Thursday, May 3, 2012

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Catholic school board criticized from both sides over equity booklet debacle

by Peter Baklinski Thu May 03 18:50 EST Comments (6)

 
One of the images from the booklet

PETERBOROUGH, Ontario, May 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic school board in Peterborough, Ontario has recalled a teacher’s aid booklet that dealt with homosexuality after outcry from homosexual activists who said a quote in it was “derogatory, patronizing and discriminatory” and outrage from faithful rate-paying Catholics who lambasted the pamphlet for not being Catholic enough.

Michelle Griepsma, trustee for City of Kawartha Lakes, confirmed to LifeSiteNews that the “booklet was taken back in from the teachers based on a parent concern”.

The original 29-page Colour of Equity booklet, produced by the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board (PVNCCDSB), entered the limelight in March when a self-proclaimed ‘lesbian’, whose two children attend a Catholic school near Peterborough, demanded that the board remove a Catholic Catechism quote stating Church teaching that the homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered”.

The board at first caved into mounting pressure from homosexual activists, issuing a second, revised version of the booklet at the end of March that deleted the Catechism quote and replaced it with an out-of-context quote from then Cardinal Ratzinger - now Benedict XVI - that leaves the uninformed reader to erroneously conclude that the Church now supports the goals of homosexual activists.

The new quote, extracted without clarification of context, from a 1986 letter from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to all bishops, states: “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.”

LifeSiteNews has learned that the revised booklet has once again been returned to the writing committee, this time with 81 proposed revisions from critics.

Greg Reeves, director of education for the PVNCCDSB, did not respond to LifeSiteNews phone messages and an e-mail by press time.

Lorne Corkery, city of Peterborough representative for the PVNCCDSB, told LifeSiteNews that the booklet was referred back to the writing committee because of what he called a “fair bit of input from a number of sources”.

“Some said ‘it’s non-Catholic, throw it out,’” he said.

“I can’t say how it will be written, but our staff have that teaching [on homosexuality] impressed on them, and they [also] have it impressed on them that you can’t deviate from that [teaching] and that you can’t change the teaching of the Catholic Church.”

Corkery replied “yes” when asked directly if the revised booklet will adhere to authentic Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

Trustee Griepsma told LifeSiteNews that the revised booklet will be examined by trustees before being redistributed.

But Jack Fonseca from Campaign Life Catholics told LifeSiteNews that if the most recently revised edition was an indication of what was to come, he suggested that the board simply ought to “scrap the entire thing”.

“The now deleted Catechism quote was the only line in the booklet which gave an inkling that the Church considers homosexual acts to be sinful. The rest of it reads as if the Church approves of the gay lifestyle or at the very least, considers homosexual marriage to be a societal ‘achievement’ for Canada,” he said.

While Fonseca said that he was “very pleased the heretical booklet has been pulled from every school”, he added that much more needs to be done.

“It’s alarming to hear that they are revising and plan to reintroduce the booklet. The solution is to scrap the entire thing, issue an apology to the Catholic community for the scandal it caused, and to fire the staff who approved it. Bringing an error-filled booklet back again is not what faithful Catholic ratepayers want to see.”

Tom Mockler, president of Peterborough Pro-Life and a PVNCCDSB ratepayer, finds himself agreeing with Fonseca.

“My general overriding concern is that everything in the booklet must express authentic Catholic teaching,” he told LifeSiteNews, adding that “what you put in or what you leave out must not compromise Catholic teaching.”

The local ratepayer indicated that the original 29-page booklet was in need of “drastic revisions.” He stated, “there are many, many things in there that don’t reflect authentic Catholic teaching, or they are so ambiguous that the Catholic teaching can be interpreted any way somebody wants to interpret it.”

Mockler told LifeSiteNews a school board official infirmed him almost all of the 81 recommended changes from parents and persons such as himself will be implemented in the final version of the booklet. He was also told that the board requested the schools to return all copies of the current, contested versions to the board. The new version will be ready in September.

“If you won’t be faithful to Catholic teaching on homosexuality, how can you continue to call yourself a Catholic school board,” he said. “No matter what happens, no matter what the costs, a Catholic has to be faithful to Church teaching.”

Pro-family advocates have warned for the last two years that Ontario’s Catholic school boards adoption of McGuinty’s equity and inclusive education strategy would give homosexual activists an open door to undermine Catholic sexual morality in Catholic schools.

Fonseca predicts that once McGuinty’s equity doctrine has permeated the Catholic education system, all Catholic schools in Ontario will be immersed with similar booklets and presentations that dilute and distort Catholic sexual teaching.

“This kind of booklet will be commonplace,” he said.


Contact info:

Greg Reeves, Director of Education
Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board
1355 Lansdowne St. W.
Peterborough, ON   K9J 7M3
Tel: (705) 748-4861, Ext. 224
Fax: (705) 748-9734
greeves@pvnccdsb.on.ca

Contact info for trustees.

Most Rev. Nicola De Angelis, Bishop of Peterborough
Phone: 705 745-5123,  chancery@peterboroughdiocese.org

Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto
President, Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario
phone: (416) 934-0606, ext. 609; archbishop@archtoronto.org

Tags: catholic education, homosexuality

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Roundup: Brits don’t want to fund abortion with taxes, Bulgaria attacks parental rights…more

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent Thu May 03 17:51 EST Comments (4)

Lithuania considers constitutional amendment supporting natural family

VILNIUS - The Lithuanian parliament is considering amending the country’s constitution to confirm the definition of the family as based on marriage or parenthood. After a debate in April, 62 MPs voted yes, 13 voted against, and 13 abstained. Another vote is scheduled for this month, after which a break of 3 months is required to make constitutional changes.

The vote came shortly after the house voted down a proposal from the Social Democrat party to recognise more than one type of family.

Lithuania has been under constant fire from European-based homosexualist groups since 2009 when parliament passed a law making it illegal to promote homosexuality as normal. The European Union, under pressure from organisations like the International lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) has demanded that Lithuanians accept homosexuality, including “gay pride” demonstrations.

The country annoyed homosexualist activists again in 2011 when the government considered a law banning “gender reassignment” surgery.

~ * ~

Parents have responsibilities but no rights: Bulgaria

SOPHIA – The Christian Post reports that Bulgaria’s government is instituting new family law asserting that while parents have responsibilities towards their children, they have no rights to make educational decisions.

Viktor Kostov, a Bulgarian lawyer and human rights activist, reports that Bulgarian MPs have stated that “parents have only duties, no rights” and “do not hide their negative attitude to the ‘patriarchal family’.” Kostov has called the bill “dangerous and unnecessary” and a hold-over from Bulgaria’s communist, totalitarian past.

“Under the guise of ‘children’s rights,’ the bill contains a radical view of the state having more rights over children than their parents,” Kostov writes.

