Friday, February 17, 2012

Print All Articles

Obama admin responds to lawsuit: don’t rule yet because we might change mandate later

by Kathleen Gilbert Fri Feb 17 18:43 EST Comments (19)

 

February 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Days after saying the birth control mandate was “final,” the Obama administration has told a federal court it shouldn’t rule on a lawsuit against the new rule because the administration may decide to change it at an unspecified later date.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing Belmont Abbey College in the case, said Friday that the administration’s response lacked any constitutional defense of the mandate, which would force religious organizations, including charities, hospitals, and even religious orders, to cover birth control, sterilizations, and abortifacient drugs.

“Apparently, the administration has decided that the mandate, as written and finalized, is constitutionally indefensible,” said Hannah Smith, senior counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “Its only hope is to ask the court to look the other way based on an empty promise to possibly change the rules in the future.”

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

The defense by the Department of Justice also stated that it hadn’t yet been made clear that Belmont Abbey’s insurance plan wouldn’t be grandfathered in and therefore temporarily exempt from the mandate.

While announcing a “compromise” on the mandate last Friday, in which the administration claimed religious groups wouldn’t pay for employees’ birth control coverage because insurers would offer it for “free,” the president indicated that the rule could change. Nonetheless, a White House official this week said the Friday announcement was the final concession the administration would make to outraged religious leaders.

Joseph Knippenberg, a professor of politics at Oglethorpe University, wrote in First Things that the administration’s claim against adjudicating the case immediately may be accurate, given that the mandate has not yet been implemented. However, he said, “None of this means that the Administration’s response isn’t troubling,” and quoted an excerpt of the DOJ document defending the mandate as benefiting the health of “society at large.”

“Stated another way, the Administration’s brief contends that social utility trumps religious and moral scruples,” wrote Knippenberg. “The aim of the regulations is to ‘reduce unintended pregnancies (and the negative health outcomes that disproportionately accompany unintended pregnancies) and promote healthy birth spacing.’  The scruples of employers to the contrary notwithstanding, the Administration wants more people to plan their parenthood.”

 

Tags: abortion, belmont abbey college, birth control mandate

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

A new challenge: Santorum remarks on birth control raises media ire, debate

by Kathleen Gilbert Fri Feb 17 18:23 EST Comments (26)

 
Rick Santorum

WASHINGTON, February 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - You could call it America’s century-long double-take.

In less than 100 years, the country’s stance on birth control has swung dramatically: it is now a faux pas to seriously question a practice that, once, was outlawed as “obscenity” even to speak of publicly.

And yet, as news of presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s opposition to birth control spreads alongside outrage over Obama’s insurance mandate, the spark of a nearly extinct debate in the media is being steadily fanned.

“I don’t think it works, I think it’s harmful to women, I think it’s harmful to our society, to have a society that says that sex outside of marriage is something that should be encouraged or tolerated, particularly among the young, and I think we’ve seen very, very harmful long term consequences to society,” said Santorum in a 2006 interview unearthed this week, where he also emphasized his support for federal family planning funds despite the disagreement.

The remarks sparked a media backlash that began with Washington Post commentator Jennifer Rubin, a prominent Santorum supporter. Rubin lamented the remarks in strong terms and called the generalized condemnation of birth control a serious detriment to his electability.

“For starters, does he realize that married women (men too!) use birth control?” wrote Rubin. “The impression that Santorum finds the prevalent practice of birth control ‘harmful to women’ is, frankly, mind-numbing.”

Other commentators jumped aboard, warning that Santorum’s statements were “not an anomaly” and that his “problems with women” would prove his greatest obstacle thus far to the nomination.

Still others questioned the knee-jerk response.

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal noted, “Santorum actually makes an entirely reasonable and fairly sophisticated argument, and he says nothing cringe-worthy.”

The columnist posited that the “overwrought emotionalism” from conservatives towards Santorum’s beliefs betrays the fact that “a high proportion of conservatives have internalized the assumptions of feminism.” “One of those assumptions is that female sexual freedom, an essential component of sexual equality, is an unadulterated good. Santorum’s statements to the contrary challenge this deeply held view,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Santorum has been handed an opportunity to make his case in a context where his beliefs have, paradoxically, placed him squarely in the company of a vastly expanding camp: opponents to the federal birth control mandate.

In a rare show of force and unity, the conservative movement has coalesced behind U.S. bishops to rescue religious freedom against Obama’s mandate forcing Catholic organizations to pay for birth control, including sterilization and abortifacient drugs.

Major Christian leaders such as megachurch pastor Rick Warren have thrown their weight behind the bishops, who have not minced words on their own behalf. Baptist Mike Huckabee and Mormon Glenn Beck alike have summed up the sentiment as: “we are all Catholics now.”

The controversy could be seen as pumping renewed energy into America’s conservative religious identity, and by extension, its most religiously conservative candidate. The latest Pew Research Center poll found Santorum ahead of Romney nationally by two points, 30-28%.

The events are a felicitous twist for the senator who entered the race with a plan to enter territory few politicians are wont to go. Even before the mandate became front-and-center news last month, Santorum had already signaled that he was planning on bringing his views about contraception to the surface.

“One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea,” he said in an October interview.

As Rubin noted in her recent column, Santorum’s heretofore obscure effort has wound up radically successful. “Santorum’s beliefs about contraception have injected Catholic theology into a presidential campaign season that was supposed to be all about the economy,” she wrote.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Tags: birth control mandate, election 2012, rick santorum

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

EU abortion roundup: Albania gender imbalance due to sex-selection; Spanish abortion bankrupt

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Fri Feb 17 18:09 EST Comments (4)

Albania struggling with “gender disparity” from sex-selective abortions

The Council of Europe has revealed that sex-selective abortion is widely practiced in Albania and the result is a growing gulf between the numbers of boys and the number of girls. Recent statistics show that for every 100 Albanian girls 112 boys are born. In natural demographic growth, the number of girls usually slightly exceeds the number of boys.

The Council of Europe warns that sex-selection, once associated mainly with Asian countries, has become popular in Europe, particularly in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

“Traditionally Albanian families have favoured boys over girls for two main reasons: the inheritance of the family name and the prospect of boys growing up to become breadwinners,” a 2005 report by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said.

Abortion in Albania was legalized in 1995 after the fall of the communist government. It is now available on demand up to the 12th week of pregnancy.

The European news service Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso quotes Rubena Moisiu, the chief physician at the Kico Gliozheni abortion facility in Tirana, “There are no accurate statistics, but based on our surveys made in the largest gynaecological clinic in the country, in 2010 alone there were 470 abortions, the main causes of which were economic reasons, deformities and the sex of the foetus.”

