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79% of SC GOP backs personhood, pro-life Republican tops pro-abortion GOP foe, Cuccinelli’s new gig

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By Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C. – While Tuesday night's primary results left the political class reeling and Republican grassroots activists claiming victory, numerous races related to the pro-life and pro-family cause have received less media attention.

South Carolina

Tuesday night's election results show that South Carolina's Republican primary voters overwhelmingly support the concept of personhood. The state party asked whether Article I, Section 3 of the South Carolina state Constitution should be amended to say that “no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law,” and that these “rights shall extend to both born and pre-born persons beginning at conception." A whopping 79 percent of GOP voters responded yes. The vote was not open to all voters and was not seriously contested. “The sweeping success of this Personhood resolution means congressional Republicans in South Carolina just received a mandate for Personhood from the grassroots,” wrote Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA, after the election. “And if any 2016 Republican Presidential candidate expects to do well in the crucial South Carolina primaries, that candidate cannot forget that 79 percent of the base believes preborn children deserve full Personhood protections!” GOP primary voters also backed a measure to eliminate the state income tax. The state's Democrats approved questions supporting online gambling and medical marijuana.

Elsewhere in the state, pro-life U.S. Sen. Tim Scott may be on his way to making history as the first elected black senator in South Carolina history. Unofficial results showed Scott steamrolling over his primary competitor, Randall Young, by a margin of nine-to-one. Scott already made history as the first black person to serve in both chambers of the U.S. Congress, when Gov. Nikki Haley appointed him to fulfill the Senate term left by incumbent Jim DeMint. Scott has not shied away from confronting the Obama administration in either capacity. In 2011, after Obama threatened to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling, then-Congressman Scott called the proposal “an impeachable act.” Days later, Obama backed down.

Sen. Lindsey Graham managed to avoid a runoff election Tuesday night, picking up 59 percent of the vote as of this writing. He needed only pass 50 percent. His closest rival, pro-life conservative Lee Bright, garnered 15 percent of the vote. Graham never looked truly vulnerable, collecting more than $12 million in campaign funds, while none of his six challengers collected even one million dollars. His decision to introduce the national ban on abortions after 20-weeks into the Senate last year helped solidify his standing in the socially conservative state, something that had been called into question over his support for left-wing Obama administration appointees and high-profile backing of amnesty for illegal aliens.

Maine

David Brat was not the only pro-life Tea Party candidate to pull off an unexpected win last night. Former Maine state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin defeated pro-abortion Republican Kevin Raye in a primary to run for the vacant second district seat. Poliquin spoke frequently of his Catholic faith and his belief in the rights of the unborn, as he had in previous elections. “It's clear to me that at conception, a life has begun, and that is a life that should be protected,” he said at a candidate's forum in 2012. Raye, who had lost two previous runs for Congress, called himself “pro-choice.”

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Poliquin “made his opposition to abortion rights a central issue in the race," as he did not vow not to raise taxes. (Raye declined to make such a pledge.) At Poliquin's victory party Tuesday night, former Maine lawmaker Harry Rideout told Maine Public Broadcasting, “I would say pro-life has quite a bit to do with it right now.” This fall, Poliquin will battle pro-abortion Democrat Emily Cain. The National Republican Congressional Committee is pitching the race as “a self-made businessman who managed companies that created thousands of jobs” vs. a career politician.

The congressional seat is being vacated by Democratic Rep. Michael H. Michaud, who is running against pro-life Republican Gov. Paul LePage. LePage recently signed a state budget that defunded Planned Parenthood.

Virginia

The upset of the night was House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's lopsided defeat by the little known and underfunded Tea Party candidate David Brat. Brat bested Cantor, who had been seen as a future Speaker of the House, by a 56-44 percent margin. Cantor had introduced rape and incest exceptions into the national 20-week abortion ban. More recently, as a featured speaker at the 2014 March for Life, Cantor promised that he would see to it that “the House will stand for life” by reintroducing the 20-week ban and measures to end taxpayer funding of abortion until they become law. Cantor had the unified support of the Republican leadership and collected more than $5 million to Brat's $200,000, spending more than $1 million in the last two months alone. But it was Cantor's continual plea to offer amnesty to illegal immigrants that proved a critical component in his surprise upset defeat, particularly as the news featured young immigrants streaming across the southern border without their parents in order to get in line for U.S. citizenship. Cantor, Brat said, had lost touch with his district's voters.

The results startled some in the Republican leadership. Congressman Peter King, R-NY, told MSNBC's Morning Joe that he and other moderate Republicans would not allow the “Ted Cruzes and the Rand Pauls to take over" the GOP. King has considered running for president in 2016 on a platform promoting a hawkish foreign policy.

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The last Virginia Republican to beat an establishment favorite, former Virginia state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, has a new job. He will be taking over the Senate Conservatives Fund, the group founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint to support conservative Republicans during the primaries. The abortion industry said deafeating Cuccinelli in his hotly contested race against Democrat Terry McAuliffe was its top priority. Many believed Republicans did not do enough to support the conservative favorite, who had won several races in the Democrat-dominated northern Virginia area.

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received more than $400 million in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

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If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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