Among the bill’s provisions is one that allows the state to “protect” any child from “being involved in religious activities”. Parents who do not enroll their children in state schools could be subject to heavy fines. Mandatory sex education, without the right of parents to withdraw their children, will start at age five. The sex education programs will be decided by the state in conjunction with European NGOs.

Under the bill, reporting to authorities any “violence” against children is mandated, but the offence is broadly defined as the “causing of any pain or suffering” and can result in prison terms for parents. The bill also allows for anonymous reports of violence, leaving room for parents to be denounced to the state by anyone.

A statement by a Bulgarian representative of UNICEF, Kostov wrote, sums up the philosophy behind the bill: “We are not against the family; we simply want to give the children to those who can raise them.”

Kostov has worked in Bulgaria promoting religious and conscientious freedom as an advocate and Christian missionary. He is the founding editor of Freedom for All, an internet magazine for “dialogue on the issues of church, state and liberty for the Bulgarian context.”

He warns that should the bill pass, it could be used by state ideologues to quash the religious and political rights of citizens by threatening their custody over their children. Freedom for All Advocates, the Alliance Defense Fund, and the Home School Legal Defense Association have intervened in the debate over the bill, warning that similar measures in other EU countries have resulted in the state having near-total control over families and children.

Homeschooling families, parents who object to state-mandated sex education programs and families with strong religious beliefs have been forced to flee to the US and other countries from Germany and Sweden.

~ * ~

Majority of Brits don’t want abortion paid for on the public dime

LONDON – A recently published Angus Reid poll showed that 57 percent believe the National Health Service should only fund abortions in the case of medical emergencies. Forty-eight percent support reducing the gestational time limit on legal abortion to less than 24 weeks. Only 33 percent believe that there should be no restrictions.

Forty-two per cent of 2,018 randomly selected British adults said there is “no point in re-opening the debate on abortion; 40 percent thought a public debate in the UK is “long overdue”.

When asked about their personal feeling on abortion, 35 percent want more restrictions; 21 percent would permit abortion only in cases of rape, incest and to save the woman’s life and 5 percent would allow it only to save the woman’s life.

Government statistics show that nearly all of the abortions carried out in Britain are for “social or economic” grounds, with the use of so-called “medical abortion,” that is, abortions using deadly drugs to kill the child and induce premature labor, becoming increasingly popular. The majority of abortions are carried out in private facilities, run by groups like the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Marie Stopes, who contract with the NHS. If the NHS were to cease funding all “social” abortions, these organizations would lose millions in annual revenue.

In 1991, an effort to reduce the gestational time limit for abortions from 28 to 24 weeks was successful, but the votes were bought at the price of allowing all eugenic abortion without any time restrictions. Under the current law, a child suspected of having a disability, including easily treatable problems like a cleft palate or clubfoot, can be killed up to the point of full-term gestation.

~ * ~

Scots police ordered by homosexual police group to refuse Gideon bible gift

EDINBURGH – Scottish Police have been instructed, on the insistence of the Gay Police Association (GPA), to refuse the proffered gift of free bibles featuring the badge of the force, being offered by the Gideons International. The GPA issued a statement saying that the bible is “homophobic” and demanding that the police not involve themselves in the scheme.

The Gideons wanted to offer the Bibles as a “valuable guide to life,” saying they can “be offered to all members of the individual force, both serving police officers and civilian staff,” the Christian institute says.

The statement from the GPA said that their members had “contacted us expressing concern that their Force is officially endorsing a religious book containing text which condemns homosexuality.”

“The GPA does not feel that a public service, such as the police, should be seen to be endorsing, by their active involvement, any particular religion over and above any other religion or non-religion.”

If the Bibles were to be offered, “surely this can be done without the actual involvement of the police force concerned”.

Tags: abortion, homosexuality

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Country music star Rodney Atkins’ mother chose adoption instead of abortion

by Kristi Burton Brown Thu May 03 17:32 EST Comments (3)

 
Rodney Atkins

May 3, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - In 2006, Rodney Atkins was named Top New Male Vocalist by the Academy of Country Music. Several of his most popular songs – “If You’re Going Through Hell,” “Cleaning This Gun,” “These Are My People,” and “It’s America” – have topped country music charts. Just last year, Atkins released his fastest-rising single yet, “Take a Back Road.”

Many would say that Atkins has a natural gift with the guitar. As his CMT biography puts it, he didn’t even “get his first guitar until one Christmas in high school.” Regardless of the late start, “he took to the instrument instantly and was soon playing anywhere he could around his Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, home.” Since he discovered his talent, Rodney Atkins has been giving back to the world and to country music-lovers everywhere.

But perhaps the greatest gift Atkins has given is one that he himself was given as a baby: the gift of life. In an October 2011 article, Great American Country reported the singer’s story:

A sickly child, he was born with a respiratory infection and given up for adoption. While living in a small-town orphanage, Rodney was adopted by loving parents Allan and Margaret Atkins and raised in Harrogate, Tennessee. Rodney has never talked about his birth mother before, until now. He shared with the Associated Press that he met her in 2008, after becoming the spokesman for the National Council for Adoption.

It’s clear that Atkins is very grateful that his mother gave him a chance at life. She did something that was difficult for her, but for the best for him. Out of a painful situation, she created beauty.

Rodney says his birth mother got pregnant at 19 after what he described as a traumatic first date. She hid the pregnancy from her family and chose to give him up for adoption.

“I just wanted to tell her thank you, because she had some other alternatives to end that situation,” he tells AP. “I might not be here. So you don’t want to take it for granted. She kept saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ I kept saying, ‘Thank you.’”

Indeed, Atkins has not been taking the gift he was given for granted. He has used his platform as a country musician to step into the role of a spokesman for the National Council for Adoption. He has chosen to speak out so that other children might be given the same chance he was given and so that other mothers might make the same sacrifice that his made. In the AP article, Atkins recognized his birth mother’s courage and said that he could never give back to her as much as she gave to him.

In addition, Atkins has used his music career to raise $5,000,000 for the children’s home he lived at before his adoption. His own website tells about his involvement in the lives of the home’s needy children:

[H]e was surprised to find out the home had been re-named in his honor.

“It’s a real dream come true, working with the National Adoption Council and hosting the home,” he said. “We started out trying to get music instruments for the kids, just as a distraction for them. It’s become something else completely.”

Something just as important as recording music and inspiring others to see through the hard times. For Atkins, his American dream will continue on through the lives of the children that come out of the Rodney Atkins Youth Home.

Rodney Atkins exemplifies the kind of entertainers we need today. He knows that his fame is not just about him. He has chosen to use his platform in a way that betters the lives of many children. He has chosen to give the gifts of hope and life – gifts that he knows all too well are priceless to a child.

Atkins’ thoughts on adoption were included in a devotional from Birthmother Ministries. He says, “It’s a world of ‘self’ out there. Adoption has to be some form of service where people put another individual before themselves.” Atkins also explains part of his own motivation to make a difference and give the gift of life. “People really need to be honest and ask themselves, ‘What … am I doing to make a difference? Are you living, dying and then gone, or did you do something meaningful with your life?”