~

Spanish abortion bankrupt; broke govt’ owes 5 million Euros

Since the loosening of Spain’s abortion laws in 2010 to allow abortion on request at public expense, the government is in the red to the tune of nearly €5 million in missed payments to individual abortion facilities and abortionists. The newly elected government, which is mired in one of the country’s worst financial crises, has not been able to make clear how it expects to pay its debts.

After seven years of expansively socialist government, the election in November last year of the conservative Popular Party has significantly changed the country’s abortion landscape. The new Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said that abortion would be restricted once again according to the 1985 law thrown out by the Zapatero socialists. The Spanish abortion rate has more than doubled from 54,000 in 1998 to 112,000 in 2007.

But the abortions that have already been committed still have to be paid for by the government under the law. Timothy Herrmann, the UN Representative for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) in New York, writes that in Madrid the situation is especially dire where private hospitals have been unable to pay their abortion bills for over a year.

“Public hospitals are even further behind and there is no sign of catching up. Most abortions are conducted at private clinics however, and the question remains on how they have been able to cover the cost of the abortion services they provide without government funding.”

Tags: abortion, albania, spain

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

EU family roundup: Criticize homosexuality in Sweden and go to jail?: No problem for European court

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Fri Feb 17 18:00 EST Comments (10)

 
European Court of Human RIghts

Criticize homosexuality in Sweden and go to jail: No problem for European rights court

Anyone challenging the homosexualist agenda in public in Sweden can be sent to prison, and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that this does not constitute any violation of rights. In 2004, the Swedish government charged a group of pamphleteers with “agitation against a national or ethnic group,” a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison.

The four men were convicted in 2006 by the District Court, which ruling was overturned on appeal but later upheld by the Supreme Court in a narrow 5-3 decision.

The four appealed to the ECHR, which ruled on February 9th that their application was “manifestly ill-founded”. The court said that the conviction constituted no violation of Article 10 (Freedom of Expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights. It was a “legitimate and proportional interference” with the applicants’ rights of freedom of expression and was necessary for the protection of the “reputation and rights of others”.

The case started in 2004 when the four activists distributed about 100 pamphlets at a secondary school expressing objections to the widespread acceptance of homosexual activity.

The pamphlets read: “Homosexual Propaganda. In the course of a few decades society has swung from rejection of homosexuality and other sexual deviances to embracing this deviant sexual proclivity. Your anti-Swedish teachers know very well that homosexuality has a morally destructive effect on the substance of society and will willingly try to put it forward as something normal and good.”

The pamphlets encouraged readers to respond to homosexualist propaganda by pointing out the connection between the spread of HIV/AIDS and increasing homosexual activity by infected persons, and that homosexualist lobby groups are attempting to “play down” their support of pedophilia.

The four activists, Tor Fredrik Vejdeland, Mattias Harlin, Björn Täng and Niklas Lundström, denied in court that they had intended to express contempt for homosexuals, instead saying that their purpose was to “start a debate about the lack of objectivity in the education in Swedish schools.”

The Swedish Supreme Court acknowledged the applicants’ right to express their ideas, but found the statements had been “unnecessarily offensive.” The majority ruling particularly noted that the pupils at the school had not had the possibility to refuse the leaflets, which had been left in lockers.

The judges said that the purpose of supplying the pupils with arguments for a debate “could have been achieved without offensive statements to homosexuals as a group.”

Ultimately, the first three applicants were given suspended sentences combined with fines ranging from approximately 200 to 2,000 Euros and the fourth applicant was sentenced to probation.

Click “like” if you want to defend true marriage.

~

Leading European homosexualist “NGO” directly funded by the EU/Dutch govt’ and George Soros

This week, a British MEP, Godfrey Bloom, a member of the euro-skeptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), has demanded to know why an ostensibly independent NGO, the International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA-Europe), receives as much as 2/3 of its operating budget directly from the European Commission. Bloom said that the group receives a total of 70 per cent of its funding from taxpayer sources - either from the EU or from the Dutch government.

Bloom pointed to IGLA’s published figures for 2011 that said 67.7 per cent of its €1,824,000 budget, (€1,252,600) came from grants from the European Commission. Another €50,000 was granted by the Dutch Government. Of the remaining €521,400 of its budget the group received a total of €402,400 from three individuals: George Soros, Sigrid Rausing and an anonymous donor.

The group issued a statement on their blog saying, “ILGA-Europe’s member organisations pay their membership to ILGA (World) directly.” Individual membership fees, the group said, “are used by the world association to support LGBTI organisations in other regions of the world.” European human rights lawyer J.C. von Krempach, writing on the ‘blog Turtle Bay and Beyond, pointed out that this means the group is, essentially, a government organization being funded by the European Commission to lobby for changes to the European Commission.

For some years, the group was denied NGO status at the UN because of their connection to groups that promote pedophilia but this was eventually overruled by the combined lobbying of some European countries. In addition, the UN rules say that an NGO, a “non-governmental organisation,” must by definition not be funded by governments.

Austin Ruse, of the Catholic Family and Human Right Institute, wrote that there is a great deal of “bad blood” at the UN over European countries pushing the homosexualist agenda. “European nations are forcing extremist homosexual groups upon the UN NGO Committee,” Ruse said.

“Other governments,” including the US and the UK, “have taken up the cause of making homosexual activity a human right enforced by international law.”

Godfrey Bloom asked the European Commissioners, “Given the proportion of its own contribution to financing ILGA-Europe, does the Commission believe that ILGA-Europe can be described as a ‘non-governmental organization’ or as part of ‘civil society’?”

Bloom continued, “How does the Commission view the influence that wealthy individuals may exert over the NGOs they are subsidising? Is there a risk that persons such as George Soros could ‘buy’ themselves one or more NGOs that are economically dependent on their donations? How does the Commission view the impact of this particular type of ‘philanthropy’ on democracy?”

He pointed to the request by ILGA for an additional 1 million Euros spread over three years from the EU-funded EuropeAid, and asked how the Commission intends to reply to the request.

Bloom pointed out that among the requirements for NGOs that seek accreditation to obtain consultative status at the UN is that “the major portion of the organisation’s funds should be derived from contributions from national affiliates, individual members, or other non-governmental components.”

He asked if the European Commission had similar rules and if so, whether they believed ILGA had met the requirements. Ruse said that the revelations will likely prompt a re-evaluation of the group’s NGO status at the UN.

