In the once firmly Lutheran nation of Iceland, some residents are erecting a temple to the Norse gods. (more…)

Iceland, a Lutheran country, steps up on an issue hardly anyone else is touching:

The government is considering introducing internet filters, such as those used to block China off form the worldwide web, in order to stop Icelanders downloading or viewing pornography on the internet.

The unprecedented censorship is justified by fears about damaging effects of the internet on children and women. (more…)


The headlines read like this:  “Iceland is Becoming Nearly the First Country with no Down Syndrome Births”.  Wonderful, one might think.  What medical breakthrough has Iceland discovered?  Read the story and you find out that it has nothing to do with a medical breakthrough.  Just genetic testing of embryos followed by, in the case of diagnosing Down Syndrome,  a near universal application of abortion.

Here is the original story from CBS News.  It is actually more nuanced than one might think, raising the question, “What kind of world do we want to live in?”  A world without Down Syndrome?  Or a world that aborts those who have it?

Alexandra Desanctis discusses the story from a pro-life perspective in Down Syndrome in Iceland: CBS News’s Disturbing Report | National Review.

Reacting to the story and the backlash it has provoked, sources in Iceland are challenging the CBS piece.  Read this from Iceland Magazine.  Actually, according to that article, women carrying a Down Syndrome baby are not pressured to get an abortion, and the subsequent abortion rate is not close to 100%.  Rather, 15-20% of women choose to keep the baby, and when they do, they are given support and help in caring for their Down child.  (Though the article goes on to explain condescendingly that “Icelanders have a different view of abortions than many on the political right in the US,” namely, that it is OK and a woman’s decision.)

But, in fairness, the once-Lutheran Iceland is an exceedingly tiny country, with a population of only 332,529, about the size of St. Louis.  Which makes it ripe for statistical distortions.

But treating Down Syndrome by abortion is rampant.  In the United Kingdom, according to DeSanctis, 90% of women who receive that diagnosis abort their child.  In Europe as a whole, 92% of such babies are “terminated.”  In the United States, the number is between 67% and 90%.  Compare those numbers to Iceland’s 85-80%, which is actually less than the rate in these other countries.


But one of the many things I found disturbing in the CBS story is the way counselors in Iceland–apparently with the complicity of the church–normalize and even sanctify the abortion by means of religious imagery:

Over at Landspitali University Hospital, Helga Sol Olafsdottir counsels women who have a pregnancy with a chromosomal abnormality. They speak to her when deciding whether to continue or end their pregnancies. Olafsdottir tells women who are wrestling with the decision or feelings of guilt: “This is your life — you have the right to choose how your life will look like.”

She showed Quijano [the CBS reporter] a prayer card inscribed with the date and tiny footprints of a fetus that was terminated.

Quijano noted, “In America, I think some people would be confused about people calling this ‘our child,’ saying a prayer or saying goodbye or having a priest come in — because to them abortion is murder.”

A priest comes in to say a prayer?  Saying goodbye?  A memento of the abortion with the dead child’s footprints?  To do such things implies a recognition of the child’s humanity, and yet still the child is killed, though the church makes the parents feel better.

Photo by Himileanmedia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Simo Häyhä, the “White Death”

A nation is defined by its history and its people’s common experiences.  That is especially true of nations whose citizens, for the most part, share a specific ethnic identity.  In Finland, where I spent some time recently, history is a living force.

For some 500 years, Finland was part of Sweden, a region in the East where members of the Finnish tribe dwelt.  Finland was Swedish during the 17th century when that kingdom was a world power, as the Swedish kings saved Lutheranism during the Thirty Years’ War and dominated much of Northern Europe.  To this day, Finland has a Swedish-speaking minority.

But then, in 1809, Sweden lost a war with Russia.  Finland, on Russia’s border, was ceded to the Czar, who made it an autonomous Grand Duchy under his authority.  So Finland went into its Russian phase, though it resisted assimilation.

When the Communist Revolution broke out, Finland saw its chance.  It declared independence and established itself as a free republic.  This happened in 1917, so that this year Finland is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

The Communists had their own problems in 1917 so basically let Finland go.  Some Finns, however, were on the Bolshevik side, so the new nation fought a bloody civil war, with the “Whites” defeating the “Reds.”

But in 1939, Stalin resolved to take Finland back.  Soviet troops poured over the Finnish border.  In this conflict, known as the “Winter War,” the Soviets outnumbered the Finns three to one, with 30 times more airplanes and 100 times more tanks.

I was told that the president of Finland then was a devout Christian.  He called upon all Finns to pray.  And they did. (more…)

The United States is no longer in the top 10 of the world’s most free countries.  We are number 15.  However, despite our obesity rates and bad eating habits, we are number 1 when it comes to health.  We are #33 in safety and security.  The United States is #11 in economic strength and overall prosperity.

Scandinavian countries take most of the top spots, with Norway winning the top marks when all of the categories are considered, making it the most prosperous of nations.  All of this is according to the Legatum Prosperity Index.  See details after the jump. (more…)

A paper on the workings of the human hand published in a scientific journal uses the term “creator” and “design,” sparking sputtering outrage and calls for boycotting the publication.

The authors, most of whom are Chinese, say the apparent reference to Intelligent Design was a mistake due to a mistranslation.  Chinese writing does tend to be much more lyrical and metaphorical than the generally dull Western academic prose.

But it’s interesting how so many scientists are set off by words and are so eager to silence people. They do not want themselves to be exposed to anything incompatible with their materialistic worldview, not allowing anything to the contrary to be so much as uttered.  Even the news account from a British publication, excerpted after the jump, feels that it must refer to Intelligent Design as a “pseudo-science.” (more…)

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