John Westen

A plea to U.S. Bishops: Please love enough to speak of the dangers of homosexuality

John Westen
John Westen

June 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As the same-sex ‘marriage’ debate plays out in the United States, with New York having recently fallen, I can’t help but think that it all feels strangely familiar.  Back in 2003 and 2004 Canada went through these same debates. 

The methods used by homosexual activists in Canada were actually exported to the United States (first to Massachusetts) and have been similarly successful.  However, I cringe to see that the same unsuccessful approach to combating this agenda taken by religious leaders in Canada is being taken by U.S. leaders, with similar results.

To be sure, the efforts of the newly formed U.S. Bishops Conference office for the ‘promotion and defense of marriage’ are commendable. However, they are off target.  The slick and beautiful videos they have produced for the promotion of marriage and family life are truly great.  Thirty years ago they would have made a massive impact in fighting divorce and the contraceptive mentality. 

Today, however, what we need to realize is that in the same-sex ‘marriage’ battle, the fight is not really about marriage.  As it was in Canada, in the debates leading up to the passage of our same-sex ‘marriage’ legislation in 2005, the issue is about societal approval for homosexual acts.

Homosexual activists argue the need for ‘marriage,’ but most have no interest in the constraints that such a formalized union would entail in terms of exclusive partnership.  However, the leaders among the activists have convinced the movement that they must attain marriage as a societal stamp of approval to homosexual behavior. 

For practicing homosexuals, as with all those engaged in aberrant sexual behavior, the conscience speaks uncomfortably.  Many activists in the sexual sphere seek societal approval, since they falsely believe that it will quell the voice of the conscience.  They are not looking for mere tolerance, but outright approval and even to quash all dissent, with coercion if necessary. 

In nations like my own, where speaking out against homosexuality has led to fines and penalties, there is also a growing movement advocating that pro-homosexual education be taught in schools and that parents be prevented from exempting their children from such classes.

The only way to truly win this debate is to raise the long-ignored subject of homosexuality itself: to teach the truth that homosexual acts are perilous to the body, and especially to the soul. To fail to do this would be to fail to address the heart of the matter.

In most people’s minds, arguments about the goodness of (heterosexual) marriage and raising children can be accepted right along with homosexual ‘marriage.’  Arguments that gay “marriage” will be a detriment to society, or that we should not alter traditional definitions, are tangential.  The core issue is the Church’s loving concern for those individuals who are putting their bodies and souls in danger with illicit and dangerous sexual practices, and society’s encouraging such behavior with the title of ‘marriage’.

That was what struck me when I read the New York Times coverage of the passage of the same-sex ‘marriage’ legislation pushed so hard by Catholic Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York. “The Catholic Church, arguably the only institution with the authority and reach to derail same-sex marriage, seemed to shrink from the fight,” it said.

The only answer that will move society away from the acceptance of homosexuality and thus same-sex ‘marriage’ is – caritas in veritate – or love in truth. And it is up to the Church to fearlessly preach this difficult, but beautiful message. It is not love to allow your children to rampantly misbehave without correcting them.  Speaking as a father of seven children, I will admit that it is often easier to turn the other way and purposely fail to notice misbehavior.  But out of love parents must correct and discipline their children, lest they come to harm. 

So too the Church, and especially Her shepherds – the fathers of souls - must feed the flock, must teach the truths however difficult and politically incorrect.  That is true love.

The Vatican has specifically warned against silence on the hard truths of homosexuality.  The man who is now our Pope, while he headed up the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a public document directed to the Bishops of the Catholic Church, stating that silence about the Church’s teachings regarding the spiritual harm of homosexual acts stems from a false charity which is ‘neither caring nor pastoral.’

Therefore I beg you, good priests and bishops and religious leaders of all Christian denominations, to speak out with conviction and love the truths of Christ, especially in these hard areas of human sexuality.  You will be criticized for it, but you must trust that God will see to it that the truth is well received. 

Love demands it and the future of Christianity depends on it.  How can I say the future of Christianity depends on it, since we know that Christ will be with His Church till the end of time? Because in this battle of homosexuality, a time of persecution of the Church is near at hand, and indeed, in many parts has already arrived.

