Tuesday, October 4, 2011

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‘The day I died’: the dramatic ‘death’ and recovery of pro-life activist Melanie Pritchard

by Peter Baklinski Tue Oct 04 18:39 EST Comments (9)

Melanie celebrates her recovery with doctors and nurses one year after she nearly died.
Melanie Pritchard and her daughter Ella, whom Melanie nearly died giving birth to.

PHOENIX, AZ, October 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Midnight contraction pains signaled to Melanie Pritchard that labor was beginning. If all went well, her baby would have a birth date on July 28th, 2010. Melanie phoned her mother to say that her husband Doug was taking her to the hospital.

That phone call was the last event that Melanie remembers, the beginning of a 3-day dramatic ordeal that nearly took her life and the life of her unborn child.

Pritchard, aged 34, is a nationally renowned Catholic defender of the unborn and a speaker on modesty and chastity. Her work with Arizona’s pro-life and pro-family organizations has been described as “legendary.”

She and her husband Doug reached the hospital in the dark early hours of the morning. Labor was progressing steadily and normally. She requested an epidural to help cope with the pain. As the sun rose, contractions began to increase and the doctor broke her waters.

Then the unthinkable happened.

At the brink of death

Melanie indicated to her husband that she felt like something was wrong. She told Doug that she felt like passing out. The nurses repositioned her in an attempt to determine the cause of her lightheadedness even though her vital signs did not indicate that anything was amiss.

Suddenly, Melanie slumped to her side convulsing mildly. Her heart rate and blood pressure flatlined. To Doug’s horror he also saw his unborn child’s heart rate plummet precipitously. As Melanie’s face and skin turned blue, Doug realized that her heart had stopped beating.

A team of doctors and nurses rushed Melanie to the operating room in an attempt to save the baby’s life with a cesarean section.

Doug hastily made some anguished phone calls to family and friends beseeching them for prayers for Melanie and the baby. A friend of the Pritchard family, Mark Henry from Catholic Online, heard of Melanie’s plight and sent out the word to Catholic media groups that a young mother needed divine assistance in the battle for her life. 

Immaculate Heart Radio, St. Joseph Communications, LifeSiteNews, and many other media outlets responded to the plea, immediately sending out the prayer request through internet or radio.

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“Very quickly news of Melanie’s critical condition spread like a digital wildfire with ‘prayer for Melanie’ requests now going viral online. The pray-it-forward juggernaught to save Melanie had begun in earnest,” said Henry.

“People were literally coming out of the woodwork to pray for her, even if they didn’t know her,” said Kari Holt, Melanie’s sister.

People who had not entered a church for years found themselves compelled to go in and pray for the young mother in need.

“It burst forth through Catholic radio, across parishes, and into convents, rectories, seminaries, and schools; it lit up Facebook, Twitter…it found its way to people like me, those who had never heard of Melanie before then,” says Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid in the forward to Melanie’s book about her near death experience.

Within a 15-hour period, an estimated 150,000 people were praying for Melanie. Melanie was the number one Googled person in Arizona, her home state, that day. She was top 10 on Twitter worldwide.

Zero percent chance of survival

The successful cesarean operation brought into the world a healthy girl with blonde hair and blue eyes. Doug named her Gabriella, or Ella for short. Melanie had now been clinically dead for 10 minutes. She was given CPR and shocked 4 times with a defibrillator before the medical team managed to resuscitate her.

The doctors told Doug that Melanie had suffered an amniotic fluid embolism. Amniotic fluid had escaped from her womb, traveled into her bloodstream, and caused a cardiac arrest when it reached her heart. She also suffered massive internal bleeding from the cesarean operation, losing five liters of blood. The doctors also worried about possible neurologic injury because she had been without oxygen for so long.

With her catastrophic hemorrhaging, three back-to-back emergency major surgeries, heart and lung failure, and possible brain damage, the odds were overwhelmingly stacked against Melanie.

The doctors gave her a zero percent chance of survival.

Doug was told to say “goodbye” to the love of his life.

“I love you. I will always love you. Brady and Ella [son and newborn daughter] are beautiful and love you. If you have any fight left, then fight … Promise me that you will follow your guardian angel wherever he leads you. Where he leads you will be where God needs you.”

Meanwhile, from around the world believers in the power of prayer stormed heaven for a miracle.

Doctors say that what happened in the next 24 hours defies medical explanation. Melanie suddenly began to breathe on her own. She was weaned off all medications except those for pain. And then, to the astonishment of all, she began to talk.

Melanie cried when Doug helped her to hold newborn Ella for the first time, just 48 hours after the cesarean birth. And to the wonder of all, Melanie was discharged from the hospital just 6 days after the ordeal had begun.

The greatest miracle of all

Though there was still a long road of recovery before her, leaving the hospital alive was an astonishing accomplishment for the woman for whom doctors had said there was no hope.

For Melanie, however, her survival is not even the most astonishing part of the story. “When I woke up from death I thought to myself that the miracle of my survival was huge, but when I heard about the amount of people who prayed for me, I thought ‘that was the greatest miracle,’” Melanie told LifeSiteNew.com in an interview.

