried out supposedly by students of a government institution, or at least by people who reside or carry on business around that area, and it was recorded.

I cannot picture a scenario in which at least the core conspirators are not arrested and prosecuted. Anything short of that would signal complicity on the part of the Police, and the Sokoto State Government. More dangerously, it would legitimise the action of the mob.

Child Sacrifice Is Nothing New

Moloch

Since the unprecedented leak of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the American Left has very publicly lost its mind. For many conservatives and pro-life democrats, the sight of so many liberals who are enraged that fewer babies will die is disturbing. Such an attachment to the slaughter of the innocents is so unusual, many of us think.

However, this phenomenon is much more the rule as opposed to the exception in the history of human civilization. In fact, only with the advent of Judaism and its fulfillment in Christianity does one see a reversal of the all-too-common attachment to child sacrifice. Many notable civilizations over the centuries practiced some form of sacrifice, such as the Canaanites, the Greco-Romans, the Aztecs, and the Celtic Druids. A brief examination into each of these helps us realize that the Christian tradition finds itself as the exception when it comes to this form of brutality.

Though one can find examples across ancient Mesopotamia of human sacrifice, one of the clearest documented, and condemned, was that of the Canaanites who sacrificed their children to the god, Moloch. Though some scholars quibble over whether the term “Moloch” refers to a pagan deity or the ritual of the sacrifice itself, one thing is clear: ancient Canaanites sacrificed children in fire to appease some demonic force.

Whether modern pro-abortion advocates realize it or not, in essence their attachment to the slaughter of the unborn is an allegiance to Moloch. Not that pro-abortion fanatics attend secret gatherings to worship the half-man half-cow demon, or that they even have little Moloch statues on their mantels; but the devil knows the most appealing way to tempt people. Without a doubt, the love for abortion is the direct work of Satan’s minions conspiring to divert people from the good, the true, and the beautiful.

The cultural pioneers of Western Civilization, the Greeks and Romans, practiced child exposure. While child exposure in this case was not meant to appease some petting zoo styled demon, it contains an uncanny similarity to modern abortion—convenience.

At the birth of an ancient Spartan, the parents brought the child before a group of elders who inspected the child for deformities. Plump and healthy children were allowed to live, and sickly or deformed children were brought to caves, left to die. This practice came about because Spartans considered children property of the state and not the parents, sound familiar?

The Romans also left deformed children to die, sometimes in dung heaps or garbage piles. Another eerie similarity to today’s abortion arguments is that the Romans sometimes justified child exposure to limit the size of families. Increasingly, today we hear pro-abortion advocates justifying the killing of the unborn as a means of reducing carbon footprints in the name of stemming climate change.

Other non-Western civilizations were also famed for practicing human sacrifice. The Aztec civilization perhaps finds itself as the best-known example of this. Many Spanish authors, both conquistadors and friars, wrote of astonishing numbers of people sacrificed in Aztec temples. One account of the consecration of the Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan claimed over 80,000 sacrificial victims died over the course of four days.

While many scholars disputed the accuracy of these claims over the years, recent archaeological research has found several examples of mass graves of sacrificial victims of the Aztecs. And while the Aztecs did not necessarily prefer children for sacrifice, one scholar, Fernando de Alva Cortés Ixtlilxóchitl, believes that one in five Mexica children were killed annually in the Aztec Empire.

Even early European peoples practiced human sacrifice. When Julius Caesar first encountered the Celtic people of Britain, he noted that the people he encountered there sacrificed war prisoners to their gods. The historian Pliny the Elder added to the record that the Celts practiced cannibalism, eating the flesh of their sacrificial victims. Such rituals do not necessarily target the innocent; however, the Druids would sometimes resort to sacrificing an innocent if no prisoners were available. Though firsthand accounts of such sacrifices do not survive, one may suspect that they may have resorted to children for the “innocents” in question here.

As history shows, many more societies celebrated or tolerated the slaughter of children than opposed it. Both contemporary society and the Greco-Romans left children to die because of disabilities or “family planning” purposes. In other instances, people celebrate the killing of children, whether it was the Canaanites celebrating a sacrifice to Moloch, or the ghastly “shout your abortion” movement we see today. As the Book of Ecclesiastes tells us, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (1:9).

