Johanna Dasteel

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UPDATED: Franciscan U of Steubenville under investigation for teaching homosexuality as deviant

Johanna Dasteel
By Johanna Dasteel
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STEUBENVILLE, OH, September 11, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The national agency which grants accreditation to social work courses is questioning Franciscan University of Steubenville over a course which lists homosexuality as a deviant behavior.  Attention was drawn to the course by a group of Franciscan University alumni, identifying themselves as “Franciscan Gay Alumni & Allies”, who are demanding publicly that the university “revise its course descriptions and to stop contributing the culture of hate and ignorance.”

The course is called ‘Deviant Behavior’ and the part of the course description in question states, “The behaviors that are primarily examined are murder, rape, robbery, prostitution, homosexuality, mental illness, and drug use.”

In the press release issued by “Franciscan Gay Alumni & Allies” and published by the Daily Kos, further accusations and demands are made, based solely on the ‘Deviant Behavior’ course description.  Among them are the group’s accusation that students are “being taught ideological falsehoods in the classroom,” and that the classification of homosexuality as a deviant behavior “feed(s) cultural biases and promote hatred for lesbian and gay individuals.”

The group goes on to make a broad demand that the university “revise its course descriptions,” “stop contributing the culture of hate and ignorance,” and “conduct an audit of its entire curriculum and remove any information being taught on this subject that is outdated and not substantiated by sound scientific fact.” 

Regarding the last demand the group states, “It is about time the University aligns itself with the truth of this matter.” 

University officials told LifeSiteNews that Franciscan University was never contacted by the alumni in advance regarding this matter.

In a written statement to LifeSiteNews, the university explains that the course uses the term “deviant” as used in the sociological sense, to mean “different from the norm.” In addition, the university stated, “Franciscan University follows Catholic Church teaching in regard to homosexuality and treats homosexual persons with ‘respect, compassion, and sensitivity’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2358) while holding homosexual acts as ‘intrinsically disordered.’ “

The statement goes on to say that the course description is an abbreviation of chapter headings from the course textbook, which is used by a number of other universities, including both secular and religious institutions.

Stephen Holloway, director of the school’s accrediting agency, Council on Social Work Education, in an interview with NPR (National Public Radio), stated the inclusion of homosexuality as a deviant behavior in the description “raises a red flag”. 

When asked by LifeSiteNews why the course description was a red flag, Holloway recanted, saying that “red flag” was not the best way to describe the nature of the agency’s concern.  Clarifying, he stated that their involvement is solely due to a complaint being made by alumni, regardless of the content of the complaint, because the accrediting agency takes every concern of alumni seriously and this is just one among many that they have an obligation to investigate.

According to Holloway, the course description on which the press release and ‘Franciscan Gay Alumni & Allies’ complaint was based, could not jeopardize the university’s accreditation.  It is the content of the course, whether it complies with the standards of diversity set out in the accreditation guidelines that is considered during the process of accreditation.  The university, said Holloway, is in compliance as long as the university “teaches respect for ‘gay’ people and includes content about ‘gay’ lifestyles.”

Holloway has contacted Franciscan University Officials, asking for “information on the content of the course in particular and how diversity is handled in the program more generally.” He will share that information with the accreditation committee once it is received from FUS.  Holloway went on to say that, “their (FUS’s) accreditation is not in jeopardy.”  He said, “It is only that we get a lot of alerts that something might not be right in a program and when we do we explore them.  The accrediting commission looks at the concern and merits whether or not it’s worth pursuing.”  Right now, Holloway is collecting information from FUS to pass on to the commission to make that judgment.

As a reminder of the school’s claims to religious liberty, the school states, “We understand that some, not understanding the term (deviant) or its context, might take offense at the description and it is currently under review. Nevertheless, changing standard sociological definitions is beyond the scope of our work. So, too, is changing the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Dr. Michael Brown, host of the nationally syndicated radio program “The Line of Fire,” called this “another attack on freedom of religion and freedom of speech.”  “This indicates once again that tolerance is not the issue,” he said, “but rather the only option is the endorsement or celebration of homosexuality.  It is absolute intolerance when it comes to differing religious and moral beliefs.”