~

English Catholic bishop urges MPs to resist Tory “gay marriage” proposals

The Catholic bishop of Shrewsbury in northwestern England has urged MPs to resist the efforts of the coalition government and Prime Minister David Cameron to impose “gay marriage.” Bishop Mark Davies said “politicians of Christian conscience” must protect the “God-given meaning of marriage for the sake of all generations to come.”

Bishop Davies delivered the comments in a homily during the diocese’s annual celebration of marriage, at St Wilfrid’s Church in Northwich, Cheshire, on Saturday, the Daily Telegraph reports. He criticized the idea that “progress” always means a “continuous shifting” away from society’s Christian foundations. He called the proposal to allow homosexual partnerings to be called marriage a “seismic shift in the foundations of our society.”

The comments follow the news that more than 100 Conservative MPs could vote against the proposal that will overturn the legal definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. The government announced it would be opening a “public consultation” in March, not on whether there was acceptance of the idea, but only on the legal mechanisms for it to be implemented.

Bishop Davies said, “We face a mindset which sees progress only as a continuous shifting of our society further and further from its foundations until we have nothing left for family and society to be founded upon than changing, political fashions of thought.

“By attempting to redefine marriage for society, politicians will find they have not only undermined the institution of marriage but obscured its identity for generations to come.

“For politicians of Christian conscience this will be a moment to resist the leadership of their own political parties together with every parliamentarian who recognises the Judeo-Christian foundations on which our society rests.

“Our voices must now be raised as clearly as they can be, in order to proclaim the God-given meaning of marriage not only for the sake of this generation, but for the sake of all generations to come.”

 

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Government can’t force us to be ‘executioners’: Spanish medical association on abortion

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Fri Feb 17 17:39 EST Comments (2)

 
Carmen Rodriguez

February 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The president of the Asturias Medical College, the official physician’s association for the region of Asturias in the north of Spain, says that abortion converts doctors into “executioners,” a role that cannot be imposed on them.

“The society dictates laws, but doctors don’t have to be executioners,” Carmen Rodriguez, president of the college, told the Voice of the Asturias newspaper. “They can’t make the doctor play that game.”

She also called on doctors “to declare themselves objectors” in conscience to performing abortions, the publication reports.

Rodriguez said that a reform of the existing abortion law, which permits the killing of the unborn on demand for the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, is particularly necessary regarding minors, referring to the law’s provision allowing girls as young as 16 to have an abortion without their parents’ permission.

“It cannot be that the parents should be responsible for their children and not be in the case of the abortion of their daughter,” said Rodriguez.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

The position of the Asturias Medical College is reflective of the general thinking of physicians’ associations in Spain.  The General Council of Official Medical Associations issued a statement in 2010 denouncing the current abortion law, and stating, “The medical profession has pronounced clearly on this controversial topic, indicating in the first place that one cannot speak of the ‘right to abortion,’ since the right to life is fundamental and cannot be renounced, and [abortion] even continues to be considered a crime except in the terms fixed by the law.”

Despite the decriminalization of abortion in Spain, the Asturias Medical College code of ethics continues to state, “the physician will never intentionally provoke the death of any patient, not even if requested explicitly by the same.”

With the recent election of a new, more conservative prime minister and governing party in Spain, there is a new hope that the current abortion law will be repealed in favor of a law that would allow abortion in a much more narrow range of circumstances. If such a law is enforced rigorously, the number of abortions in Spain could be reduced dramatically.

Tags: abortion

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Facebook censors pro-life image, but allows do-it-yourself abortion instructions

by John Jalsevac Fri Feb 17 15:15 EST Comments (78)

 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y., Feb. 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Recently Facebook apologized for censoring a post by Dr. Rebecca Gomperts in which she gave instructions for a do-it-yourself chemical abortion. The popular social media site decided it was okay for the international abortion provider to teach women and girls how to do an abortion themselves at home using Misoprostol, even telling them to lie to a pharmacist to get the necessary drugs.

But now Facebook has removed a graphic that shows the aftermath of an abortion: An eight-week fetus torn limb from limb and decapitated.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

This week, Bryan Kemper, Youth Outreach Director for Priests for Life, and Andy Moore of habortionwiki.org created a version of the popular “What They Think I Do” graphic that have been going viral on Facebook. Their graphic was entitled “Abortionist,” and the final frame was a photo of a baby killed in an early abortion.

This image received thousands of shares and comments in a matter of hours. But this morning, Kemper found a message from Facebook explaining that the image was removed, and ordering him to remove it from any other place he had posted it on the site.

“It amazed me,” said Kemper; “Facebook will allow girls to learn how to do an abortion themselves at home with no doctor’s supervision, and encourages them to lie when obtaining the drugs necessary. But they will not allow them to see what an abortion looks like.

“I guess it is only considered censorship if you censor the pro-choice side; it’s perfectly fine in our culture to censor the pro-life message.”

Kemper has posted the image on his website at and has given permission for anyone to repost it on their blogs or websites.

He also is urging all pro-lifers to contact Facebook to protest the site’s lopsided censorship.

Click here for the DIY abortion instructions.

“I have long said that America will not end abortion until it sees abortion,” said Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. “But those who support and profit from abortion work very hard to make sure America does not see abortion.”

Tags: abortion, facebook

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Trudeau’s last stand: unrestricted abortion or he’s gone

by Patrick B. Craine Fri Feb 17 14:56 EST Comments (7)

 
Patrick Craine
Justin Trudeau

February 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Justin Trudeau showed the country his top priorities on Sunday when he laid out his conditions for supporting a united Canada. The son of the great federalist champion suggested to Radio-Canada that he would support Quebec sovereignty if Parliament moved to restrict abortion or same-sex “marriage”. As a result of his apparent openness to separatism, pundits are predicting his prospects for the Liberal Party leadership are over.

But I say don’t underestimate the Grits’ love affair with Trudeaumania. Don’t expect them to so lightly toss aside the Prime Minister’s remaining legacy, a man who has been groomed for years to one day take over the party. Though the separatist comments are damaging, his subsequent unyielding declarations of support for Canadian unity will surely appease his supporters, the majority of whom are sympathetic to his brand of sexual politics anyway.

My question out of all of this is: in light of the growing evidence of the younger Trudeau’s extreme pro-abortion views, how long will Catholic leaders continue to prop up his leadership prospects?

Despite his insistence that there’s no inconsistency between his Catholic faith and his promotion of legalized abortion, he continues to be put on display as a role model for the next generation of Catholics.