This is not my estimation, but that of the Pope Benedict XVI.  In an address given only 18 days prior to his election to the pontificate, and one day prior to the death of Pope John Paul II, then Cardinal Josef Ratzinger said: “Very soon it will not be possible to state that homosexuality, as the Catholic Church teaches, is an objective disorder in the structuring of human existence.”

Yes, the time may be coming shortly when we are forbidden to state the basic truths of the Church.  Will we then have the courage to proclaim Christ’s truth with the possibility of losing our freedom, or perhaps even shedding our blood? If we choose silence now because of cultural pressures, the loss of human respect and political calculations, how can we imagine that when the penalties are increased to include imprisonment, and possibly even torment and death, we will dare to speak the truth of Christ?

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Brian Fisher

Birth mothers: real heroes of the pro-life movement

Brian Fisher
By Brian Fisher
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What does it mean to be brave? Is it the doctor who dedicates himself to improving the health of a third-world nation? Is it the woman who faces her third round of chemotherapy to fight the progression of cancer? Is it the teacher who forgoes the comforts of a suburban school to reach minorities in the inner city? All of these are examples of bravery demonstrated in exceedingly challenging circumstances. And our society longs for stories of bravery to inspire us and fill us with hope.

As someone who works day in and day out with those on the front lines of helping rescue babies from abortion, I’m no stranger to stories of bravery. I see courage every day in the eyes of the men and women who sacrifice their time and energy to help women facing unplanned pregnancies. I see it every time a young mom — despite being pressured by her parents or significant other to get an abortion — chooses LIFE. And perhaps more profoundly than in any other situation, I see it when an expectant mom with no relational support, job, or income chooses to place her baby for adoption rather than abort her son or daughter.

This was Nicky’s situation.

When Nicky found herself pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, her life was already in shambles. During her 26 years, Nicky had already given birth to and surrendered sole custody of a little girl, committed several felonies, lived in her car, lost several jobs, and barely subsisted on minimum wage. So when she met up with an old boyfriend, Brandon, Nicky believed she was being given a second chance at happiness. “Our first year together was beautiful. We were getting to know each other and deciding if we would stay together forever.” Unfortunately, a positive pregnancy test result changed everything.

“When I told him I was pregnant, Brandon sat down on the bed, looked me in the eyes, and told me to ‘get an abortion’.” Nicky says those three little words changed everything for her. “I became depressed living with someone who wanted his child ‘dealt with.’”  Like thousands of women every day, Nicky began searching online for information on abortion, hoping her boyfriend would eventually change his mind. Through our strategic marketing methods, Online for Life was able to guide Nicky to a life-affirming pregnancy center where she received grace-filled counsel. “The woman I sat with was beyond wonderful. She helped me to just breathe and ask God what to do….And so I did.”

Nicky left the pregnancy center that day with a new resolve to choose life for her child, even though she still wasn’t sure how she’d financially support a child. “I was alone with just $10 in my pocket…and without any type of plan for what I was going to do.” So Nicky relied on the support of the staff she met at the life-affirming pregnancy center. With their help and through a chain of fortunate events, Nicky was put in contact with the couple who would eventually become her daughter’s adoptive parents.

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After meeting this couple face to face and coming to terms with her own desperate situation, Nicky conceded that the best thing for her unborn child would be to place her in someone else’s loving home. She told Brandon about her plans and he agreed that adoption would give their child the best chance at a happy and secure future. He even returned home to help Nicky prepare for the birth of their child. “The weeks leading up to my delivery were filled with a mixture of laughter, tears, protectiveness and sadness,” Nicky recalls. But one sentiment continued to be shared with her. “Brave…so brave.” That’s what everyone from the life-affirming pregnancy center to the adoption agency to the birthing center kept calling Nicky. “The nurses kept coming up to me and telling me they were honored to care for and treat someone like me.” After several weeks of preparation, Nicky finally gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and she made the dreams of a couple from the other side of the country come true.