In the meantime, let us Catholics of faith continue to pray that the justices on the court maintain the fortitude to make the right decision. Let us also pray that the law enforcement officers tasked with protecting the justices remain safe as well. And let good Catholic men continue to protect the doors of our churches from the pro-abortion mobs gathering around them.

Let the Beautiful Creature Live

Unborn

 

Several years ago, as I have heard tell, my formidable old professor of medieval Italian literature, Robert Hollander, was reading Chaucer, and he fell to weeping because the Christian faith that animated the poet was so beautiful, and he, the professor, could not share it. It was the same man who, when he first visited the University of Dallas, came back home to Princeton and said to his friend, a scholar of Cervantes, that he had finally found the school where they should have taught, rather than wasting their careers in the Ivy League. I’ve no doubt he’d have said the same had he visited us at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts.
And here I am struck by something I find hard to explain or to understand. As I write, the Supreme Court is rumored to be about to deny that abortion is a fundamental moral right, protected by the Constitution. It will be a welcome retrenchment of the Court’s long-standing tyranny—I use the word in its ancient Greek sense, for a man is a tyrannos not because he is cruel, though such men often are, but because he exercises power outside of proper authority. Pisistratus was a generous and enlightened tyrant. Our Court has, I believe, been a soft-headed, capricious, and darksome tyrant, exercising authority that properly belongs to legislatures and executives. A lawyer’s province is the law, not the culture, nor even, except in an indirect way, the common good.

Protestors are set to spray-paint church doors, disrupt Mass, shout obscenities and absurdities, and in general make themselves appear as ghoulish as the thing they are defending. I’m well aware that they do not regard it that way. We rarely smell our sins as they are. There will always be some cheap rhetorical cologne to splash them with, or a clothespin for the nose.

Still, there are pictures of unborn children in the womb. As early as eight weeks in, you are looking at a being that is obviously human, with arms and legs, toes and fingers, a head, a face, and eyes. A little later on, he will be sucking the thumb, practicing in the womb what will soon be his sole means of nourishment. The child is strange and familiar at once. Set aside all the muddle of your fears and desires, your resentment, your self-opinion, your politics, whatever. Look at that child. That was you, that was me.

Nothing else that we know of is like him. He possesses, in latency, the developing powers of a mind capax universi: capable of apprehending a universe of existent things. He possesses, in latency, the soul capable of grasping itself; of conceiving objects not bounded by matter; of reflecting his Creator by the works of his hands, his heart, and his imagination; of promising itself in duty; and handing itself over in love. Surely, we have here infinite riches in a little room. And he is our brother.

What strikes me is that, in all my life, I have never heard a single supporter of the abortion license describe that child as beautiful. If you must level an old neighborhood to build an airport, you may mourn for the houses to be razed, the streams to be choked up, the contours of the land to be effaced, the human memories to be obliterated. We would consider it rather monstrous in you if you did not do so. 

But the supporters of the license to kill the unborn child do not do so. They do not say, “You are right to see the beauty, your affections are just and fitting, and your moral system is admirable. It is, however, too difficult for man. We cannot live by it. We are too weak.”

It is the same for our Faith. What about it is not beautiful and filled with hope?

I can understand why someone might say that the Christian story is too good to be true: a God of love, the Creator, nearer to us than we are to ourselves; man, made in God’s image, fallen into sin and yet still dear, and so beloved by his Maker that God Himself would deign to be born as a mere child in this cold and hard-hearted world, would teach a doctrine at once obvious to man (because man was made for it) and yet world-shaking, such as the noblest and wisest of the philosophers could not reach (because it is in fact divine); that He would suffer mockery and persecution, and be condemned by His own people, and yet would say, from the Cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”; that He would die, and rise again from the tomb, not as a specter, and not as a resuscitated mortal, but in a glorified body, unto life eternal; that He would promise to all who love God a share in that life; that faith is true and hope is not in vain; that the first and last word on all things is the Love that moves the sun and the other stars.

I can understand why my good old professor wept. I cannot understand the contempt. I cannot understand the desperate hope that there should be no hope.