When asked about the nature of the increased threats to the religious liberties of American institutions, he told LifeSiteNews, “the day may come when religious institutions will have to seek out their own accrediting associations because of the continuing encroachment of political correctness.”

Attacks on religious freedoms have become more frequent and severe in recent years in the United States. The most notable violation of religious freedom decried by religious leaders and organizations has been the recent HHS mandate that contraceptives, sterilizations and the like be provided and covered by health care institutions, regardless of whether compliance would be a violation of conscience for religious institutions.

With FUS’s accrediting agency conducting an investigation at the request of what many see as a militantly anti-Catholic group, there are growing concerns being expressed about the future ability of Catholic Universities to live out their mission and teach in accordance with Catholic Social Doctrine with full religious freedoms.

FUS told LifeSiteNews in a written statement, “As a Catholic university, Franciscan teaches “all the truths of revelation whether found in Scripture or Tradition as taught by the Catholic Church” (Mission Statement, p. 6). To do otherwise would be a violation of our basic mission as a Catholic university in the Franciscan tradition.”

Contact information for the accrediting body:
Council on Social Work Education
1701 Duke Street, Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314

P: +1.703.683.8080
F: +1.703.683.8099
E: info@cswe.org


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Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent

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Abortion group targets pro-life doctors, nurses with new website: New Zealand

Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent
By Michelle Kaufman

Pro-life health practitioners and crisis pregnancy centres in New Zealand are the target of a new website designed to intimidate those who choose not to refer for abortion or prescribe contraception.

The website, My Decision, is created by the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ). 

The site lists health practitioners and crisis pregnancy centres which they believe women should avoid.  The incomplete list includes the names of individuals or organisations, the region and town, and whether they are a doctor, nurse or other provider. 

Women are asked to submit their stories of “hostile or unhelpful health professionals.”  The stories are non-identifying and can be edited for length or clarity.  At the time of writing only two stories had been posted.

In an earlier blog post, ALRANZ mentioned that the new website, which was still under construction at the time, is “aimed at shining the light on ‘conscientious objectors’… who deny people the reproductive healthcare they want or need.”

Right to Life NZ says they believe the site is “denigrating the good name and reputations of health professionals who believe that abortion is a harmful choice.”

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Under New Zealand law, health practitioners can object to providing reproductive health services according to their conscience.  However, there is one caveat – they “must inform the person who requests the service that he or she can obtain the service from another health practitioner or from a family planning clinic.”

 “Sonscientious objection is a fundamental right and one that must be preserved if we are to continue to live in a free and civil society,” said Chris O’Brien, Vice President of Right to Life NZ. “We risk tyranny if this right is taken away.”

“There are very good doctors that appear on that website” said Dame Colleen Bayer, whose Dunedin Family Life Crisis Pregnancy Centre is also named.  “These doctors speak truthfully and have real care and concern for their patients.  Women do themselves a disservice to discount them based on this information.”

The resource section on the My Decision website links to ALRANZ, Family Planning (an affiliate of International Planned Parenthood Federation and an abortion provider), and the website Abortion Services in New Zealand. 

The Abortion Services website is sponsored by ISTAR Ltd, a registered Charitable Trust which is the sole importer of mifepristone into New Zealand.  ISTAR also provides Manual Vacuum Aspiration equipment for early surgical abortions.

ALRANZ, was instrumental in the writing of the Greens abortion policy, which was unveiled earlier this year.  That policy aims to take abortion out of the Crimes Act making it more accessible.  The policy also targets health professionals who may conscientiously object to ensure they refer patients on to a “neutral practitioner”.

More information about freedom of conscience in healthcare 


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The government is proposing allowing the killing of pre-born babies suspected of being disabled and those conceived through rape or incest.
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Northern Ireland considers allowing killing disabled unborn babies: pro-lifers condemn

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

Northern Ireland’s leading pro-life group, Precious Life, has condemned this week's announcement by Justice Minister David Ford that a consultation on changing the abortion law will be "ready by autumn." The government is considering allowing the killing of pre-born babies suspected of being disabled and those conceived through rape or incest.