Last November, Rodney Atkins recorded a public service announcement for the National Adoption Council. You can watch it below:

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

Tags: abortion, adoption, rodney atkins

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Video: Chen calls into emergency Congressional meeting, inquires after fate of mother and brother

by Kathleen Gilbert Thu May 03 17:00 EST Comments (4)

 

Click “like” to join a Facebook page in support of Chen!

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a dramatic moment at an emergency hearing on Capitol Hill discussing the fate of Chen Guangcheng today, the embattled Chinese human rights activist was able to speak publicly of his plight for the first time since he left the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

ChinaAid President Bob Fu was able to get Chen on the phone from his hospital room in Beijing. Fu translated as he held the iPhone transmitting Chen’s voice up to Rep. Chris Smith’s microphone.

“He wants to come to the U.S. for some time of rest, he has not had any rest for the past ten years,” said Fu.

“I want to meet with Secretary Clinton. I hope I can get more help from her. I also want to thank her face to face. I really am afraid for my other family members’ lives,” Fu also said Chen stated.

Several of Chen’s family members are thought to be in danger of retribution by Chinese officials, including a brother who was arrested, a nephew on the lam, and several other family members whose fates are unknown.

Chen said that seven security cameras and an electric fence had been erected near his home, and that he was most concerned to hear about his mother and brothers. “I really want to know what’s going on with them,” he said.

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Rep. Smith told Chen that “we are all praying for you and we will be unceasing in our efforts to secure your freedom.” He also reported that actor Christian Bale, who was roughed up by Chinese guards when he attempted to visit Chen last year, wished to convey his concern and support.

“Your case is the test of the Chinese commitment to protect you which they’ve given, we’re very dubious about those assurances, but it’s also the test of the United States as to whether human rights really do matter,” said Smith.

Chen concluded saying, “I want to thank all of you for your care and for your love.”

Tags: chen guangcheng, china, chris smith, one-child policy

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Nebraska football coach: I’d rather be fired than retract homosexuality remarks

by Thaddeus Baklinski Thu May 03 16:48 EST Comments (69)

 
Ron Brown

LINCOLN, Nebraska, May 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - University of Nebraska’s assistant football coach, Ron Brown, who is facing censure and calls for his dismissal for publicly expressing his biblically-based views against the homosexual lifestyle, has stated that he’d rather be fired than retract his comments.

At a meeting of Omaha City Council in late March, Brown spoke against a proposed ordinance that would give special “protected status” to homosexual students. Brown argued that granting special status to one group would infringe on the rights of other groups. He told the council members that their “discernment” was under scrutiny and that they would be held to “great accountability for the decision you are making.”

“The question I have for you all is, like Pontius Pilate, what are you going to do with Jesus?” Brown reportedly asked the council. “Ultimately, if you don’t have a relationship with him, and you don’t really have a Bible-believing mentality, really, anything goes… At the end of the day it matters what God thinks most.”

Brown expressed his belief in the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual acts as sinful, then stated, “the real question I guess I have for you all is – what does God say?”

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“For those of you on this council who have a relationship with Christ, and you know if you do, you will be held to great accountability for the decision you make,” Brown concluded in his three-minute address to the council.

His remarks sparked outrage among homosexual advocates and resulted in Barbara Baier of the Lincoln Board of Education issuing a written demand to the University of Nebraska administration calling for Brown to be sacked.

Brown responded, “To be fired for my faith would be a greater honor than to be fired because we didn’t win enough games,” according to an AP report.

“I haven’t lost any sleep over it. I realize at some point, we live in a politically correct enough culture where that very well could happen.”

According to AP, Brown further stated he isn’t “picking on” homosexuals, he is just responding to the homosexual agenda that has appeared in American culture.

“I have simply said that based on the Bible, homosexuality, the lifestyle of homosexuality, is a sin,” he said. “That has created a flame within itself. But I’ve decided I’m not going to be afraid of people calling me a bigot or a homophobic or narrow-minded out of a simple, gentle, compassionate expression of the truth of God’s word. I’m not going to be bought off by that.”

University of Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne told AP he does not have a problem with Brown’s public stance. “I think it’s important that there be clarity with what you do in your capacity at the university and what you do as a private citizen,” Osborne said.

Contact information:

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
1400 R Street
Lincoln, NE 68588
Phone: 402-472-7211

Lincoln Board of Education
P.O. Box 82889
Lincoln, NE 68501

Barbara A. Baier
Lincoln Board of Education member
727 South 18th Street
Lincoln, NE 68508
Email: bbaier@lps.org

Tags: homosexuality, nebraska, ron brown

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Santorum: If Mitt wants my support, conservatives must have a voice in his campaign

by Ben Johnson Thu May 03 15:40 EST Comments (26)

 
Rick Santorum

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 3, 2012, LifeSiteNews.com) –  Although Rick Santorum ended his presidential campaign nearly a month ago, he has not been quick to endorse presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, holding off until the former Massachusetts governor gives him ironclad guarantees that he will govern as a pro-life, pro-family president.

The two former rivals are to meet on Friday to discuss how they will work together to defeat Barack Obama in the general election.

Santorum’s biggest demand, now as during the campaign, is that Romney uproot the president’s health care plan, which was in part modeled on Romney’s own health care legislation from his time as governor. “We want to make sure he doesn’t replace it with any kind of mandate,” Hogan Gidley, a Santorum adviser, said.

Santorum also wants to ensure that Romney will accept a conservative platform at the Republican National Convention in Tampa this August.

“Rick just wants to have a candid, open conversation about making sure the folks in the 11 states that voted for him, and the conservative movement, have a voice in the Romney campaign,” Gidley said.

Click ‘like’ if you are PRO-LIFE!

Other presidential hopefuls have already pledged their assistance to Romney for the fall.

Former presidential hopeful and Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann endorsed Romney this afternoon in Portsmouth, Virginia, alongside Governor Bob McDonnell, a likely vice presidential contender. She said, “I think for all of America, this is a very simple proposition this November: President Barack Obama or President Mitt Romney? Very easy.”

Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman have endorsed Romney since leaving the race, although Perry initially supported Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich, who suspended his presidential campaign on Wednesday, said Romney was preferable to four more years of the current administration. “This is not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan. This is a choice between Mitt Romney and the most radical, leftist president in American history,” he stated.

“The gap is as wide as anytime in American history,” he said. “I would argue that it’s wider than the gap between Reagan and Carter.”

However, Romney also suffers a yawning enthusiasm gap with his party’s base. Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, now the president of American Values, told LifeSiteNews.com that pro-life, pro-family activists “provide the passion and hard work that are key to GOP election success. It is almost impossible to win without them.”

He said Romney’s “VP selection, party platform, and acceptance speech” could set the tone to reconcile the party. 