“It is one thing for this miracle to happen to myself, but then to hear how it affected so many people, that is the greatest miracle.”

Working in a ministry that helps to lead wandering hearts back to God, Melanie found it ironic that the time when she turned the most hearts to God—inspiring thousands to lift a prayer to heaven—she did not speak a single word; she was silent and completely unconscious.

“When I was young, I used to have this little wish with the Lord. I would say ‘Lord, can you make me like St. Peter?’ Can you give me a little of what you gave to him on Pentecost so that what I say or do might convert 3000 people a day?”

Melanie believes that God answered her “little wish” in his own way with the incredible drama of her untimely death and medically inexplicable revival.

“I honestly think that this moment wasn’t for me. I have always said, ‘use me Lord, in whatever way you want, anytime you want.’”

“That 24-hour period was for family, for friends, for people who were exposed to this story. The Lord used me to open their eyes, to help them to understand that they need to rely and trust in him, and him alone.”

“It was for God to show how mighty he is.”

Finding joy in suffering

In the days and months that followed her return home, Melanie’s body was wracked with pain. She suffered various infections. She was mentally paralyzed by a constant fear of death.

The difficult recovery process was a true test of her and Doug’s commitment to one another in marriage, she says.  As an advocate for marriage as a “free, total, faithful, and fruitful kind of love,” she says that everything she and her husband knew about marriage with a “head-knowledge” suddenly made sense to them in the realm of the “heart.”

“Everything we were teaching about God’s plan for a joy-filled marriage really came true.”

“Even in the midst of this suffering, Doug and I still found joy. We discovered you can still find joy in your marriage, even in the depths of this kind of suffering.”

“The ‘sacrificial love’ and the ‘gift-of-self’ that we had been teaching about were really coming alive in our marriage.”

Melanie credits her and Doug’s premarital chastity as a school of training that prepared them to “survive” the difficult road to recovery, explaining that chastity is about becoming an “apprentice in self-mastery.” She said it takes “sacrifice, suffering, and much conditioning.”

As an example, she says that during her recovery, she never worried about Doug “running to the computer to look at pornography” or “cheating” on her because he had “already become an artist himself in self-mastery”.

She said that in the midst of the pain and suffering experienced during the recovery, they could still “live out” their marriage and see the beauty of it.

“Our God is a God of Miracles”

The experience has been a journey of self-discovery for Melanie, who says she sees how she has gone from being a strong independent woman, to a woman who now allows herself to be weak and vulnerable. She says that she has learned to let down her guard and allow others to serve her and take care of her.

She is also convinced that she has more to share with the world than ever before now that she has come to see why God allowed her to go through this experience and how she must relate it to her speaking ministry to young people.

“God has the power to make all things new, in a heart beat.”

“Our God is the God of miracles.”

“He can take their eyes that have seen pornography, their sexuality that has been broken and given away in pieces, their broken and abused hearts and make all these things new.”

“He can make people whole and complete in an instant because that is how powerful he is.”

Melanie believes that young people are compelled by her story because it gives them “insight” into the “power of God” and what he is capable of doing in someone’s life in a 24-hour period.

“If he can wake me from the dead, he can make your eyes brand new, he can make your heart complete, he can change lives in a heartbeat if we are just a little open to walk under his direction.”

Melanie has describe her physical and emotional journey in detail in her book, “The Day I Died: Finding Hope in Suffering.” It is available from Vitae Press and through her website.

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Tags: melanie pritchard

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Canada-wide Life Chain draws unprecedented numbers in prayer for the unborn

by Thaddeus Baklinski Tue Oct 04 15:36 EST Comments (2)

A small part of large Barry's Bay group
Fr. Steven Szakaczki - Scarborough
Some of 74 participants In front of St. Lawrence Martyr parish Scarborough, Ontario

TORONTO, October 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The numbers are beginning to be tallied at Campaign Life Coalition headquarters in Toronto, showing that despite adverse weather in many locations, tens of thousands of pro-life Canadians stood in solidarity with the unborn in this year’s Life Chain.

Campaign Life Coalition informed LifeSiteNews that the numbers of Life Chain participants appear to be increasing across the country.

Each year on the first Sunday of October pro-lifers in over 200 cities and towns throughout Canada join their brothers and sisters in the U.S. in a powerful street witness campaign that proclaims the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death.

Participants stand in witness for one hour, peacefully and prayerfully holding signs reading “Abortion Kills Children,” “Abortion Hurts Women,” “Jesus Forgives and Heals” and “Adoption: The Loving Option” before passers-by and motorists.

This year a new sign was added saying “Pregnant? Need Help?” This is followed by a toll-free phone number.

Jonathan Castellino of CLC told LifeSiteNews this sign got a lot of very positive reaction.

“At the intersection in Toronto where I was standing a woman came up who said she was going to book an abortion for the following week,” Castellino said, “but asked what help the phone number would give her, then wrote it down before departing.”