Someone may say that the view of the faith is marred by the faces of its followers. No doubt it is. I am ever in fear that some unconsidered word, some uncharitable response to uncharity, some smartly foolish rejoinder to folly, will put a stumbling stone in the path of a brother or sister on the way to salvation. But we also seek to see the worst, and even a Mother Teresa has not escaped vilification. And then there is the face of Jesus; and the face of the unborn child.

Perhaps we should do better to tell stories, and by the unassuming beauty of an imagined life lived according to the moral law, attract our fellow dwellers in this shabby and dismal and irritable and languid world. Imagine, then, that boys and girls take for granted that they are meant to fall in love with one another. Imagine that there is an arc to their growth and their developing sexual powers. Imagine that they understand, when the first stirrings of adulthood begin to change their bodies forever, that they are rather like embryos in the womb, only beginning to learn what it really means to be a man meant for a woman, or a woman meant for a man.

Imagine that they therefore begin, with much trepidation, some embarrassment, much bashfulness, some tears, and a great lot of mirth, to learn to dance, to behave with comely modesty, to enjoy the company of the other sex, to be grateful for the differences, to open the heart to the possibility of love, to hold hands, even to kiss. Imagine that there is an aim to all this blossoming-forth in the womb of adolescence, and that the boys and girls know well what it is.

Imagine that instead of amputating their powers by pornography, and searing the wound with listlessness, and stumbling or bullying their way into bed with someone they do not love and will not live with forever, full of dark memories and regrets at the best, apathy at the worst, the boy and girl, now tall and ready for true life, though their voices are young and their faces are fresh, stand innocent before the altar and pledge themselves to one another forever.

Imagine that the wedding day is more than for legalizing and publicizing an accomplished fact, or for a party that is all the more expensive for its being sapped of significance. Imagine that it is the great end of one story, its consummation in fact, and the beginning of a new one, and that the children, children no more in body though they are yet young in soul, will soon be welcoming a new child into their midst, a new consummate mystery and wonder.

That is no airy and idealistic story. It is and has been accomplished even by fallen man, with the grace of God. And all our preaching on the family, and all our customs regarding the sexes, and all the laws that corroborate those customs, should be aimed at making that story more immediate and present to the imagination, and more common in realization; just as we want the beautiful and not the grim, the ghastly, the obscene, and the spiritually exhausted; as we want the child to live and not die.

India Supreme Court Rules Against COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates

May 15, 2022

by Brian Shilhavy, Editor, Health Impact News

A landmark judgment was passed against vaccine mandates in India which has now made it illegal for anyone to discriminate between people on the basis of their vaccination status.

The entire judgement (written in English) can be downloaded here.

Awaken India Movement reports:

Important sections of the judgment passed by the Supreme Court in Jacob Puliyel’s Case 2022 SCC OnLine SC 533 [dated 2nd may 2022].

A landmark judgement upholding our fundamental rights under article 21 and 14 and equating right to health to right to life under article 21.

1st time in the world our Supreme Court gave a decision based on Scientific validity smashing the false narratives of Bill Gates’ vaccine mafia.

  1. No submission nor any data has been put forth to justify restrictions only on unvaccinated individuals when emerging scientific evidence appears to indicate that the risk of transmission of the virus from unvaccinated individuals is almost on par with that from vaccinated persons. To put it differently, neither the Union of India nor the State Governments have produced any material before this Court to justify the discriminatory treatment of unvaccinated individuals in public places by imposition of vaccine mandates. …. in light of the data presented by the Petitioner, which has not been controverted by the Union of India as well as the State Governments, we are of the opinion that the restrictions on unvaccinated individuals imposed through vaccine mandates cannot be considered to be proportionate, especially since both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals presently appear to be susceptible to transmission of the virus at similar levels.”
  2. Point 89 – Conclusions –

(v) – ….In light of this, restrictions on unvaccinated individuals imposed through various vaccine mandates by State Governments / Union Territories cannot be said to be proportionate. ….. we suggest that all authorities in this country, including private organisations and educational institutions, review the relevant orders and instructions imposing restrictions on unvaccinated individuals in terms of access to public places, services and resources, if not already recalled.

(vii) Recognising the imperative need for collection of requisite data of adverse events and wider participation in terms of reporting, the Union of India is directed to facilitate reporting of suspected adverse events by individuals and private doctors on an accessible virtual platform. These reports shall be made publicly accessible, without compromising on protecting the confidentiality of the persons reporting, with all necessary steps to create awareness of the existence of such a platform and of the information required to navigate the platform to be undertaken by the Union of India at the earliest.