This is damaging not only to Catholic youth, but to Trudeau himself - it allows him to harbor a sense of remaining a “good Catholic” even while pushing his extremism on abortion to ever greater limits.

Firstly, it’s important that we realize the full weight of Trudeau’s comments on Sunday. If you can measure a person’s commitment to a cause by the lengths he will take to promote it, how committed is Trudeau to protecting abortion and same-sex “marriage” in Quebec? Apparently he’d break-up the country and risk damaging his father’s legacy over it.

That Trudeau still considers himself a “good Catholic” became apparent in November when he complained to media that he had been accused of being a “bad Catholic” by Tory MP Dean Del Mastro. Del Mastro, a pro-life Pentecostal, questioned why Trudeau was given a platform at a Peterborough Catholic high school twice in three years, while even devoutly Catholic Tories were never invited.

“Are there any tenets of the Catholic faith that Justin supports?” asked Del Mastro on his Facebook page.

Trudeau said he was “surprisingly upset” at the remark. “My own personal faith is an extremely important part of who I am and the values that I try to lead with,” he told the Canadian Press.

For many of us, it’s hard to believe anybody could seriously consider that Trudeau’s views on life and family are consistent with being a “good Catholic.”

But if he has consistently been allowed a platform at Catholic institutions even while publicly airing those views – and his father the same for many decades before – then why would he think any differently?

Perhaps as much as anything, Prime Minister Trudeau is remembered for his resolve to keep “the state out of the bedrooms of the nation.” Thus he gave us legal abortion, homosexuality, and divorce, and then the Charter that led to state-funded abortion-on-demand and, ultimately, same-sex “marriage”.

We know how some Catholic leaders handled the elder Trudeau’s open flouting of the faith: when he died in 2000, he was given a nationally-broadcast state funeral in Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica, presided over by the Cardinal Archbishop of Montreal.

Dare we hope that our Catholic leaders will handle his son’s case any better? I pray we can.

Admittedly, bishops have limited sway over politicians who simply don’t take them or the Catholic faith seriously. But if they can’t change the politician’s mind, they can at least protect the faith of their flock. They can’t silence politicians, but they don’t have to hand them a megaphone.

We do not know Justin or his father’s guilt, and cannot judge their souls. I’d say that given Justin’s paternal model, we can perhaps understand how he could have such a distorted view of the Catholic faith. We must pray that God would open his eyes and draw this wayward sheep back into the fold.

But it’s not enough to sit back and hope that God works in the man’s heart. If we truly believe in our Christian calling to love our neighbor, then we cannot allow him to wallow in ignorance or sin without clear fraternal correction.

Pope Benedict highlighted this “forgotten” Christian duty of “fraternal correction in view of eternal salvation” last week during a talk in preparation for Lent. He emphasized that the Church’s tradition of “admonishing sinners” is essential to our duty to love our neighbor.

“We must not remain silent before evil,” the pope said. “I am thinking of all those Christians who, out of human regard or purely personal convenience, adapt to the prevailing mentality, rather than warning their brothers and sisters against ways of thinking and acting that are contrary to the truth and that do not follow the path of goodness.”

So, how much do we actually love Justin Trudeau? Shall we give him his due as a lost sheep and run out in God’s grace to bring him back into the fold, or do we just leave him to the wolves?

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Darwinism the root of the culture of death: expert

by Kathleen Gilbert Fri Feb 17 14:56 EST Comments (33)

 
Hugh Owen

WASHINGTON, February 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - What do Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, “father of the sexual revolution” Alfred Kinsey, Lenin, and Hitler have in common?

All these pioneers of what some call the culture of death rooted their beliefs and actions in Darwinism - a little-known fact that one conservative leader says shouldn’t be ignored.

Hugh Owen of the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation told an audience on Capitol Hill before the March for Life last month that the philosophical consequences of Darwinism has “totally destroyed many parts of our society.”

Owen pointed to Dr. Josef Mengele, who infamously experimented on Jews during the Holocaust, Hitler himself, and other Nazi leaders as devotees of Darwinism who saw Nazism and the extermination of peoples as nothing more than a way “to advance evolution.” Darwinism was also the “foundation” of Communist ideology in Russia through Vladimir Lenin, said Owen, who showed a photograph of the only decorative item found on Lenin’s desk: an ape sitting on a pile of books, including Darwin’s “Origin of Species,” and looking at a skull.

“Lenin sat at this desk and looked at this sculpture as he authorized the murder of millions of his fellow countrymen, because they stood in the way of evolutionary progress,” Owen said. He also said accounts from communist China report that the first lesson used by the new regime to indoctrinate religious Chinese citizens was “always the same: Darwin.”

In America, the fruit of Darwinism simply took the form of eugenics, the belief that the human race could be improved by controlling the breeding of a population.

Owen said that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, a prominent eugenicist, promoted contraception on the principles of evolution. “She saw contraception as the sacrament of evolution, because with contraception we get rid of the less fit and we allow only the fit to breed,” he said. Sanger is well-known to have supported the spread of “birth control,” a term she coined, as “the process of weeding out the unfit.”

Alfred Kinsey, whose “experiments” in pedophilia, sadomasochism, and homosexuality opened wide the doors to sexual anarchy in the 20th century, also concluded from Darwinist principles that sexual deviations in humans were no more inappropriate than those found in the animal kingdom. Before beginning his sexual experiments, Kinsey, also a eugenicist, was a zoologist and author of a prominent biology textboook that promoted evolution.

Owen, a Roman Catholic, strongly rejected the notion that Christianity and the Biblical creation account could be reconciled with Darwinism. He recounted the story of his own father, who he said was brought up a devout Christian before losing his faith when exposed to Darwinism in college. He was to become the first ever Secretary General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

“The trajectory that led from Leeds and Manchester University to becoming Secretary General of one of the most evil organizations that’s ever existed on the face of the earth started with evolution,” said Owen.

Tags: darwin, planned parenthood

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

The Single Issue That Dares Not Speak its Name

by David Krayden Fri Feb 17 12:21 EST Comments (8)

 

February 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Get the latest from the Liberals?  “Single issue” pro-life candidates are trying to “hijack” their already “weakened” party.  Or that is how an “objective” news story described the concern.  Not to be hoodwinked by these nefarious foes of abortion, the Liberal membership in Toronto-Danforth Riding Association were quick to defeat the nomination of one, Trifon Haitas, a Greek-Canadian journalist who describes himself as pro-life and whose candidacy was backed by “Liberals for Life,” an organization that must feel, given the pro-abortion stance of the Grits, like “New Democrats for Free Trade.”  Lest, there be any further confusion over the issue, perpetually interim Liberal leader Bob Rae reminded all assembled Liberals that the party was “pro-choice” and that everyone had better remember that.