Timmins, Ontario, reported that 24 committed pro-lifers formed the Life Chain in uncharacteristically beautiful weather. Eileen Meunier said the group “mostly received thumbs up, with very few rude gestures. All in all it was a good day with good weather. God was with us. Jesus was in charge.”

Ellen Chesal, Executive Director of Campaign Life Coalition in Nova Scotia, said the bad weather didn’t dampen the numbers or the spirits of the Life Chainers. “We had terrible weather - constant rain from beginning to end, however this did not dampen (pardon the pun) our spirits and there were 80 dedicated, faithful pro-lifers in attendance witnessing to the sanctity of life.  Praise God!”

Over 70 members of Campaign Life Coalition Kingston, Ontario, braved gale force winds for a Life Chain along King Street near Kingston General Hospital.

In Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, a total of 237 people lined Great Northern Ave, between Second Line and McDonald, for one hour in Sunday’s Life Chain. Bill Murphy, one of the Life Chain coordinators, said he was pleased with this year’s high turn out. “Two people from Brampton left the Super 8 hotel to join us! Lots of positive reaction from the drivers and 1700 cities across North America joined.”

In the face of a cold, blustering wind and the occasional shower, the small town of Barry’s Bay, Ontario, population 1200, saw an unprecedented turnout of 242 pro-lifers, up from just over 200 last year. About one third of the Life Chainers were students and staff of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, the town’s small Catholic college. “This is the best turnout yet - this is great!” said a young couple with their numerous children lining the street side. Reaction to the pro-life witness was almost universally positive, with only a few motorists peeling away from the main intersection in a show of disdain.

Abbotsford, BC, had both some of the best weather and one of the highest turnouts so far. Jared White of Abbotsford Right to Life said the city of about 120,000 has held a Life Chain in 20 of the last 21 years, with over 500 pro-lifers lining South Fraser Way for this year’s witness.

“For the most part the reaction was very positive,” said White. “There were a few people who had a negative response.”

White remarked that the focus for Abbotsford’s Life Chain this year was to show the humanity of the unborn child. Pictures of a child at seven weeks gestation, with the caption “Me at 7 Weeks,” were displayed to inform passersby that life in the womb at this point in the pregnancy is “not just a clump of cells,” but a real person.
White pointed out that showing the humanity of the unborn child may influence women, who often are coerced into abortion, to choose life. “Women are under tremendous pressure,” he said. “Abortions are legal in Canada and there is all this talk about pro-choice, but women usually feel backed into a corner and this pressure comes from a male influence.”

Campaign Life Coalition said the final tally for this year’s Life Chain in Canada, which should exceed last year’s approximately 30,000, will be published when all the numbers are received.

Tags: abortion, life chain

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Principal says students will no longer be punished for saying ‘God, bless you’

by Jeremy Kryn Tue Oct 04 15:36 EST Comments (6)


VACAVILLE, California, October 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The principal of a California school about 45 miles from San Francisco has said that students will no longer be disciplined for saying “God, bless you” in class. The principal’s statement follows news that a health teacher at William C. Wood High School took grade points away from his students for saying “God, bless you” when someone sneezed.

“He realizes his mistake and that this wasn’t the best way to get the kids to behave,” Principal Cliff DeGraw told Sacramento’s FOX40.

When Taylor McGinley sneezed in her health class at William C. Wood High School a few weeks ago, a student replied with “God, bless you.” Health teacher Steven Cuckovich, however, reportedly responded by disciplining the students, telling them that “the blessing doesn’t really make sense anymore.”

“(Cuckovich) said, ‘Do you think that girl is evil, do you think the evil spirits are coming out of her?’ And the guy that said ‘bless you’ was like ‘No, I was just doing what I was supposed to do when somebody sneezes, not trying to be rude,’” McGinley said, according to News10.

McGinley said her teacher never spoke about the expression in class after that.

In Erica Fagan’s class, however, Cuckovich deducted 25 points from students’ grades if someone said “God, bless you.” Cuckovich reportedly told Fagan and the other students saying “God bless you” is a distraction.

“The first time (the student) did it (Cuckovich) took 25 points off of everybody in the class’s grade for one person saying it and then somebody did it the next day and he did it again,” Fagan said.

Fagan’s mother, Vickie, said she emailed administrators, but only heard back from them September 29.

“I can see where teenagers can be disruptive. It’s not something unknown,” Fagan’s mother said. “The specific saying ‘If you guys are being noisy and talking out of turn’ I can see, but when he says ‘When you say, God, bless you,’ and he’s using that specific terminology to say, ‘I’m docking you points,’ that concerns me.”

“It’s not… got anything to do with religion. It’s got to do with an interruption of class time,” Cuckovich told FOX40.

“If they came to me and made an effort to convince me that on religious grounds they felt that they were being prosecuted, I could probably adjust. I didn’t think it was a big deal,” he said, adding that he will find another way to punish perpetrators.