Republican political strategist Richard Viguerie of ConservativeHQ.com added another important consideration: “Conservative and Tea Party activists want one of their own as the GOP’s vice presidential candidate – someone who has championed their cause and been proudly identified with them, not someone who has just learned to mouth the right sound bites.”

As of this writing, the most popular vice presidential contender in Viguerie’s online poll has been Rand Paul, whose father, Ron Paul, is still seeking the GOP nomination.

Meanwhile, a more scientific poll conducted by Reuters found that most Republicans want Rick Santorum as Romney’s running mate. Senator Marco Rubio finished second with 17 percent, next to Santorum’s 18 percent.

“It would make sense for Romney to make the first move,” Viguerie said, “to extend a hand to his rivals to try to heal some of the wounds his relentlessly negative campaign opened, and to show that he intends to govern as a conservative.”

“To get their support, Mitt Romney must take concrete action to show he will actually produce the conservative government that Gingrich advocated.”

Tags: election 2012, mitt romney, newt gingrich, rick santorum

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U.S. Congressmen: Time running out for Obama admin to fix ‘scandalous’ handling of Chen situation

by Kathleen Gilbert Thu May 03 14:41 EST Comments (13)

 
Rep. Chris Smith speaks at a congressional hearing today in Washington, D.C.

Click “like” to join a Facebook page in support of Chen!

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a Congressional hearing on Thursday afternoon, U.S. lawmakers and top human rights activists joined together to emphasize to the Obama administration that time was running out for U.S. officials to rectify the “scandal” of their handling of embattled Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng by facilitating his plea for freedom.

Rep. Frank Wolf expressed alarm at the handling of Chen’s case by the Obama administration, which stonewalled on the issue before giving human rights leaders and media a whitewashed account of a “very happy” Chen voluntarily leaving his place of refuge.

“You wonder if there were other forces at work. Had word come down from on high to take care of the Chen situation no matter what?” said Wolf, who said he would formally request to review all U.S. cable traffic “classified or otherwise” regarding Chen.

“This much is certain: the Obama administration has a high moral obligation to protect Chen and his family. To do anything less would be scandalous,” said Wolf. “The world is watching, both dictators and dissidents. The administration must be bold.”

Congressman Chris Smith, Capitol Hill’s top advocate for human rights in China, said that he had been prevented from speaking with Chen, who had requested a telephone call with Smith, and had been denied a visa to visit Chen by the Chinese Embassy since October. “The time has come for us to clearly and unambiguously raise the stakes. It’s time for change,” said Smith of U.S. relationships with China.

Bob Fu of ChinaAid told Congress that troubling news of U.S. officials transmitting the Chinese government’s threat to Chen’s family was verified when he asked Chen Thursday exactly what took place before he left the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

“Chen was talked by a US government official before he stepped out of the embassy, and he was told it was a Chinese government message that the Chinese government wanted to convey that message through the US official, that if he chose not to walk out of the embassy on May the second, he would not be able to see his wife and his children again,” said Fu.

Fu reiterated what had been reported earlier, that Chen made the decision to leave the embassy on a lack of information, having been unable to see his wife or speak to friends before being escorted to a Beijing hospital. Fu said Chen also did not know before leaving the embassy that his wife had already been beaten and threatened with death, and that she had been told that if her husband didn’t leave the embassy, she would be killed.

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Fu expressed disgust at the lack of follow-up by U.S. officials, pointing to Chen’s inability to reach them despite repeatedly telephoning, and how Chen’s family was not even given food until U.S. officials, contacted by friends of Chen, pressured hospital staff. “They were suffering starvation their first night of freedom!” said Fu.

Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post cited sources who confirmed U.S. officials rushed Chen out of the embassy to keep from ruffling Sino-American diplomatic relations, an effort covered up by promises from the U.S. that soon fell apart.

“The notion that we can offer protection to him when we can’t make calls to him at our discretion tells you something about the ‘deal’ we struck with the Chinese authorities,” she wrote.

Several human rights advocates on Thursday demanded further action from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has not commented on the crisis since a Wednesday statement saying she was “pleased” to facilitate Chen’s “stay and departure” from the embassy.

Chinese author Bei Ling in a CNN column said it would be impossible for Chen to live a peaceful life in China anymore - “surveillance, wiretapping and random threats will follow him everywhere like a shadow” - and strongly urged the secretary to meet Chen in person.

“Regardless of how busy Clinton is with high-level meetings during her time in Beijing, the well-being of Chen and his family must be a priority. A mere telephone conversation isn’t enough,” wrote Ling.

Michael Horowitz, Senior Fellow of Hudson Institute, expressed shock at “the sheer, utter incompetence” of administration officials in their haste to brush the Chen affair under the rug.

“[The Chen crisis] puts China on the defensive. It’s not our weakness, it’s their weakness,” said Horowitz.

Even though it would require a “diplomatic push” to obtain passports, Fu said he believed China would let Chen and his family get to safety - but only if the Obama administration stood firm.

Several commentators are beginning to describe the affair as an embarrassment to the United States, as its reputation as a safe haven from brutality abroad has been shaken.

Paul Roderick Gregory on Forbes excoriated U.S. officials for their “cowardice” in sacrificing a “fundamental moral issue” for diplomatic gain.

“Chinese dissidents now understand that the U.S. is a paper tiger worried more about the Chinese exchange rate and United Nations vetoes than about fundamental issues of human rights,” wrote Gregory.

Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, a leading advocate against China’s one-child policy, also said at a press conference in Washington that Chinese dissidents are “feeling extremely betrayed right now” because the U.S. “basically handed over a hero from our own embassy.”

“This has done untold damage to the US as a human rights defender,” she said - damage that could only be rectified by getting Chen’s family safely into the U.S.

Tags: chen guangcheng, obama

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Chen: U.S. embassy officials no longer answering my calls, ‘disappointed’ in the U.S.

by John Jalsevac Thu May 03 13:28 EST Comments (14)

 
Chen Guangcheng

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May 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a telephone interview today with CNN, a desperate Chen Guangcheng expressed dismay that U.S. embassy officials in Beijing are no longer answering his telephone calls, even though he has called “numerous” times, and says he feels a “little” like he was lied to by the embassy officials.

After making a James Bond-like escape from house arrest to the U.S. embassy late last week, Chen was transferred to a hospital in Beijing, where he remains to this day. While embassy officials claimed that Chen left the embassy of his own free will, Chen has since testified that he was pressured to do so after his wife was threatened, and has complained that U.S. officials have not accompanied him at the hospital, as they had promised to do.

In his interview with CNN today, conducted at 3 a.m. Beijing time, Chen said that U.S. embassy officials had repeatedly urged him to leave the embassy.

“The embassy kept lobbying me to leave and promised to have people stay with me in the hospital. But this afternoon as soon as I checked into the hospital room, I noticed they were all gone,” he said.

Click “like” to join a Facebook page in support of Chen!