What Rae and others really mean is that we must all remember that there is no room to debate abortion in Canada.  It is fascinating to observe the sheer, unbridled fear that overtakes liberals when faced with the possibility of just allowing the abortion issue the respectability of being discussed openly, democratically.  Not only are all pro-lifers necessarily single-issue candidates but candidates with a single issue whose proponents dare not speak its name.  We couldn’t discuss homosexuality in Victorian polite society; we cannot debate abortion in the public square of today.

It is a silence shared by liberals who rejoice in unrestricted abortion and by some exclusively fiscal conservatives who fear the media and expected public backlash if the abortion issue is raised, if even in a moment of weakness.

But events are moving to overwhelm this suffocating political censorship, despite the monotonous efforts of both Bob Rae and Stephen Harper to force the abortion debate to the back of the bus.

First there was the editorial from the Canadian Medical Association and the ensuing debate about ethnic fetal cleansing, or abortion-based gender selection, when parents choose to allow a male child to live and a female to die.  The issue shocked some Canadians:  would some really choose to abort a fetus over the child’s sex?  But the more the issue was debated, the more it continued to disturb, because isn’t all abortion about one kind of selection or another?  Pro-abortionists like to call themselves pro-choice but isn’t that what gender selection is, a choice?

The reason that gender-selective abortion has upset and yes, disgusted, so many is not just because it is a “woman’s issue” that illustrates how some perceive women to be of lower status than men.  This issue has hit the guts of many Canadians because it has forced us to examine abortion as more than a clinical procedure.  It has asked us to identify what a selection or a choice entails.  It has, for a brief moment, highlighted the life of the child that is so utterly affected by the choice that is made when the abort button is pushed.  Instead of being told by radical feminists that the abortion debate has been decided forever, or being cautioned by Stephen Harper that the abortion debate will not be reopened during his watch, gender selection reminds us of just who is the real loser, and what is the real loss, every time an abortion is performed in Canada.

Then there was the insistence of Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth, who is demanding that we review a 400-year-old common law that says children “are not human beings until the moment of complete birth.” Stephen Harper was in China when Woodworth announced his intention of following through with a private member’s motion on the issue.  The prime minister must have been in a rage over the backbencher’s temerity but even the Leader can’t prevent people from thinking about issues and bringing up uncomfortable facts.  That is supposed to be why people become involved in the political process.  That’s why Stephen Harper did at one time.

If one believes that abortion is a great moral issue of the ages and one shares a conviction that God moves in the affairs of men, then He will continue to use men and women to raise this issue despite the most concerted efforts of liberals, feminists and some conservatives to bury it.

David Krayden is the executive director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, an independent, not-for-profit institution dedicated to the advancement of freedom and prosperity through the development and promotion of good public policy.

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Democrats repeatedly invoke Sr. Keehan endorsement during hearings on HHS mandate

by Ben Johnson Fri Feb 17 11:16 EST Comments (7)

 
Sr. Carol Keehan has been a major thorn in the side of the U.S. bishops since she broke ranks to endorse the Obama health bill last year.

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 17, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Seeking to prove that President Obama’s accommodation on the HHS mandate does not infringe on Christian institutions’ freedom of religion, Democratic congressmen on Thursday repeatedly cited the controversial endorsement of the mandate Sister Carol Keehan made on behalf of the Catholic Health Association (CHA). 

Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport testified before Congress Thursday that the new version of the policy - which shifts the distribution of contraception and abortion-inducing drugs from religious employers to their health insurance companies, but does not allow anyone to opt out of coverage - would force the nation’s largest denomination to fund and provide products it simultaneously denounces. 

The House Oversight Committee’s ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, asked Bishop Lori about “all the other Catholic entities that praised the Obama administration last week for allowing” them to follow the dictates of “their faith and the law.”

“Unlike you, they believe these remaining issues can be worked out,” Cummings said.

He then quoted a series of endorsements by private Catholic organizations, beginning with Sr. Keehan’s statement that the CHA was “very pleased” with the adjustment, as well as an initial reaction from Catholic Charities that it “welcomes” the president’s efforts. Catholics United similarly “called the White House’s plan ‘a win-win,’” that showed Obama was “willing to rise above” partisan politics, Cummings said.

Bishop Lori responded, “Catholic Health Association does not speak for the church as a whole. Catholic bishops speak for the Church as a whole.”

CHA, the bishop said, “is a lobbying group. It is a trade association. It is not the Church, as such…Catholic Charities is in the same position.” 

“I don’t know much about Catholic United except it doesn’t have any particular standing in the Church,” he said.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

The nun’s actions played a part in the most dramatic moments of the hearings. As Virginia Democrat Gerry Connolly accused the testifying clergy of “trampling” on freedom, he said, “The Catholic hospitals supported the compromise. They’re not afraid of closing down hospitals in America.”

Almost immediately following the president’s nationally televised speech announcing the “adjustment” to the mandate last Friday, Sr. Keehan sent out a press release that CHA was “pleased and grateful that the religious liberty and conscience protection needs of so many ministries that serve our country were appreciated enough that an early resolution of this issue was accomplished.” Planned Parenthood issued a statement at the same time, praising the president for not folding on the matter of mandatory contraception coverage. Meanwhile the bishops, who had not been privy to inside discussions on the revised mandate, were scrambling to make sense of the “accommodation,” and only issued a statement denouncing it later that evening.

In the meantime the media juxtaposed the CHA’s and Planned Parenthood’s reactions as though the accommodation had answered all parties’ objections. John Brehany, executive director of the Catholic Medical Association, told LifeSiteNews.com CHA’s actions amounted to “a scandal.”

Sr. Keehan sent her statement to the White House even before Obama’s speech had been made. Darron Paul Monteiro, associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement (OPE), had e-mailed a copy of her statement to “friends” last Friday morning, writing, “I wanted to be sure you saw Sister Carol Keehan’s statement on the new regulation being proposed and finalized later this morning.”

Keehnan’s apparent advance knowledge of the policy contrasts with the administration’s treatment of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The president’s accommodation policy “came upon the bishops’ conference of a sudden,” Bishop Lori testified on Thursday. He said, while Obama called him before last Friday’s speech, the president had not conferred with the bishops nor gotten their input.

“There was no consultation. It was not given to us in writing, and it was told to us not long before it was announced,” Bp. Lori said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic, confirmed “I did not speak with the Catholic bishops” during Senate testimony on Wednesday. She added that she had not asked the Justice Department for its opinion about whether the accommodation was constitutional.