As a result of this decision, people who were removed from their jobs and not paid salaries due to them not being vaccinated against COVID have already started being reinstated and some have even been given compensation for the same. See:

Will review email asking unvaccinated employees to go on unpaid leave: Symbiosis University to Bombay High Court

The Awaken India Movement has also published an article debunking some false claims regarding the India Supreme Court Decision.

A landmark judgement was passed against vaccine mandates in India which has now made it illegal for anyone to discriminate between people on the ground of their vaccination status. However few people have been spreading wrong interpretations of the judgement, some due to their genuine misunderstandings, and others who are doing so on behalf of pharmaceutical companies and corrupt bureaucrats to intentionally misinterpret the judgment so that people don’t initiate compensation and prosecution charges on the criminals who enforced these illegal mandates. Below we conclusively debunk common false claims about the judgement :

False Claim Number 1

The Supreme Court has not written anywhere in the order that it is illegal to discriminate between the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Reason : The Supreme Court in para 60 makes it very clear that vaccine mandates are not proportionate.

60. …in light of the data presented by the Petitioner, which has not been controverted by the Union of India as well as the State Governments, we are of the opinion that the restrictions on unvaccinated individuals imposed through vaccine mandates cannot be considered to be proportionate, especially since both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals presently appear to be susceptible to transmission of the virus at similar levels.”

Some people have spread false claims that just because the Supreme Court said these mandates are not proportionate, that does not mean that they are illegal. This interpretation is false and misleading, as the Supreme Court has clearly mentioned in other parts of the judgement that in order for restrictions on peoples fundamental rights to be legal and constitutional, they must pass the three criteria of proportionality, legality and need. Relevant parts which mention this are listed below

21. We shall now proceed to analyse the precedents of this Court on the ambit of judicial review of public policies relating to health. It is well settled that the Courts, in exercise of their power of judicial review, do not ordinarily interfere with the policy decisions of the executive unless the policy can be faulted on grounds of malafide, unreasonableness, arbitrariness or unfairness etc. Indeed, arbitrariness, irrationality, perversity or malafide will render the policy unconstitutional

48. The crucial point that requires to be considered by us is whether limitations placed by the Government on personal autonomy of an individual can be justified in the interest of public health in the wake of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. As stated, personal autonomy has been recognized as a critical facet of the right to life and right to self-determination under Article 21 of the Constitution, by this Court in Common Cause (supra). In K.S. Puttaswamy (supra), this Court laid down three requirements to be fulfilled by the State while placing restraints on the right to privacy to protect legitimate State interests. (i.e. legality, proportionality & need)

While the judgment is in context of the right to privacy, the analysis with respect to the threefold requirement for curtailment of such right is on the anvil of the protection guaranteed to fundamental freedoms under Article 21, and therefore, would also be the litmus test for invasion of an individual’s bodily autonomy under Article 21.

Point 3 of the Judgments Conclusion:

However, in the interest of protection of communitarian health, the Government is entitled to regulate the issues of public health concern by imposing certain limitations on individual rights, which are open to scrutiny by constitutional courts to assess whether such an invasion into an individuals right to personal autonomy meets the threefold requirement as laid down in KS Puttaswamy , i.e. (1) legality, which presupposes the existence of law, (2) need, defined in terms of a legitimate state aim; and (3) proportionality, which ensures a rational nexus between the objects and the means adopted to achieve them.

False Claim Number 2

In the order, the Supreme Court has only suggested that the authorities review the orders which have mandated vaccines if they’ve not already revoked them. Suggestions are not commands, hence this order will have no force to compel private companies, schools, colleges, etc to reverse the mandates.

Reason: In 1995 SCC (1) 259 M/S Spencer & Company Ltd & … vs M/S Vishwasarshan Distributors… on 6 December 1994, it is made very clear by the Supreme Court that even if their words in a judgement are in the form of an advice or suggestion and not an explicit command or direction, it is a judicial order and is considered binding and enforceable through the territory of India. Link to the said judgment can be found on this link : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RhjS8La5m8wd1yfX_Ii9WYA6NkQfkiNI/view?usp=sharing

Relevant para can be found on page 260 Point A of this link

False Claim Number 3

In the Supreme Court order they have mentioned that the mandates are not proportionate only for the present time, and in the future, when govts increase testing and create more cases, authorities will be able to impose vaccine mandates again.