He also suggested that U.S. officials kept him in the dark about the direness of his situation, preventing him from telephoning friends. While Chen admitted he did agree to leave the embassy, he says: “At the time I didn’t have a lot of information. I wasn’t allowed to call my friends from inside the embassy. I couldn’t keep up with news so I didn’t know a lot of things that were happening.”

“I’m very disappointed at the U.S. government,” he said.

During his conversation with CNN, Chen repeatedly stated that his most “urgent wish” is to leave China.

“I would like to say to (President Obama): Please do everything you can to get our whole family out,” he said.

He also expressed a wish to speak with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who is in China at the moment, and leveled an indirect but pointed barb in the direction of the U.S., saying: “I feel everyone focuses too much on their self-interest at the expense of their credibility.”

The human rights activist, who became famous worldwide for exposing the horrendous abuses of China’s one-child policy, also revealed that after his escape his wife was tied up to a chair for two days and threatened with being beaten to death. He also described how Chinese police have taken over his house: “Our home is teeming with security—on the roof and in the yard. They have installed seven surveillance cameras inside the house and built electric fences around the yard.”

When asked if he feels “anxious,” Chen responded: “Yes, we feel a lot of anxiety…. I told the embassy I would like to talk to Rep. Smith (Congressman Chris Smith) but they somehow never managed to arrange it. I feel a little puzzled.”

Rep. Chris Smith is a renowned pro-life legislator who has long attempted to raise awareness about Chen’s plight.

Tags: obama

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Chen to Obama: ‘Get our whole family out!’

by Reggie Littlejohn Thu May 03 12:52 EST Comments (9)

 
Reggie Littlejohn

Note: Reggie Littlejohn is the director of Women’s Rights without Frontiers, which advocates against forced abortions in China, and has been in the forefront of defending Chen Guangcheng.

Click “like” to join a Facebook page in support of Chen!

May 3, 2012 (womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org) - The United States should immediately grant asylum to Chen Guangcheng and his family, along with the activist who rescued him, He Peirong.  Chen and his wife have both stated that they are in danger.

U.S. officials contend that Chen left the U.S. Embassy yesterday of his own volition to seek medical treatment at a hospital.  From the hospital, however, Chen told friends and the media that he was not given full information on which to base his decision.  He told Associated Press, moreover, that a U.S. official relayed a threat that if Chen did not leave the Embassy, he wife would be beaten to death.  He told CNN, “I am very disappointed at the U.S. government.”

Chen also told CNN that after he escaped, his wife was tied to a chair in their home for two days.  Guards carried sticks into their home and threatened to beat her to death.  They also moved into their house, eating at their table and using their belongings.  They have installed seven surveillance cameras inside their home.  These facts convinced Chen that it would not be safe for him or his family to remain in China.  He did not learn these facts until he was reunited with his wife in the hospital.

Chen then told CNN, “I would like to say to (President Obama):  Please do everything you can to get our whole family out.”  He told the Daily Beast, “My fervent hope is that it would be possible for me and my family to leave for the U.S. on Hillary Clinton’s plane.”

Click “like” to join a Facebook page in support of Chen!

After Chen’s miraculous, “mission impossible” escape and the risks he and others took to deliver him safely to the U.S. Embassy, why did the U.S. officials press him to leave and hand this noble man back into the hands of those who have been so fiercely persecuting him and his family?

If so, this action is beyond shameful. Not only have we let Chen down, but we have betrayed those in China that we should most want to support:  those who share our values.

Many in China have regarded the U.S. Embassy as the lone island of freedom and justice in a land filled with repression and injustice.  Given their trust, how could the U.S. hand over a deserving citizen who had fled there for protection?

Chen is hugely symbolic in China, the conscience of the nation.  By challenging the One Child Policy, he has challenged the lynchpin of social control in China. This explains the ferocity of the Chinese Communist Party’s reaction to him.

When Chen Guangcheng fled to the U.S. Embassy, the U.S. had a golden opportunity to do the right thing – give him and his family asylum and bring them to safety in the U.S.  This would have erased a generation of anti-American propaganda and inspired gratitude, admiration and trust among the Chinese people.  Instead the U.S. expediently dispatched Chen out the door, shattering our moral credibility before the world and losing the hearts and minds of a generation of Chinese people who share our values.

The only way to redeem the situation is as clear as it is urgent:  give asylum to Chen and his family – and to He Peirong as well.  Bring them to safety in the United States, whatever it takes, on Hillary Clinton’s plane.

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Chen’s horrifying discovery: Obama admin just another member of the population control mafia

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Thu May 03 11:56 EST Comments (52)

 
Chen Guangcheng

Click “like” to join a Facebook page in support of Chen!

May 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, who has suffered years of imprisonment and beatings for objecting to forced abortions and sterilizations in his native country, thought he could find shelter and friendship in the United States embassy following his recent escape from house arrest. He is now learning the hard way that the pro-abortion Obama administration, which helps to finance the same “one-child policy” that Chen is fighting, would rather see him disappear.

Chen’s presence in the embassy during the past week was little more than a dangerous irritant for Hillary Clinton’s State Department. The main goal of the agency has long been the promotion and protection of American commercial interests abroad, and “human rights” often provide useful cover for criticizing regimes that are recalcitrant in the face of American economic pressure. The Chen affair, however, only threatens an amicable and highly profitable relationship between the U.S. and China, and presents no “upside” for the American bottom line.

Worse for Chen is his uncomfortable and embarrassing opposition to China’s population control agenda, a policy supported by the Obama administration and in particular the State Department, which is spending tens of billions of dollars on such programs worldwide. Although the administration gives lip-service against coercive abortion and sterilization, it is simultaneously helping to finance the Chinese population control machine with tens of millions of dollars in subsidies to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which helps to administer China’s brutal one-child policy.

Perhaps that is why, according to Chen, his American “hosts” started to sound more like fellow-members of the international population-control mafia that is killing his country, than starry-eyed defenders of “human rights.”

Chen, who says he felt pressured to leave the embassy, adds that he finally decided to do so when American officials informed him that if didn’t, his wife would be beaten by vengeful Chinese officials. Embassy personnel deny the claim, although they admit that they let Chen know that his wife would be taken back to the residence where the couple had been beaten many times.

Even the pro-abortion “Human Rights Watch” admits, in the words of the organization’s executive director, that the “US says it didn’t convey threats to harm Chen’s family but did say they’d be returned to site of abuse. Same thing,”

The Sicilian version might have gone something like this: “You have such a beautiful wife, Mr. Chen…it’d be a pity if someone broke her legs…”

Click “like” to join a Facebook page in support of Chen!

The American embassy was as friendly as a mob boss who wants a favor from you—in this case, to go away. They “hugged” Chen a lot, and promised to take him on a nice ride to a Chinese hospital, where they would remain with him, he says. Instead, they abandoned him and his wife at the hospital. His desperate calls to the embassy were left unanswered. Suddenly, Chen was persona non grata in the “land of the free.”