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Michael O’Brien: ‘It’s a battle to the death with a dictatorship of moral relativism’

by John-Henry Westen Tue Oct 04 15:32 EST Comments (15)

Michael O'Brien speaking to LifeSiteNews staff in Barry's Bay

Barry’s Bay, Ontario, October 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In his talk to the annual meeting of LifeSiteNews staff this summer, Canadian author, artist, essayist and lecturer Michael D. O’Brien spoke of his travels in various countries in Europe over the past year meeting with leaders in the culture wars who all had the same message.  “To encapsulate it in a thumbnail would be to say everyone is fighting a battle to the death with a dictatorship of moral relativism,” he said. 

“Confusion is created everywhere through media.  Media is the primary shaper of consciousness of our times.  In every nation it was the primary worry of apostolic people—clerics as well as lay apostles.  The unprecedented power of film and television is something we Christians have never had to deal with before on this scale. So new strategies are being initiated everywhere in every country that I went”

“Everywhere there is the sense of facing a Goliath, a monster that feeds or is driven by money, profit and an underlying agenda of social revolution on a scale I don’t think we have ever seen before in the history of man.  What we are looking at is the dismantling of the great treasure Christianity gave Western civilization.”

“When I was in Italy, I had the most awesome privilege of meeting the fiction writer in his 80’s named Eugenio Corti. His name is being touted around for the Nobel Prize in literature, but I don’t think that is going to happen.”

O’Brien asked Corti: ‘Do you have a word of advice for me?.’  “He leaned forward and he took my hand and he said, ‘We are at war.  We are at war and we will be at war until the end of time.  Cling to Jesus—through everything that is about to happen.’” 

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“If I could say anything to you who work at LifeSiteNews, dear friends and courageous knights, I would urge you to remember always, in whatever portion of the war that we have been given to fight, that we are fighting against unseen enemies—the invisible enemies—what St. Paul calls the principalities and powers of darkness.”

“If your task is primarily for the promotion of the Gospel of Life, you are going to be confronting the unseen adversary, Satan, in his primary assault on mankind. He is, as Jesus says, the Father of Lies, a murderer from the beginning. He brought death into the world. This, we must keep in mind whenever we confront those human beings who are his agents, both knowingly and unknowingly (and I would think that probably almost all of them unknowingly cooperate with evil on this scale).”

“There are some dreadful final battles to come and they will be perhaps among the worst in the history of man. There will be many more casualties. Our task is primarily to help awaken people to the nature of the war and to reduce the number of casualties, and to even be instrumental in bringing forth more beautiful souls who will live with us in eternity.  We must keep in mind always the real horizon, the eternal horizon, the vision of the truth that the Lord has won.” 

“It is His war.”

“Recall that throughout the entire salvation history the Lord prefers to choose the small and the weak of the earth to confound all the powers of the enemy.” 

“This is why God does not simply drop overwhelming spiritual and material resources into the laps of those who will serve Him in this great war.”

“The Lord himself will win the final battles of this war, through our weakness and absolute dependence upon Him, regardless of what is happening all around us, regardless of the amount of defeat we suffer.”

“You have seen some extraordinary victories through LSN this past year, in the defense of life and a confounding of the compromise of the Church in Canada.  To my mind, you have managed to do that by taking a lot of flak, human malice and false judgement, as well as less visible spiritual attacks. And you have done it without retaliating in kind to your human accusers, those who would negate the voice of LifesiteNews by spreading falsehood against you.”

“Here at this late stage of the West we see an eclipse, a darkening, a loss, a massive apostasy, and at the same time we see an extraordinary new upwelling of hope, a new springtime that has already begun in the midst of darkness. The future is already among us, the victory is already approaching its final moments.  How long that will be, we do not know. Our task is to keep doing what we do and to trust that the battle belongs to God.” 

These are only a few excerpts of O’Brien’s remarks, see the full talk, A battle to the death against moral relativism, here.

Tags: abortion, michael o'brien, moral relativism

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Military chaplains doing same-sex ‘marriages’ is illegal protests congressional committee chair

by Jeremy Kryn Tue Oct 04 15:09 EST Comments (9)

Rep. Todd Akin

WASHINGTON, October 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A congressional Armed Services Subcommittee chair has said that September memos by the Pentagon announcing that military chaplains are permitted to officiate in homosexual “marriages” are instructing the military “to do things which are in fact illegal to do.”

Republican Representative Todd Akin, of Missouri, said that the memos appear to violate a May 2011 amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which instructs that the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) applies to federal employees and federal property.

“If the Department of Defense decides that they are going to have government-paid chaplains on government property performing homosexual marriages, they’re in direct violation of DOMA,” Akin told CNSNews.com. “When you see essentially laws being created or ignored by the executive branch, that says we are bordering on lawlessness.”

The Pentagon announced September 30 that military chaplains can officiate at homosexual “marriages.” The announcement came less than two weeks after the September 20 repeal of the Clinton-era “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy.

“A military chaplain may participate in or officiate any private ceremony, whether on or off a military installation, provided that the ceremony is not prohibited by applicable state and local law,” said Undersecretary of Defense Clifford L. Stanley in a September 30 memo.