Reason: In point v of the judgments conclusion, the Supreme Court has made it clear that only an increase in cases is not a sufficient ground for imposing restrictions on unvaccinated people, but they have stated a two fold criteria of an increase in cases AND new evidence being generated which shows that unvaccinated people spread more Sars-Cov-2 virus than the vaccinated. Hence a mere increase in cases cannot be used as the only ground to impose restrictions :

v) …Till the infection rate remains low and any new development or research finding emerges which provides due justification to impose reasonable and proportionate restrictions on the rights of unvaccinated individuals, we suggest that all authorities in this country, including private organisations and educational institutions, review the relevant orders and instructions imposing restrictions on unvaccinated individuals in terms of access to public places, services and resources, if not already recalled.

This false claim does not make sense even from the perspective of common sense. If the Supreme court was ok with the Govt imposing restrictions due to an increase in cases, they would’ve used the word OR above instead of AND. Also, the Supreme Court has acknowledged in para 60 of the judgement that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people appear to spread the virus at similar levels. Hence even if cases increase, there is no basis to impose restrictions only on the unvaccinated as both vaccinated and unvaccinated people will be contributing to an increase in cases at an equal rate.

Hence we urge all our readers to counter false claims and share this article widely so that this judgment can be used by all Indians to fight against vaccine mandates. (Source.)

Download the entire judgement here : https://awakenindiamovement.com/indian-supreme-court-judgement-against-vaccine-mandates/

The people of India are very fortunate to have a Supreme Court rule for the protection of public health and not the pharmaceutical companies.

Hopefully, the lawsuit filed against Bill Gates for murder and asking for the Death Penalty will also be successful:

Bill Gates Charged with Murder for COVID-19 Vaccine Death in India’s High Court – Death Penalty Sought

8 Tips for Taking Nature Photos on Your Phone

It is often said that the best camera to have is the one you have with you. And with so many of us toting our smartphones everywhere we go, that is often the only camera we will have with us. Fortunately, the cameras on cellphones today rivals many of the low end DSLRs on the market – so there is no reason you can’t take killer images using only the phone you are carrying.

With the weather getting warmer, many of us are looking to get outdoors again after being shut in all winter. So grab you phone and follow these tips to take some great nature photos.

1. Use Your Light

Photography is often referred to as painting with light. When taking images of nature, look at creatively using the available light to create eye-popping images. Turn the sun peaking through the trees into a dramatic star burst by setting your f/stop to f/22 or above. Look for ways light and shadows create interesting patterns across your scene. Get up close and capture the way sunlight sparkles over rippling water. Use light in the way a painter uses paint.

Tourist hand holding cell phone while taking a photograph of nature landscape in travel

2. Pick your Time of day

Choosing the time of day you shoot in creates some of the most interesting light options. The golden hour is the hour just after sunrise or just before sunset – and is aptly called for the yellow hue cast by sun, which warms the scene. Or try the blue hour, which is the hour just before sunrise or just after sunset to see a cool tone across your subject.

3. Think about Composition

If you hang around stock photographers long enough, you will be convinced that the only correct composition comes by using the Rule of 3rds (dividing your frame into thirds vertically and horizontally and using the intersecting lines as focal points). But using creative composition techniques – framing the subject with elements like branches, using reflection, following leading lines, making your subject relatively large in a scene – can create images that really pop.

4. Lens options

Depending on the type of phone you carry, you may have the ability to use more than one type of lens. Try using your wide-angle or ultra wide-angle lenses to capture stunning landscapes and broader scenes. Look into your camera panel to create panoramas, time-lapse, or macro images.

Taking nature landscape photo by smart phone on mountain peak, traveling in tropical country

Try to avoid using the optical zoom (the old pinch and squeeze enlargements). All this does is reduce the number of pixels you are capturing in the image. It is better to shoot with the best quality lens you have at 100% – and then use the post processing apps to crop in later.