“The embassy told me that they would have someone accompany me the whole time,” Chen told reporters. “But today when I got to the ward, I found that there was not a single embassy official here, and so I was very unsatisfied. I felt they did not tell me the truth on this issue.”

After Chen was safely outside the walls of the embassy compound, the U.S. government let him know he shouldn’t bother coming back. “This was an extraordinary case involving exceptional circumstance, we do not anticipate that it will be repeated,” an anonymous Obama administration official told reporters.

And in case Chen might be tempted to complain about his treatment, there was another message for him from his “friend” Jerome Cohen, an advisor to the pro-population-control Council on Foreign Relations, which maintains a tight relationship with the State Department.

Cohen, who gained Chen’s trust when he assisted him in talks with the Chinese government in 2005, spoke somberly of the consequences for Chen should he displease the Obama administration.

“I think the saddest outcome would be if events transpired now that put Chen at war with the U.S. government that represents his only secure support,” Cohen told Time Magazine. “It could easily happen through confusion, through confusion being sown that would create distrust between him and the U.S., and then he would just be out there and that would be very, very unfortunate.”

Very unfortunate indeed. Get the message, Mr. Chen? Get lost…and don’t give us any lip.

Tags: abortion, chen guangcheng, obama, population control

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Ottawa Catholic teachers get coverage for contraception

by Patrick B. Craine Thu May 03 11:43 EST Comments (9)

 

OTTAWA, Ontario, May 2, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As bishops across the United States rise up against the Obama administration’s contraception mandate, one Catholic School Board in Ottawa has admitted that its health plan for employees covers contraceptives, including drugs that can act as abortifacients, like the birth control pill.

“We cover any medication that’s prescribed by an Ontario doctor. We don’t know what they are prescribing for,” said Mardi de Kemp, the communications officer for the Ottawa school board.

The revelation, which first surfaced on the SoCon or Bust blog, has many of the city’s Catholic parents up in arms.

“It’s difficult for parents to understand why the OCSB would knowingly pay for contraceptives and abortifacients,” said Andy Pocrnic, head of Concerned Catholic Parents of Ottawa.

The documentation for the school board’s health plan, available online, says it covers all “drugs, serums, vaccines and injectables that either legally require a prescription or are only available by prescription.” It also specifies that diaphragms and IUDs are not covered.

Asked to confirm that the drug coverage includes contraceptives, de Kemp said, “Any medication available in Ontario, then it would be covered in their plan.”

“Anything that the doctor would prescribe for the health of the patient, we would not know what it was and it would be covered by their insurance,” she added.

The issue of insurance coverage for contraceptives has risen to the fore in the last couple months after President Obama’s administration issued a mandate requiring employers to cover contraception, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs as “preventive care.”

The move sparked a universal backlash by America’s bishops who were joined by leaders from numerous other faiths in declaring it an unprecedented attack on religious freedom. Protests have been held across the country and it is poised to become a major election issue leading into the November 2012 presidential contest.

Last month, Cardinal Raymond Burke, head of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, said Catholic employers who provide an insurance plan that covers contraceptives are “cooperating” in the employees’ sin.

“It is not only a matter of what we call ‘material cooperation’ in the sense that the employer by giving this insurance benefit is materially providing for the contraception,” he explained in an interview with Thomas McKenna, President of Catholic Action for Faith and Family. “It is also ‘formal cooperation’ because he is knowingly and deliberately doing this, making this available to people. There is no way to justify it. It is simply wrong.”

The controversy has also prompted re-examinations of the practice in certain quarters of the Church.

For example, as Bishop Salvatore Cordileone lodged his objection to Obama’s mandate in February, he announced at the same time that he had recently learned the Catholic hospitals and charitable agencies in his diocese were covering contraceptives under a California state law. He pledged they would be taking the necessary steps to correct the situation “in a way that fully respects our moral principles.”

In her interview with LifeSiteNews, de Kemp said she does not know whether there was ever a discussion at the Ottawa Catholic School Board about whether or not to provide the controversial coverage.

Asked if the school board is concerned that covering an employee’s contraception would be cooperating in violating Catholic teaching, she said, “A staff person’s medical history is their private concern. As an employer, we are not in the loop on what they are seeing the doctor for.”

Pocrnic said parents are “hoping this is a mistake that will be fixed by the trustees and administration now that it’s been brought to their attention.”

“To do otherwise would make parents question why they even bother to call themselves a Catholic school board,” he added.


Contact Information:

Julian Hanlon
Director of Education, Ottawa Catholic School Board
Phone: 613-224-4455 ext 2272
Fax: 613-228-4158
Email: director@ocsb.ca

For trustees, click here.

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast
1247 Kilborn Place
Ottawa, Ontario K1H 6K9
Phone: 613-738-5025
Fax: 613-738-0130
E-mail: archbishop@archottawa.ca

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My husband went to jail this week for eight months. His crime? Sitting down.

by Liz Preston Thu May 03 11:32 EST Comments (34)

 
Graham Preston with his wife and seven children.

Graham Preston, a 56-year-old father from Queensland, Australia, went to jail this week for refusing to pay fines of roughly $8000 that have accumulated after 10 years of non-violently blocking the entrances of four abortion clinics around the state capital, Brisbane. He refuses to pay the fines on principle, arguing that trying to save the innocent from harm should not be regarded as a crime. He is pictured above with his family.

Mr Preston, a member of the pro-life group Protect Life, has already served a total of 10 months in jail over five separate terms, mostly in Brisbane’s maximum security Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre. This time he is not due out until Christmas. It is the longest jail term received by an Australian pro-life activist. The following account was written by his wife, Liz Preston.

*****

My husband went to jail this week. For eight months. His crime? Sitting down. Yes, I know, sitting down is not usually regarded as being a crime and especially not one you go to jail for eight months for. But it depends on where you do it and how often.

My husband, Graham, along with a few others at different times, has sat down on dozens of occasions in recent years in front of the doors of Brisbane abortion clinics, and refused to move. He has not been charged with “sitting down” of course, but with things like trespass. But sitting down and refusing to move is all that he actually does.

I know that at this point some readers, when they see that he is opposed to abortion, will say that being sent to jail for such sit-ins is just what he deserves. But let’s try and think about this for a moment.

Graham, like myself and others, believes that when a woman is pregnant she is carrying a baby. There is surely nothing too controversial with that belief - I’ve carried a number of babies to term myself and I have no doubt that, yes, they really were babies that I was carrying.

Indeed, I would venture to say that every woman who is happily pregnant has no doubt that she is carrying a baby and there is always much delight in viewing the ultrasound images. If the baby should be lost through spontaneous miscarriage, then there is usually considerable grief at that loss.

Further, Graham, like myself and others, believes that abortion deliberately ends the life of the baby that is being carried in the womb. Again, this should hardly be a controversial claim: as noted above, pregnancy involves the carrying of a baby in the womb, so if an abortion is carried out, that means a baby’s life is deliberately taken.

Click ‘like’ if you are PRO-LIFE!