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The September 30 memo said a chaplain is not required to celebrate such unions “if doing so would be in variance with the tenets of his or her religion or personal beliefs.” It followed a September 21 memo by the Department of Defense’s general counsel, Jeh Johnson, in which Johnson said that the use of military facilities for private functions, “including religious and other ceremonies,” should occur on a “sexual-orientation neutral basis.”

In December 2010, Congress repealed the DADT law, and in July, a federal court said the military should no longer enforce the policy. In their decision, the court cited an Obama administration brief filed against DOMA, asserting that the United States was guilty of “a significant history of purposeful discrimination against gay and lesbian people.”

In May 2011, Military chaplain agencies demanded conscience protections as the DADT repeal loomed. Twenty-one religious agencies that provide chaplains to the U.S. military sent a joint letter to the military’s chief of chaplains noting that the law designed to dismantle the DADT policy lacked conscience protections.

Tags: dadt, marriage

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Pro-abortion vandals arrested, may be charged with ‘hate crime’

by The Editors Tue Oct 04 15:05 EST Comments (3)


ARLINGTON, Virginia, October 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Two students at the University of Buffalo (UB) have been arrested after allegedly vandalizing a pro-life display set up by pro-life students at the university, reports Students for Life of America (SFLA).

Sara Buttitta, president of University of Buffalo Students for Life, informed SFLA that their Cemetery of the Innocents display had been torn down by four unknown UB students.

A blurry campus surveillance video showed four individuals ripping the display out of the ground and disposing of it in trash bags.  The campus police were able to recover the bags and UB Students for Life re-assembled the display in the afternoon.

Later that day, Sara alerted SFLA’s Northeast Regional Coordinator Phil Eddy that two students – a male and female - had been arrested after they were allegedly seen kicking crosses over and ripping them out of the ground.

According to Sara, the arresting officer alluded to the possibility of these students facing hate crime charges for their actions. This would be the first time students face such harsh charges for vandalizing a pro-life display.

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‘The Playboy Club’ TV show cancelled following outcry

by Kathleen Gilbert Tue Oct 04 14:56 EST Comments (25)


WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A period drama glorifying the promiscuous lifestyle of Playboy prostitutes has been dropped from network television following a successful advertiser boycott led by morality and parenting advocates.

Morality in Media (MIM) stated in a press release Tuesday that NBC has “closed the club” thanks to “dismal ratings and viewer outrage, cancelling a series that glorified the sexual exploitation of women and the Playboy philosophy that women are to be used, abused and then discarded.”

“It is great news that the ‘Playboy Club’ is cancelled after just three episodes. Clearly viewers are not interested in supporting the brand that normalized pornography and caused immeasurable harm to women, children and to the men who became addicted to porn,” said Dawn Hawkins, executive director of Morality in Media. Hawkins is also organizer of the site www.ClosetheClubOnNBC.com.

The series premiered on September 19, several weeks after the Parents Television Council pre-emptively called for a boycott of the show, which follows the lives of several employees of the first Playboy Club in Chicago in the early 1960s.

According to Hawkins, key NBC advertisers left the show after receiving more than 20,000 emails through Morality in Media’s Close the Club site.

Interestingly, a major force of opposition came from Gloria Steinem, a seminal leader of the pro-abortion feminist movement, who slammed the show as “normaliz[ing] prostitution and male dominance” and encouraged a boycott.

“The efforts of Morality in Media, Parent’s Television Council, Gloria Steinem and many others lead to the public outrage and ultimate cancellation of the show,” said Hawkins.

Playboy, once equated with “softcore” pornography, distributes hardcore pornography on pay TV channels and the Internet, MIM notes. Distribution of hardcore pornography can be prosecuted under federal and state obscenity laws, according to Patrick Trueman, Morality in Media president and a former chief of the Justice Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.

“We’ll use the same public pressure that closed the club to get the attention of the U.S. Justice Department which has not prosecuted one case against pornographers during the current administration,” said Trueman.

Tags: pornography

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McGuinty Liberals: Disagree with sexually-explicit classes? Then you’re ‘homophobic’

by Patrick B. Craine Tue Oct 04 14:52 EST Comments (13)

The flyer distributed by Tim Hudak's Tories over the weekend.

TORONTO, Ontario, October 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An Ontario Tory Party flyer criticizing early sex ed, including the promotion of Gay Pride parades for kindergartners, is “homophobic,” charged Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals on Monday.

But critics say that the flyer makes no comments that could be deemed disrespectful to homosexuals, but merely raises objections to exposing young children to sexually explicit material. If McGuinty is charging the flyer is homophobic, then many Ontario parents are being cast as ‘homophobic’ themselves, they say.

The flyer, endorsed by Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservative Party, targets the Toronto District School Board’s controversial “anti-homophobia” curriculum that begins discussing homosexual families in kindergarten with teachers reading “Gloria Goes to Gay Pride,” and aims to transform students into social activists by the end of high school.