“When we first heard it ourselves, we wondered if there might not also be a glimmer of hope,” the bishop said yesterday, “but upon further analysis within that same day we immediately began to see problems…There are serious problems at the level of principle and the level of practicality.”

The bishop and Congressman Cummings clashed again later in the hearing over objections the Obama administration’s denial of grants to a Catholic service that refuses to refer sex trafficking victims for abortions, which was the subject of a two-hour hearing before the Oversight Committee last year. The congressman said Roman Catholic institutions still receive “millions and millions of dollars in all kinds of contracts.”

“We don’t get a handout,” Bishop Lori replied. “We contract for services, and we deliver, and we bring to those services some moral convictions. And we shouldn’t be at a disadvantage because we bring some moral convictions to the table.”

“We also bring the generosity of the Catholic people, and we bring volunteers,” he added. “When you contract with the Church, you get a bang for your buck.”

Bishop Lori was one of ten people to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Thursday during a hearing entitled, entitled, “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?”

Contact Information:
Catholic Health Association.

Tags: birth control mandate, carol keehan

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Pro-life women don’t count? Cecile Richards misleads that no women testified about HHS mandate

by Ben Johnson Fri Feb 17 10:01 EST Comments (44)

 
Cecile Richards sent out an e-mail accusing the panel on religious freedom of not wanting "to hear from women or from anyone who disagrees with them."

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 17, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Although two pro-life women testified before a Congressional panel investigating whether the Obama administration had crossed a dangerous line violating the freedom of religion with its birth control mandate, the president of Planned Parenthood led a chorus of pro-abortion activists in asking, “Where are the women?”

On Thursday, the House Oversight Committee chaired by Congressman Darrell Issa called the two women, who work for Christian universities, before a hearing titled, “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?” 

Dr. Allison Dabbs Garrett, the senior vice president for academic affairs at Oklahoma Christian University, and Dr. Laura Champion, the medical director at Calvin College Health Services, were two of ten witnesses who said the government mandate requiring religious institutions such as theirs to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs violated the First Amendment.

However, Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, released a statement the same morning asking, “How can Congress hold a hearing about birth control and not let any women speak?”

She accused Issa of “holding a congressional hearing to oppose insurance coverage for contraception, yet not allowing a single woman to testify in support of the benefit.”

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

The two women testified as part of the second panel. The first panel included five men: a Catholic bishop, the president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, two Southern Baptists, and a rabbi.

Cecile Richards sent out a picture of the first panel as part of a fundraising e-mail Thursday afternoon. “This picture is spreading around the internet like wildfire right now because of what’s missing. WOMEN.” she wrote. “The anti-birth control lawmakers who want to give employers the power to deny women coverage for contraception don’t want to hear from women or from anyone who disagrees with them.” 

Nancy Keenan, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, followed suit, telling her followers in an e-mail message, “Unbelievably, the head of the committee, anti-choice Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), refused to allow a female law student to testify in support of contraceptive coverage.” However, she implicitly acknowledged a female presence in the hearings. “The hearing featured 10 anti-choice witnesses – eight of whom were men,” she wrote.

George Zornick of The Nation invoked the days of segregation in his article, “Republican Hearing on Contraception: No Women Allowed.”

The row over representation began during the hearing itself. “I look at this panel, and I don’t one single individual representing the tens of millions of women across the country who want and need insurance coverage for basic preventive health care services,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, D-NY. “Where are the women?”

Maloney later pioneered the #“wherearethewomen hashtag on Twitter.

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi revived the issue during a press conference later in the day. “Imagine they’re having a panel on women’s health, and they don’t have any women on the panel – duh! “ she said. “What is it that men don’t understand about women’s health and how central the issue of family planning is to that?”

The hearings, which were marked by contention – including Eleanor Holmes Norton walking out and Rep. Gerry Connolly accusing testifying clergy of “trampling” on freedom – produced their lighter moments. After Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-NY, said he would feel more comfortable with women on the panel, Congressman Issa responded, “I might want to note Rev. Barry Lynn is not a woman. That’s who you requested.”

Under rules established before Republicans regained control of the House, the minority party gets to choose one witness per hearing. The committee’s Democratic members originally chose Barry Lynn, the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The minority then changed its mind and asked for Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown Law student who was once president of its Students for Reproductive Justice chapter. She was expected to testify about a fellow student who was reportedly unable to afford the birth control pills that her doctor was prescribing to treat ovarian cysts.

Since the hearings were about religious freedom rather than birth control, Congressman Issa said Fluke would be an inappropriate witness. However, his office contacted Lynn, who declined to attend, saying he did not find the call very “serious.” 

A committee spokeswoman defended the hearing’s inclusion of women against misrepresentations, saying, “Rep. Pelosi is either ill informed or arrogantly dismissive of women who don’t share her views.”

 

Tags: carlyn maloney, cecile richards, nancy keenan

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

As Romney’s polls drop, ‘the last conservative standing is Rick Santorum’

by Ben Johnson Fri Feb 17 09:21 EST Comments (80)

 
Rick Santorum

Updated with additional statements from Gary Bauer and Richard Viguerie at 2:17 p.m. on February 17, 2012..

DETROIT, MICHIGAN, February 17, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer told LifeSiteNews.com that tightening polls and ever-changing frontrunners are proof that the upcoming Michigan primary is “a key test for Governor Mitt Romney” – and that Rick Santorum has emerged as the party’s most viable conservative candidate. 

Two polls in Romney’s home state put Santorum ahead by nearly 10 points, erasing Romney’s former 15-point lead. That’s bad news in a state where Mitt’s father, George, was a popular governor for six years; his mother, Lenore, ran for U.S. Senate in 1970; and Mitt’s impressive victory in the state’s 2008 GOP primary established him as a potent threat to John McCain.
 
His campaign is looking for a victory to re-establish the former Massachusetts governor in the 2012 race.“The people of Michigan know Mitt Romney, and Mitt Romney knows Michigan and its great potential,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg told LifeSiteNews.com. “Michiganders know that Mitt Romney is exactly what our country needs right now – a conservative businessman who will help turn our economy around, create jobs, and get our nation back on the right track.”

She added Romney is “taking nothing for granted” in Michigan.

Romney’s stature has eroded nationwide, according to a Rasmussen poll released Wednesday that showed most Republicans prefer Santorum in a head-to-head match against Romney by 12 percentage points. Last week, Romney led Santorum by 16 points.