So, back to where this article started: if a child is about to be killed, everyone should try to save that child’s life. Right? Well, yes, normally, but apparently not if the child we are talking about saving is a child that is scheduled to be killed by abortion.

In the minds of some, if the mother or parents of a preborn child decide that they want to have an abortion, then their child loses absolutely all right to have their life protected. But not everyone is prepared to simply turn away and abandon such children to death. And not without good reason either.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Australia is a signatory, states in the opening paragraph of the Preamble: ” . . . recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world” (emphasis added).

Article 3 of the Declaration reads: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.” (emphasis added).

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990), to which Australia is also a signatory, reaffirms in the Preamble the following statement from the earlier Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959): ” . . . the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, both before as well as after birth.” (emphasis added)

However the reality in Australia today is that, regardless of Australia being a signatory to the above documents, there is effectively no legal protection given to the child before birth. If a woman wants to end her child’s life by abortion, so long as she has the money to pay for it, she can visit an abortion clinic and readily get it done. About 90 to 100 000 babies are killed by abortion in Australia each year.

Yet here in Queensland, if a person should assault a pregnant woman and subsequently her child dies, the assailant can be punished with life imprisonment - the same penalty that is given for killing a born person.

So we have a situation where a preborn child’s life is regarded as being as valuable as anyone else’s life - if the mother wants the child - but if the mother does not want the child, then somehow the child, apparently, loses all value and rights and can be killed by abortion.

But it is a well-recognised injustice for the value and rights of one human being to be made dependent upon the say-so of one or more other human beings. At other times and places sub-sections of humanity, such as those who are Jewish or who have dark-coloured skin, have been deemed by others to be less than fully human and so could be made subject to death and enslavement.

Those attitudes are now almost totally rejected in our society, yet, incongruously, we live with the greatest of discriminations being openly practised against another sub-section of humanity - the preborn children. (Not to mention the harm that abortion can do to women.)

Well, not everybody is prepared to just live with such double standards.

Yes, my husband and the others have been found to be breaking the law in their efforts to come to the defence of children who are scheduled to be aborted. It is clearly no small thing for them to defy the law and do so over and over again. Yet laws, which allow for the wholesale destruction of innocent human life, cannot be taken to be absolute.

As Martin Luther King Jr wrote in his famous letter from Birmingham jail, ” . . . there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

Yes, if a child is about to be killed, all of us should try to save the child - even if we are sent to jail for doing so.

This article first appeared on Mercatornet.com and is reprinted under a Creative Commons License.

Tags: abortion

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Obama brags about radical gay agenda on re-election website: lists 40 gay rights ‘accomplishments

by Christine Dhanagom Thu May 03 11:27 EST Comments (13)

 

May 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In an apparent effort to appease the gay lobby after receiving criticism for refusing to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against homosexuals and transgenders, President Obama recently added a page to his re-election website bragging about his administration’s radical gay agenda.

Homosexual groups had accused the President last month of backing out on campaign promises for political reasons by not signing the order, prompting a statement from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney claiming that Obama’s previous record on the issue “speaks volumes about his commitment to securing equal rights for LGBT Americans.”

Late last month, the president’s campaign took to the its Twitter account to prove Carney’s point, sending out a link to a timeline that lists forty “accomplishments” for the gay agenda during Obama’s first term in office, along with the Tweet: “What three years of progress for the LGBT community looks like.”

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

Among the items listed include prominent actions such as the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” permitting military chaplains to preside over same sex “marriages,” refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, and the administration’s decision late last year to use foreign aid as leverage to pressure other countries into accepting homosexual behavior.

The timeline also marked the appointments of four homosexual judges, claimed credit for leading an effort at the United Nations to “restore ‘sexual orientation’ to the definition of human rights,” and noted the administration’s support for homosexual activists Janice Langbehn and Edith Windsor.

The president’s campaign for government acknowledgement of the “true gender” of transgendered persons is also touted, including an order that allows transgenders to obtain “true gender passport without surgery,” and efforts to ensure that transgender veterans “receive respectful care according to their true gender through the Veterans Health Administration.”

Accompanying the timeline is a header which urges readers to “take a look at the timeline below, then share it with your friends,” and brags that the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is “just one example of the progress we’ve achieved since President Obama took office.”

The sentiments echo the president’s comments at a White House “gay pride” reception last summer that his administration had done more in two and a half years than the previous 43 Presidents to forward the gay agenda.

“There are going to be times where you’re still frustrated with me.  I know there are going to be times where you’re still frustrated at the pace of change.  I understand that.  I know I can count on you to let me know,” Obama had told the crowd of gay activists.

The timeline also referenced the reception, which was held during what the president had officially declared to be “gay pride month,” noting that Obama’s was the first administration to sponsor such an event.

While Obama continues to take heat from gay rights groups for not publicly declaring his support for same sex “marriage,” some commentators have speculated that he may be waiting until after the November elections to make such a move. The president has said that his views on the matter are “evolving.”

Tags: election 2012, gay marriage, homosexuality, obama

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State legislatures honor a pro-life leader, protect women’s health, and establish conscience rights

by Ben Johnson Thu May 03 10:11 EST Comments (0)

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 3, 2012, LifeSiteNews.com) –  After a record-breaking 2011 in terms of pro-life legislation introduced, legislators have introduced more than 400 pro-life bills across the country. LifeSiteNews.com is monitoring pro-life, pro-family legislation in state houses nationwide.

Missouri
Supporting the unborn is a thankless job, but Dr. Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life received a welcome measure of recognition this week. On Wednesday, the Missouri House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring her work on behalf of the unborn. The award came as Dr. Yoest came to testify on behalf of a bill that would ban sex-selective abortions.

Oklahoma
Abortionists in Oklahoma will face stiffer penalties if they ignore the state’s notification and informed consent laws. House Bill 2561 – which won unanimous approval from the House after receiving a lopsided majority in the state senate – would allow women to sue abortion clinics that do not provide an ultrasound, allow them to hear their unborn baby’s heartbeat, or inform the parents of minor girls at least 48 hours in advance. Governor Mary Fallin is expected to sign the bill into law. 

Kansas
The state senate passed a new conscience measure, protecting health care professionals who do not wish to participate in abortion, refer patients for abortions, or distribute abortifacient drugs by 23-16 on Wednesday. The bill will now go to Governor Sam Brownback. “This is about respecting the rights to conscience and others’ beliefs,” said State Senator Mary Pilcher-Cook.

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

Rhode Island
Although the state does not recognize same-sex “marriage,” Rhode Island is considering a bill allowing same-sex divorce. A pending proposal would allow couples who marry in other states to seek a divorce in the nation’s smallest state. Another measure would legalize same-sex “marriage,” after the motion failed last year. More than 80 people testified before the House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday.

Alabama
The Alabama House Health Committee passed two bills by voice vote on Wednesday. One opts out of providing abortion under the state health care exchanges established by ObamaCare. Another imposes new regulations on abortion clinics. Meanwhile, the committee’s counterpart in the state senate held a hearing yesterday on a Personhood bill introduced by Sen. Phil Williams.

