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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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 millions 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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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.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

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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