That curriculum shocked parents last spring in particular because it explicitly forbids parents from opting their kids out of the controversial classes and advises schools not to alert parents in advance.

The Tory flyer was distributed over the weekend in some GTA ridings and has stirred controversy in the lead-up to Thursday’s election.

“The desperate Hudak campaign has resorted to outright lies and manipulation,” claimed the Liberals on Monday.  “The PCs have been distributing a disgusting, homophobic flyer.”

But Hudak has stood by the document, turning it back on McGuinty.

“I think the only person who has explaining to do is Dalton McGuinty, who wants to bring in sex-ed curriculum that starts in Grade One when kids are six years old,” said Hudak.  “And then on top of that, he wants to keep these things hidden from mums and dads. I think that’s wrong.”

Dr. Charles McVety, head of the Institute for Canadian Values, said the Liberals’ accusation that the flyer is ‘homophobic’ is an “attack” on parents who object to such controversial curriculum.

“To teach this stuff to little boys and girls is contrary to what parents want, many parents, I dare say most parents,” McVety told LifeSiteNews.  “It is bullying parents.  If you object to what we’re doing to your children, we will name-call you, we will attack you.”

Vince Agovino, Tory candidate for Willowdale, was one of those who distributed the flyer.  In an accompanying letter, he highlighted quotes from Transport Minister Kathleen Wynne to Xtra that he says signalled a Liberal government “would continue promoting an agenda that promoted these [gay-straight alliance] clubs in Catholic schools.”

“We cannot dismiss these comments as the musings of but one Liberal Cabinet Minister,” he said.  “This election is important for many reasons, and surely the future of parental rights and our children’s education is foremost among them.”

The flyer includes several direct quotes from the curriculum, such as:

“Read some traditional folk tales and fairy tales with the class.  Have students write/illustrate their own ‘gender-bending’ versions.”

“Reclaim Valentine’s Day and celebrate sexual diversity [with a] kissing booth.”

“Don’t want this for your kids?” ask the Tories.  “Parents don’t have a say. … On October 6th, vote against the McGuinty agenda.”

The Liberals have pointed out that much of the TDSB curriculum is the same as when the Tories were in office.  But one key change is the addition of the policy forbidding parents to opt their children out.

They have also emphasized that the TDSB curriculum is distinct from the controversial sex ed curriculum that the McGuinty government shelved last year and intends to bring back in modified form.

But while the TDSB curriculum was not produced by the Ministry of Education, McVety said they are nevertheless responsible for it.  “It is one hundred percent under the purview of the Minister of Education,” he said.  “It is the Toronto version of the provincial curriculum and must be approved by the Ministry.”

LifeSiteNews did not hear back from the Ontario Liberals by press time.

Tags: dalton mcguinty, tim hudak

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Bishop says Fr. Pavone to remain in Amarillo for ‘indefinite’ period – Pavone responds

by John-Henry Westen Tue Oct 04 14:35 EST Comments (29)

Fr. Frank Pavone
The letter from Bishop Zurek

AMARILLO, TX, October 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a brief letter dated September 30 and posted on the website of the diocese of Amarillo, Bishop Patrick Zurek has stated that Priests for Life President Fr. Frank Pavone “remains suspended.”  While the bishop acknowledges that Fr. Pavone “has faculties for ministry in the Diocese of Amarillo,” he adds that he “does not have my permission for ministry outside the Diocese.”

The bishop’s letter adds, “He is to remain in the Diocese for an indefinite period of time for prayer and reflection.”

LifeSiteNews spoke with Fr. Pavone today about the letter.  “The diocese is saying two things at the same time,” Fr. Pavone said.  “They are saying that I’m a priest in good standing [may practice priestly ministry] and yet they are saying that I’m suspended.” 

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Fr. Pavone noted that his canon lawyer was “trying to make sense” of those two seemingly contradictory statements.

For his part, Pavone said, “I’m patiently waiting to get clarification.”

Speaking for the Diocese of Amarillo, Deacon Floyd Ashley told LifeSiteNews that suspension means that Pavone “has no faculties outside the diocese of Amarillo.”

As to the specific nature of the concerns of the bishop, Deacon Ashley said that was a matter between Fr. Pavone and the bishop.  He also said that the diocese did not leak Bishop Zurek’s letter to the bishops of the U.S. to the public.

Asked about what kind of timeline the bishop may have in mind, and whether Fr. Pavone would be permitted to attend the upcoming March for Life in January, Deacon Ashley said he had no idea.

Tags: frank pavone

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Another McGuinty gvmt would be ‘disaster’ for Catholic education, urges pro-family group

by Patrick B. Craine Tue Oct 04 12:53 EST Comments (23)

Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty

TORONTO, Ontario, October 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After Premier Dalton McGuinty forced Ontario’s Catholic schools to introduce homosexual clubs this summer, Campaign Life Catholics is warning in advance of the October 6th election that another McGuinty government would be a disaster for all people of faith.