Iowa
Residents of Iowa will soon be able to proclaim their support for the unborn everywhere they drive. Late last month, the state Department of Transportation made Iowa the 29th state to approve a “Choose Life” license plate. The plate, which features smiling children, will convey to “people who see it that there are other choices,” said Jenifer Bowen, executive director of Iowa Right to Life.

New Hampshire
Judges in the Granite State will have a bit more time in deciding whether minors must inform their parents of their decision to get an abortion. The state’s parental notification law, which took effect this year, requires judges to determine whether a teen could receive a waiver within 48 hours. The state legislature has passed a bill that would give judges two business days to grant teens an exemption. The bill now goes to Governor John Lynch.


Tags: americans united for life, mary fallin, sam brownback

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Chen: U.S. officials pressured me to leave Embassy

by Kathleen Gilbert Thu May 03 09:35 EST Comments (11)

 
Chen Guangcheng

Click “like” to join a Facebook page in support of Chen!

BEIJING, CHINA, May 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Chen Guangcheng’s bid for freedom took a dramatic turn Thursday when the human rights activist directly pleaded with President Obama to bring him and his family home on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s plane, after saying he was pressured to leave the U.S. Embassy by American officials this week.

“My fervent hope is that it would be possible for me and my family to leave for the U.S. on Hillary Clinton’s plane,” Chen told The Daily Beast‘s Melinda Liu, who said she spoke to Chen from his hospital bed in Beijing. Chen was being treated for broken bones in his foot after falling over a wall during his escape.

Clinton, who was present in Beijing on Wednesday and Thursday, said she had spoken with Chen and was pleased to facilitate his “stay and departure” in a way that “reflected his choices and our values.” Chen told Channel 4 that he had asked to see Clinton in person during his conversation with her.

Chen described how he was pressured by both American and Chinese officials to leave the Embassy to which the blind activist had barely managed to escape after 19 months of severe beatings, starvation, and imprisonment in his village home. He said Chinese officials had threatened his family.

Click “like” to join a Facebook page in support of Chen!

According to Liu, “Chen said he came under tremendous pressure from American officials—‘not those from the embassy but others’—to leave the diplomatic facility as quickly as possible.” He also said that it was a U.S. official who conveyed the threat of returning his wife to their home, still overrun by violent guards, if he did not comply.

Chen’s wife, whom he met at the hospital, told him she had been tied to a chair, beaten, and interrogated by Chinese guards following his escape.

“I had no information, I got no phone calls from friends, I was isolated,” said Chen, who was audibly distraught. “Then I heard about the threat that my wife would be sent back home to Shandong if I didn’t leave the embassy. So I left.”

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Wednesday claimed that it was untrue that the U.S. conveyed threats to Chen about his wife, but also said that “U.S. interlocutors did make clear that if Chen elected to stay in the embassy, Chinese officials had indicated to us that his family would be returned to Shandong, and they would lose their opportunity to negotiate for reunification.”

Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid and a top advocate for Chen in the U.S., said in The Daily Beast‘s report that he was frustrated that a conference call with U.S. officials apparently whitewashed Chen’s situation.

“They summarized the situation, and it sounded like a beautiful, happy scene,” which “totally contradicts” Chen’s actual situation, said Fu.

“They said they’d send some photos of Chen ‘joyfully’ leaving the embassy,” he said.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials insist that much of the conflict was due to miscommunication, including initial reports from U.S. officials of Chen telling Clinton “I want to kiss you” being corrected to his actual meaning, “I want to see you.”

U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke told reporters that Chen had insisted on leaving the embassy to see his wife, although he was ready to house Chen for “years,” according to The Washington Post. The Post also reports that U.S. officials spoke to Chen by phone twice on Thursday.

But Fu, who says he spoke to a crying Chen over the phone, confirmed reports that Chen feels the U.S. had pressured him to leave the embassy.

“He said he was under enormous pressure to leave the embassy. Some people almost made him feel he was being a huge burden to the U.S.,” he said.

Lu also reports that hospital staff refused to feed Chen, his wife and his two young children, only bringing food late at night after friends contacted American officials for help.

Chen had initially expressed his intention to stay in China, but now has repeatedly stated that his “biggest wish” is to flee with his family to the United States.

“Please try to contact the embassy to send someone over here. I need your help, I’m absolutely, absolutely ready to fly out on Hillary Clinton’s plane. Please tell the embassy what I’m saying, Meiyuan,” Chen pleaded to Lu, using her Chinese name.

“I don’t know why the Americans didn’t answer my phone calls.”

The Post characterized spiriting Chen out of China on Clinton’s plane as “extremely difficult and extraordinarily unusual” as Chen lacked a visa and because Clinton planned to stop in India and Bangladesh. Fu notes that getting Chen and his familiy out of China would require “a diplomat push” on the part of the Obama administration to obtain passports.

Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, a group deeply connected to Chen and his advocacy for forced-abortion victims in China, told LifeSiteNews.com that the situation had grown dire.

“Chen and his family are in danger,” Littlejohn told LSN in a brief e-mail. The human rights leader will be testifying before Congress this afternoon to plead on Chen’s behalf.

In public, Chinese officials had given assurances that the self-taught lawyer would be treated humanely and would be allowed to attend a university. Yet signs of Chinese enmity towards Chen are visible: a Channel 4 video report included footage of a Chinese man publicly holding an ostensibly pro-Chen sign before it was ripped out of his hands and the man whisked away by persons in uniform.

He Peirong, the young Chinese woman who spearheaded Chen’s escape into the U.S. Embassy late last month, vanished hours after news broke of the event. Friends still fear she is in the hands of the Communist Party, which has been known to torture or kill dissidents without trial.

Tags: chen guangcheng, china, hillary clinton

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Chen Guangcheng story explosion; fanatical Ontario premier

by Steve Jalsevac Wed May 02 19:34 EST Comments (2)

The Chen Guangcheng story exploded this week. This heroic blind man has caused an international political crisis by putting a spotlight to be put on both the Chinese and Obama governments for their atrocious negligence regarding China’s vicious forced abortion and sterilization programs.  Get as many friends as possible to Like the Free Chen Guangcheng Facebook page NOW!  This is the time above all for worldwide action.

In Canada, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty (a Catholic) seems to have become an increasingly irrational gay rights activist, willing now to go beyond normal political limits to ram through his totalitarian education policies on all Ontario citizens.

Why is the Ontario Premier so fanatically committed to this deeply corrupting ideology when there are serious, legitimate needs in his nearly bankrupt province? Many are also asking why the Catholic bishops and other religious leaders have been so shockingly and consistently absent from the public debates on the issue, or even thinking that they can quietly negotiate with these deceitful totalitarians? We are in very, very strange times.

Steve Jalsevac
LifeSiteNews.com

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