Political observers say Romney has a more daunting obstacle than sliding polls: his party’s right-leaning majority, which sees him as too centrist.

Richard Viguerie, a conservative activist for more than 50 years and the pioneer of direct mail advertizing, told LifeSiteNews.com, “About 75 percent of the Republican Party is conservative, and 25 percent is more centrist/moderate. Romney’s been stuck in the mid-20s for about five-and-a-half years.”

Viguerie, who operates the website ConservativeHQ.com, said, “At the beginning of the process, that 75 percent was divided among lots of people. Now it’s getting winnowed out, and the last conservative standing is Rick Santorum.”

Viguerie said he sees a clear path to the nomination for Santorum “if two things happen: one, if he can raise the money. He doesn’t have to raise Romney money, but he has to raise enough to be competitive.”

Second, “if the conservative movement endorses Santorum,” he said, “then I think it will be impossible to stop” him.

Santorum, who narrowly won the Iowa caucuses, revived his momentum by sweeping three contests last week in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri

Gary Bauer told LifeSiteNews.com Santorum is doing well because this year “voters are looking for a presidential candidate who they can trust to keep American militarily strong, economically vibrant, and also understands the values and cultural issues that are confronting our nation.” On the level of retail politics, “His blue collar background helps him connect with the average guy. His pro-life, pro-family views helps him connect with every American who knows out values deficit matters, too.”

Deal Hudson, president of the Catholic Advocate, said the Santorum surge “is a tribute to his political courage” and a sign that grassroots Republicans “are demanding a nominee who can be relied upon, not only to undo the excesses of the present administration, but also reaffirm [our] basic principles and values.”

But Romney’s campaign believes Santorum is leading because of his relatively unknown voting history as a U.S. senator, including several votes to raise the debt ceiling, a vote against a right-to-work bill, his defense of Congressional earmarks, and his support for allowing one-time felons to vote

“There are a lot of questions about his record that are still left unanswered,” Henneberg told LifeSiteNews. “The more voters learn about the differences between Senator Santorum and Mitt Romney, the more they will find that Mitt Romney is the fiscally conservative candidate and is the best choice to cut spending, grow the economy, and create jobs.”

For the moment, the Pennsylvanian has punched a hole in Romney’s aura of inevitability. Rasmussen reports, although most GOP voters still believe Romney will be the nominee, the number is down by 11 percent, while twice as many voters see Santorum as the strongest possible candidate now than did last week.

Romney and his wife, Anne, have devoted tremendous time and resources to their home state, visiting Grand Rapids, Monroe, Farmington Hills, Novi, and Flint. Gov. Rick Snyder endorsed Romney on Thursday, joining scores of officials across the state.

An American Research Group poll found Romney leading in Arizona, with Santorum close behind. Michigan and Arizona hold their primaries on February 28, with a total of 59 delegates at stake.

“If he loses in his own home state, it sends a message that people recognize that a politician from Massachusetts is not the conservative leader that the party needs,” said Alice Stewart, Santorum’s national press secretary.

Bauer, who served in the Reagan administration before founding the Campaign for Working Families, told LifeSiteNews.com via e-mail, “A strong showing by Senator Santorum in Michigan would be a serious blow against the Romney campaign’s narrative that only their guy is electable.”

Fox News Channel reported on Thursday that, including SuperPAC expenditures, Rick Santorum will spend $750,000 for the Michigan campaign, while Mitt Romney plans to invest $2 million in the next week.

No one sees this campaign ending soon. Henneberg told LifeSiteNews, “We have said from the beginning that this was going to be a long campaign, and unlike our competitors, we are the only campaign with the resources and organization to keep winning over the long run.”

“I don’t think you’re gonna knock Romney out of the race,” Viguerie agreed. “I think you can beat him, but you can’t knock him out.”

Both Bauer and Viguerie said, despite calls from National Review and The American Spectator‘s R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. for Newt Gingrich to end his candidacy, only he can determine when or if to make an exit. “Having run myself, I would never publicly urge another candidate to drop out of the race,” Gary Bauer told LifeSiteNews. “Only Newt Gingrich can make that decision.” Viguerie said, “As long as he can stay in there and get funded, it’s not for me to say he should get out.”

Polls show Ron Paul at approximately 10 percent in Arizona, but his dedicated followers seem unlikely to end their campaign or readily support another candidate. A possible win in Maine could reinforce their resolve.

The protracted primary battle means voter turnout will be key. Both Bauer and Viguerie endorsed Santorum along with a host of other national conservative and pro-family leaders. Conservatives like Bay Buchanan, Nikki Haley, and Bob McDonnell endorsed Romney. Bauer described the 2012 presidential election as “crucial to the future of this nation, because fundamental questions about the size and scope of government and the safety of America are being answered right now.”

“Perhaps the most interesting political battle going on in America today is not between Republicans and Democrats but in the Republican Party, for the heart and soul of the Republican Party,” Viguerie said.

Viguerie told LifeSiteNews.com he could envision Romney going to the convention with a plurality of delegates but losing the nomination.

“There’s a major part of the Republican Party that has dug their heels in and said they won’t accept Mitt Romney, and an equal number that says they won’t accept Gingrich,” Viguerie said. “Nobody dislikes Santorum. He’s acceptable to all wings of the party.”

“This could be a situation that’s settled in Tampa, Florida, next August,” he said.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

 

Tags: gary bauer, mitt romney, richard viguerie, rick santorum

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Dem. congressman lectures bishop, rabbi, Christian leaders on HHS mandate

by Ben Johnson Fri Feb 17 09:00 EST Comments (10)

 
Rep. Gerry Connolly

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 17, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – As religious leaders – including a bishop, ordained ministers, and a rabbi – testified before a House committee that the HHS birth control mandate violates their religious liberty, Democratic congressman Gerry Connolly burst into a three-minute soliloquy accusing them of being “complicit in the trampling of freedom.”

The House Oversight and Reform Committee held a hearing on the health care mandate yesterday morning entitled, “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?”

“I have to assume each of you gentlemen came here in good faith, but surely it hasn’t escaped your attention that you’re being used for a political agenda,” Rep. Connolly accused. “Maybe you’re willingly being used, I don’t know. I don’t know what’s in your heart.”

“I think this is a shameful exercise, and I am very sad that you have chosen to participate and be used the way you’re being used,” he told members of the first panel, which included a Catholic bishop, two representatives of the Southern Baptist Convention, the president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and a rabbi from Yeshiva University.