“It appears that Dalton McGuinty has an agenda that is not friendly to Catholic education.  In fact, he seems determined to thwart genuine Catholic teaching,” said Suresh Dominic of Campaign Life Catholics.

In July, McGuinty said homosexual clubs are “not a matter of choice” for the Catholic schools, while his Ministry of Education has insisted that these clubs cannot help homosexual students “reform their sexuality.”

Behind the scenes, the Liberal government has pushed the Catholic schools to implement gay-straight alliances specifically, even issuing what some have called a veiled threat that the schools’ public funding could be in jeopardy.

According to a highly placed anonymous source, in the midst of the controversy over Catholic schools and GSAs in the spring, Minister of Education Leona Dombrowsky made a phone call to Nancy Kirby, president of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association.

“Why won’t you give them GSAs?  We have a lot of pressure being applied from outside parties who are raising the issue of Catholic funding,” said Dombrowsky. 

When pressed on Monday, Minister Dombrowsky admitted to speaking with Kirby numerous times but vehemently denied the accusation of a ‘veiled threat’.  “That is an outright lie,” Dombrowsky told LifeSiteNews.

“At no time did she ever threaten, veiled or otherwise, that the Catholic schools’ funding could be in jeopardy. That is an outright lie,” said Kelly Jackson, Dombrowsky’s senior policy advisor, in a follow-up e-mail.

The fear that the Catholic schools’ public funding is at risk over the subject of homosexuality is widely held.  The Catholic Civil Rights League pointed to it last month, urging Catholics to be vigilant in the lead-up to Thursday’s election.

“The possibility of losing publicly-funded Catholic schools is never far from the surface in Ontario, and there are groups that will use the controversy over equity policies and Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) in schools to push that agenda,” said Joanne McGarry, CCRL’s executive director.

“Candidates should be asked if they support the right of Catholic schools to have equity policies that conform to Catholic teaching,” she added.

“Considering the approach they have taken to date, another McGuinty government would be a disaster for Catholic schools,” said Dominic.

He insisted at the same time, however, that Campaign Life Coalition is urging concerned Ontarians to vote for pro-life and pro-family candidates, regardless of Party affiliation.

Members of McGuinty’s own cabinet have openly called on the Catholic boards to implement GSAs, something which the bishops and Catholic educational leaders have refused thus far.

In September, Minister of Transportation Kathleen Wynne told Xtra that she was “very disappointed” by the refusal of Catholic school boards’ to allow gay-straight alliances, but that she expected they “will all come around.”

While the Catholic schools are introducing “anti-bullying” clubs focused on sexual orientation, Wynne – a lesbian and the former Minister of Education - said it is “non-sense” that they would do so without using the term ‘gay’.

For ratings of candidates visit Campaign Life Coalition’s website here.

Contact Information:

Tim Hudak, Opposition Leader
Ontario PC Party
19 Duncan Street
Suite 401
Toronto, ON M5H 3H1
Phone: 416-861-0020
Toll-free: 1-800-903-6453
Fax: 416-861-9593
Email: tim.hudakco@pc.ola.org

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One year ago today I was arrested on my campus for defending the unborn

by Ruth Shaw Tue Oct 04 12:44 EST Comments (9)

Ruth Lobo is arrested on October 4, 2010

October 4, 2011 (Unmaskingchoice.ca) - In Hawaii, there is an island called Molokai where, historically, those suffering from leprosy were sent to live in isolation from the community. Molokai became somewhat famous when Fr. Damien, a young priest, set up his missionary work there. History tells us that Fr. Damien was a great man: a hero who helped change Molokai and gave the people hope for a future. He eventually succumbed to the very disease those around him suffered from.  In a true-to-life novel about Molokai, as his death was grieved throughout the religious world, one leper made an astute observation, saying,

What about us? The world seems to content to focus more on the death of one white man, than on the thousands of lepers that have died every year on this island. What about us?

One year ago today, October 4, 2010, five students were arrested for attempting to show the world what abortion really looks like. There was a media storm, outcry from the public, and a realization that universities are no longer what they should be.  I, Ruth, and my four courageous friends James, Nicholas, Craig, and Zuza, were cast as heroes. And yet, through it all, I sense—I know—that something more than free speech was lost that day.

The day the five of us were arrested, more than 270 pre-born children were decapitated, dismembered, and disemboweled by abortion in Canada.

And so today, on behalf of the pre-born, I ask, “What about them?”

Yes, the “Carleton Five” were treated unjustly and yes we should be upset. However, I can easily say that our goal was never to become heroes, or to divert attention from abortion. Rather, it was to stand between the world and pre-born children and say in the words of Mamie Till, who held an open-casket funeral for her son Emmett who was brutally murdered by racists in 1955, “Let the world see what I have seen.”

On this the anniversary of our arrests, I echo Mamie Till’s sentiment, but this time, regarding the plight of the pre-born: “Let the world see what I have seen.”

We are nothing more than arrows that point to a greater injustice—weak, vulnerable pre-born children are being killed and the world is watching.  Their deaths are a greater tragedy than our arrests.  So when we remember October 4, let that be brought central to our minds.