5. Change your perspective

Don’t limit yourself to what you see in front of you. Look up, look down, and look behind you to see what you may be missing. Get higher or get lower to see your subject in a new way.

6. Depth of Field

Many cameras allow you to play with the depth of field in an image– which means controlling how much of the background is in focus behind the main subject. Setting a very shallow depth of field will make the main subject really pop while a deeper field will capture more of the context for the shot.

7. Long exposure

Shooting with a long exposure can lead to some dramatic images. Look for subjects with natural motion (a waterfall, a stream, stars in the skies), and then set your shutter speeds to 20 seconds or more to create a painterly blur effect. It is important to have a small tripod or other secure support to ensure the camera is not moving during the shot. Play with the length of exposure to create different looks.

Phone on a tripod in nature

8. Photo editing apps

There is no reason to limit yourself to what you are able to capture SOOC (straight out of camera). One of the benefits of shooting with a smartphone is being able to use creative apps on your shots. Look at the built-in filters that come with your system or download a free (or inexpensive) photo editing app to spice up your masterpieces.

In short, it is possible to take great pictures of nature using just your phone. Remember, THE CAMERA DOESN’T MATTER, except when it does. Get to know the functionality of your phone (panorama, time-lapse and slo-mo, lens options, settings, focus control, etc.) – and use some of these guiding principles to capture the beauty of nature on your next excursion.

Love On The Move: Of The Divine “Dance” In The Holy Trinity

There is a kind of tension in some of the imagery we use for God. On the one hand, we call Him the “Unmoved Mover.” We also say that God is everywhere. If He is everywhere then there is nowhere for him to go, no need for Him to move because He is already there. Yet we also speak of “processions” in the Trinity.

St. Thomas artfully and with precision speaks of the Trinity and the two “processions” as Gentori Genitoque laus et jubilation … Procedenti abutroque compar sit laudatio (To the One who generates and to the One who is generated be praise and jubilation … To the One proceeding from them both be equal praise).

St. Thomas also points out an important difference between material procession and divine procession:

In material things, what comes forth from another is no longer in it, since it comes from it by a separation from it in essence or in space. But in God, coming forth does not arise in this way. The Son came forth eternally from the Father in such a way that the Son is still in the Father from all eternity. And so, when he is in the Father, he comes forth. And when he comes forth, he is in him, in such a way that he is always coming forth, and always in him (Commentary on John, 16:28).

So, it would seem that the Unmoved Mover, our Triune God, has processions of love within. There is a kind of dynamism of love! Of course, our feeble words fall short and our analogies are weak.

There is a beautiful Greek word used by the Church Fathers (e.g., St. John Damascene) to describe the inner life of the Trinity: perichoresis. It is a combination of two words: peri, meaning “around” and chorein, meaning “to make space.” Therefore perichoresis, literally translated, means “to make space around.” It points to the way in which someone or something makes space around itself for others or for something else.

What a picturesque word! It suggests a kind of swirling or a dance. It is close in its spelling to the Greek word for dance, choreuo, so many people refer to it as the dance of love in the Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit make room for one another; they “dance” about and “with” one another in a way that shows a mutual indwelling while still maintaining space for each person.

Yes, love is dynamic. There is a movement of love between the persons of the Trinity. This imagery is powerfully different than the one that most people have of the Trinity (God the Father on one throne, sitting next to His Son on another, with the Holy Spirit hovering like a dove between them). This is not wrong. Scripture speaks of thrones in Heaven and of the Father and the Son seated, but the thrones are likely more an image of authority than of inactivity.

Surely the inner life of the Trinity is more than merely being seated. It is a glorious procession of love: The Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the love proceeding from them both. Yes, there is a great movement, a dance of love.

To this “dance” of love, Christ draws His Bride, the Church. It is our destiny and dignity to be caught up one day to the great dance of love of the Trinity. Heaven is not a static vision of God from some distance; it is a beatific vision, an experience of love that is dynamic and moving, a dance of ecstasy.

Put on your dancing shoes and get ready for the dance! Remember that to dance well we must surrender all pride and learn to dance as if no one is watching. Only the humble can really dance well, only those who can make space for the Lord and let Him lead.

I hope you will forgive the secular source, but below is an image of Christ drawing His bride to the dance.

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