“Here you are being asked to testify about your rights being trampled on – an overstatement if there ever was one,” Connolly said. “Your participation on the panel makes you complicit in of course the trampling of freedom, because we were denied, on this side of the aisle, any witness who might have a differing point of view.”

The committee’s Republican majority and Democratic minority clashed bitterly in the days leading up to the hearing over the nature of the hearing and the number of witnesses Democrats should be able to call. Committee chairman Darrell Issa, R-CA, said the hearings were devoted exclusively to religious liberty, while minority members wanted to focus the hearings on contraception.

In an impassioned speech, Connolly said to the Christian leaders assembled to testify, “This is a panel designed – with your conscious participation or not – to try one more time to embarrass the president of the United States and his administration by overstating an issue which is sacred to all Americans, religious freedom.” Accusing his colleagues of “political demagoguery in an election year,” Connolly said, “men and women of the cloth it seems to me ought to run, not walk, away from that line.”

He also criticized South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy for asking if the panelists would go to prison before violating their consciences.

When asked,  Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport replied, “We are not going to violate our conscience.” Dr. Matthew Harrison, president of the Lutheran Church-Missour Synod agreed, “Yes, I would [go to jail], clearly.” Dr. Craig Mitchell of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary said, “I’d like to be in his cell.”

Later in the hearing, Dr. Mitchell told the committee, “Tens of thousands of us, maybe hundreds of thousands of us, would be willing to spend a night in jail for the preservation of religious liberty.”

“These guys are either going to have to go to jail because they won’t violate their religious beliefs,” Gowdy said, “or the hospitals and the schools are going to close, which means government is gonna get bigger, because they’re going to have to fill the void when you guys quit doing it – and maybe that’s what they wanted all along.”

That assertion was “beyond the pale,” Connolly said. “As if people are going to jail on this. Shame. Everybody knows that’s not true.” Rep. Lacy Clay, D-MO, agreed the hearings had sunk to a level of “disingenuousness.”

Some members later apologized to the religious leaders for their colleagues’ behavior. Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma joked, “This is not something probably you anticipated a year ago to think, gosh wouldn’t it be great sometime in 2012 if I could go be on a Congressional hearing and just get berated publicly?”

The religious leaders responded graciously under fire – Rep. Connolly asked no questions of them – but continually reasserted the seriousness of eroding the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of religion..

Bp. Lori said the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops has an ad hoc committee on religious liberty “because we have massive concerns about religious liberty at the state and national levels. Massive concerns.”

Dr. Ben Mitchell of Union University warned the Obama administration was “clearly hollowing out the idea of religious liberty.”

Religious institutions that refuse to comply with the mandate to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs as part of their health care coverage face fines that could force them to close their doors. Dr. Harrison said his preliminary research showed his denomination could face “tens of millions of dollars” in fines if it loses its grandfathered status in the health care agreement and is forced to provide abortifacients. At the second panel Dr. William K. Thierfelder, the president of Belmont Abbey College calculated it would cost the college – associated with a monastery – $300,000 a year if it refused to comply. His college is suing the Obama administration for violating the First Amendment.

Rabbi Meir Soloveichik of Yeshiva University said, although he had no objection to contraception or the health care bill, he worried what future government edicts might affect members of his own religion. “When I see the religious leaders of one pretty large religious community in this country say this government mandate is seeking to force us to violate a tenet of our faith, and see then the admininistration say, well that’s too bad, that makes small denominations or faiths in this country begin to wonder” what may be in store, he said. “Not only is this an outrageous violation of one particular faith’s religious freedom, it’s quite frightening to all of us who care about our religious freedom.”

He said testified only because“the president and the administration just do not seem sensitive to religious concerns.”

Seeking to balance the pitched nature of the hearings. Dr. Harrison said, “I really loathe the partisan nature of this discussion…I personally get on my knees every single morning in my office, and I pray for this president and for my government.”

“This provision is draconian,” he said.

Tags: bishop lori, gerry connolly

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

Breaking: Canada’s Supreme Court denies exemption from Quebec relativism course

by Patrick B. Craine Thu Feb 16 20:58 EST Comments (34)

 

OTTAWA, Ontario, February 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In what’s sure to come down as a devastating blow to parental freedom, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously rejected this morning the pleas of a Christian family to have their child exempted from the Quebec government’s mandatory ethics and religious culture course.

“Exposing children to a comprehensive presentation of various religions without forcing the children to join them does not constitute an indoctrination of students that would infringe the freedom of religion of L and J,” the justices wrote in the majority decision.

The high court’s ruling, released at 9:45 Friday morning, comes in the case of S.L. et al. v. Commission scolare des Chênes et al., which involved a Catholic family who took their school board to court after it refused to grant their child an exemption from the province’s controversial ethics and religious culture course (ERC).

The course, which seeks to present the spectrum of world religions and lifestyle choices from a “neutral” stance, was introduced by the province in 2008 and has been widely criticized by the religious and a-religious alike. Moral conservatives and people of faith have criticized its relativistic approach to moral issues, teaching even at the earliest grades, for instance, that homosexuality is a normal choice for family life.

Despite provincial legislation allowing for exemptions from school curriculum, the Ministry of Education has turned down over 1,700 requests, and had even moved to impose the course on private schools and homeschoolers.

Critics warned that a ruling against the family would have frightening consequences for parental authority and risked emboldening provincial governments across the country as they move to impose their own versions of “diversity” education.

The Supreme Court said the parents failed to establish that the course infringed on their ability to pass their faith on to their children.

“Although the sincerity of a person’s belief that a religious practice must be observed is relevant to whether the person’s right to freedom of religion is at issue, an infringement of this right cannot be established without objective proof of an interference with the observance of that practice,” the Supreme Court justices wrote. “It is not enough for a person to say that his or her rights have been infringed.  The person must prove the infringement on a balance of probabilities.”

The Supreme Court heard the case in May 2011 after the parents’ effort was rejected by the Quebec Superior Court in August 2009, and then again by the Quebec Court of Appeals in February 2010.

The mother, who hails from Drummondville, argued that the ERC course’s mandatory nature violates their freedom of religion and their right to direct the education of their children.

The Quebec government faced a setback in June 2010 when the Quebec Superior Court said their attempts to impose it on Loyola High School in Montreal assumed “a totalitarian character.” It’s yet to be seen how the Supreme Court ruling will affect that case.

The family, their lawyers, and other supporters will hold a press conference in Montreal at 2:00 p.m.

Follow LifeSiteNews for ongoing coverage, including more reaction to the Supreme Court ruling.

Print Article  |  Email Friend  |  Back to Top | View Story on LifeSiteNews.com

back to top