There are two final thoughts I wish to leave with you today:

First, I would like to thank all those who have shown immense on-going support to Carleton Lifeline in our battle at Carleton University for free speech and against abortion.

Second, I wanted to give a special message to all young people:  I once heard it said that courage is not the absence of fear, but a will to do what’s right in spite of your fears.  And so I implore you to stand up and do the right thing for the pre-born, even if you’re afraid.  Whether that’s carrying an unplanned pregnancy to term, or speaking up in class, or talking to a pregnant friend, or standing with a graphic sign, please be a voice for the voiceless.  When we all rise up, together we can EndtheKilling.

Reprinted with permission from Unmaskingchoice.ca

Tags: abortion, ruth lobo

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Officials admit U.S. census inflated numbers of ‘married’ same-sex households by over 160%

by Jeremy Kryn Tue Oct 04 09:49 EST Comments (8)


LOS ANGELES, October 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The federal government inflated census figures for “married” same-sex households by over 160%, the U.S. Census Bureau announced September 27. Officials revised their count of same-sex couples who described themselves as “spouses” from 349,377 to 131,729. They also revised their count of same-sex unmarried-partner households from 552,620 to 514,735.

In total, just over one-half of one percent of households in the country were same-sex, slightly lower than the 2000 census found.

Officials said the overall numbers released this summer were inflated because of an “inconsistency in responses…that artificially inflated the number of same-sex couples.”

“When data were captured for these two questions on the 2010 census door-to-door form, the wrong box may have been checked for the sex of a small percentage of opposite-sex spouses and unmarried partners,” according to the agency. “Because the population of opposite-sex married couples is large and the population of same-sex married couples in particular is small, an error of this type artificially inflates the number of same-sex married partners.”

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The Census Bureau found that California had the most same-sex households, “married” and unmarried, of any state. In California, 0.726% of households were same-sex couples, lower than the 2000 census figure for the state.

The District of Columbia had the highest proportion of same-sex couples at 1.172%, followed by Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Maine, and then, California.

The Census Bureau estimates that fewer than 50,000 official same-sex “marriages” have taken place in the U.S. California recorded the largest number of any state, an estimated 18,000. In Massachusetts, 44% of same-sex couples listed themselves as “married” and in Iowa, 33% did so. The census found “married” same-sex couples in every state.

The Obama administration directed the Census Bureau to include same-sex “marriages” and unions in the 2010 census. While the census has in the past collected volunteered data on same-sex “marriages,” the Obama administration abandoned the previous interpretation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act as prohibiting the release of such data.

The 2010 Census estimates were peer-reviewed by Gary Gates, a demographer with the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy, by Philip Cohen, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and by Megan Sweeney, professor of sociology at UCLA.


Tags: census, homosexuality

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UK judge rules against dehydrating brain-damaged woman to death

by Kathleen Gilbert Tue Oct 04 09:19 EST Comments (4)


October 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A high court judge in Britain has ruled that the family of a brain-damaged woman is not allowed to withhold food and water to cause her death.

Justice Baker ruled last week that the 52-year-old patient known publicly only as M should not be allowed to starve to death because her life still contained some positive elements.

Her family had argued that M’s daily routine was too limited for her to want to continue living.

“She cannot enjoy a drink, a cup of tea or anything. She has got no pleasures in life,” M’s sister told the court. “Just a daily routine of being taken out of bed, put in a chair and put back in bed. Shower, doubly incontinent. It is just awful. It’s not life. It’s existence. And I know she would not want that.”

But Justice Baker said that he accepted the witness of caretakers testifying that M, who is not fully alert but still conscious, should be allowed to live and continue treatment. “M does have positive experiences and … although her life is extremely restricted, it is not without pleasures, albeit small ones,” he stated.

The family’s lawyer, Yogi Amin, told the press that the family’s ordeal caring for M has been “extremely heartbreaking” and criticized the judge for ruling M should be given food and water.

“The law has been clarified and, going forward, in all such cases of patients who are in a minimally conscious state, the High Court does now have the power to decide on whether it is in that patient’s best interests for treatment to continue, or whether the patient should be allowed to die naturally, with dignity,” said Amin.

Alex Schadenburg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition lamented that the decision whether M ought to be subjected to an excruciating death by dehydration came to rest on the “quality of life” she was deemed to have.

“All forms of euthanasia reduce the value of certain human beings and deny equality and dignity to every human being,” wrote Schadenburg on his blog.

The leader notes that the UK has routinely dehydrated to death individuals who were not dying but deemed to be in a Persistent Vegetative State (PVS) ever since a 1993 court ruling. This case is different, he notes, because M is clearly conscious - but the case was still too close for comfort.

“We applaud the decision by Justice Baker, while recognizing that until the Bland decision is redefined, that other cognitively disabled people, such as ‘M’ will intentionally die by dehydration, even though they would not be otherwise dying,” he said.

Tags: euthanasia, euthanasia prevention coalition, uk

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