Nicky’s adoption story continues to be riddled with a strange combination of pain and joy. “I cry every day, but I know my baby, who came out of a very bad time, ended up being loved by people from across the country.” When asked what message she’d like to share with the world about her decision to give up her child for adoption, Nicky responds, The voice of the mother who gives up a baby for adoption isn’t heard. We need to change that.”

To learn more about Online for Life and how we’re helping to make stories like Nicky and her daughter’s story a possibility, please visit OnlineforLife.org.

Author, speaker, and business leader Brian Fisher is the President and Co-Founder of Online for Life, a transparent, metric-oriented, compassion-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rescue babies and their families from abortion through technology and grace.

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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New York farmers stop hosting weddings after $13,000 fine for declining lesbian ceremony

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By Dustin Siggins

New York farmers Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who were ordered last week to pay $13,000 for not hosting a same-sex "wedding," say they are closing that part of their operation.

"Going forward, the Giffords have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their farm, other than the ones already under contract," said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawyer James Trainor. ADF represented the Giffords in their legal fight against New York's non-discrimination law.

Last week, the Giffords were ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to the state of New York and $3,000 in damages to a lesbian couple, Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, who approached them in 2012 about hosting their "wedding." The Giffords, who are Roman Catholic, said their religious convictions would not let them host the ceremony, but that McCarthy and Erwin could hold their reception on their property.

Unbeknownst to the Giffords, lesbian couple recorded the two-to-three minute conversation. After declining to hold the reception on the Giffords' farm, on which they live and rent property, the lesbian couple decided to make a formal complaint to the state's Division of Human Rights.

Eventually, Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that the Giffords' farm, Liberty Ridge Farm, constitutes a public accommodation because space is rented on the grounds and fees are collected from the public. The Giffords argued that because they live on the property with their children, they should be exempt from the state law, but Pares said that this does not mean their business is private.

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Trainor told TheBlaze that the Giffords' decision to end wedding ceremonies at Liberty Ridge “will hurt their business in the short run," but that was preferable to violating their religious beliefs.

“The Giffords serve all people with respect and care. They have hired homosexual employees and have hosted events for same-sex couples,” he said.

However, "since the state of New York has essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions," Trainor explained to LifeSiteNews. "No American should be forced by the government to choose between their livelihood and their faith, but that’s exactly the choice the state of New York has forced upon the Giffords."

"They will continue to host wedding receptions," said Trainor.

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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

South African mom files ‘wrongful life’ lawsuit on behalf of Downs son

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

A South African woman has launched a "wrongful life" lawsuit against the Cape Town-based Foetal Assessment Centre, claiming a failure to inform her that the child she was carrying was at risk of having Down Syndrome prevented her from aborting her baby.

A twist in this lawsuit is that, unlike other "wrongful birth" lawsuits, the mother in this case missed the time limit to file the claim on her own behalf, so she is asking the South African Constitutional Court to allow her to sue the center for “wrongful life” on behalf of her now-born son.

“You have a duty to tell my mother carrying me that I'm malformed so that she can make an informed decision as to whether or not to carry me to term,” the statement of claim against the Foetal Assessment Centre reads, according to SABC News.

“It is not as if the foetus is sort of putting up its hand and saying why you didn’t destroy me," the mother's lawyer, Paul Hoffman, explained to Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. "The foetus is complaining that its malformation, its development is the result of the bad advice that was given.”

The SABC report did not say what compensation the woman is seeking.

The scope of the case is similar to that of a New Zealand couple who won a lawsuit claiming monetary compensation after a routine 20 week ultrasound scan failed to discover that their daughter had spina bifida.

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The mother, whose name has not been released, claimed that the continuance of the pregnancy was a “personal injury,” and, had she been given the correct diagnosis after that scan, she would have aborted her daughter.

"We consider that the continued pregnancy of the appellant following a misdiagnosis in the 20 week scan is capable of being an injury suffered by the appellant,” the court ruled, and directed the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) to make the woman eligible for compensation for the ongoing surgical and physiotherapy expenses incurred by their child.

New Zealand disability advocate Mike Sullivan said the underpinning attitude behind the decision is that those with disability, both born and unborn, are seen as a burden on society.

“This is what happens,” Sullivan said, when “the children become reduced to nothing – wrong even to exist.”

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