“Abortion is a serious criminal offence in Northern Ireland,” said the director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth. “The law here protects unborn babies, and David Ford as Minister for Justice must ensure that all children are legally protected."

Last December, Ford revealed he would be undertaking a consultation to consider changes to the law after he heard the stories of two women, who complained that they had not been allowed to abort their babies who had been diagnosed with anencephaly. Instead, they said, they had traveled to Britain for abortions.

Abortion was refused under Northern Ireland’s laws because the diagnosis of anencephaly for the child poses no medical threat to the mother.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

On Monday Ford told the BBC that the Department of Justice would bring forward its consultation paper on changing Northern Ireland's abortion laws by the fall.

However, Smyth warned that “the core ethical principle which must underpin this discussion is that every child deserves the right to life regardless of how short their life may be, and regardless of the circumstances of their conception."

She vowed that Precious Life will launch a public campaign in support of the life of all unborn babies.

“We all feel enormous sympathy for parents in these traumatic and distressing cases," Precious Life stressed in a statement. "But parents in these difficult situations deserve much more than our sympathy – they need a professional support system in place, which will provide them with help, support and resources.

"Precious Life are resolved to work towards a solution that loves and protects both mother and baby. Once again we call on the Health Minister to immediately establish perinatal hospice services for parents who have received a poor or difficult prenatal diagnosis for their baby,” said Smyth.

 

Contact:

Justice Minister David Ford
Department of Justice
Stormont Estate
Belfast, Northern Ireland
BT4 3SG
Phone:(028) 9076 3000
Email: via website (http://www.dojni.gov.uk/contact-us.htm)


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80% of parents who have an unborn child with spina bifida choose abortion. But Chad Judice (pictured with Eli) knows that life is worth it.
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

Abortion? No way. Dad says son with spina bifida is a ‘gift’ to the family.

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

What is the most pro-life, pro-God influence in your life? According to Catholic author and speaker Chad Judice, his five-year old, disabled son has been a tremendous source of happiness and faith for even the hardest of hearts.

In an op-ed published in The New York Post, Judice writes that when he and his wife found out their unborn son Elijah had spina bifida, they were offered the option of abortion. While they chose life, it didn't stop them from fearing the worst for their careers, eldest child, and Eli.

"That evening...Ashley cried as she read to me from the literature we’d been given," writes Judice. "It said 80 percent of parents who receive a spina bifida diagnosis choose abortion."

"And it told us that our son might have learning disabilities and be paralyzed from the waist down, unable to ever walk."

According to WemMD.com, the two most common forms of spina bifida have few, if any effects, on those who have them. However, the most rare and most aggressive form of the disability can result in significant problems for life:

  • Little or no feeling in their legs, feet, or arms, so they may not be able to move those parts of the body.
  • Bladder or bowel problems, such as leaking urine or having a hard time passing stools.
  • Fluid buildup in the brain (hydrocephalus). Even when it is treated, this may cause seizures, learning problems, or vision problems.
  • A curve in their spine, such as scoliosis.

Eli's form of spina bifida was severe, but -- as it turned out -- manageable, writes Judice. Despite surgeries and "medical challenges," he was out of the hospital within thirty days, though seizures and surgeries would continue to challenge the family. At five-and-a-half, he is entering kindergarten, learning to walk with modern technology, and "his intelligence is at or above average, and he's very talkative."

But perhaps the greatest miracle of all, Judice says, is the effect Eli has had on those who are outside of the family. His story has helped "some pregnant mothers...to reject abortion," and "rekindle the dormant faith of some...drawing them into a life with more room for God and family."

One of those rekindled Christians was a man who, after years in prison, prayed for Eli "as he recited The Lord's Prayer." According to Judice, "it was the first time he’d prayed in 30 years."

Since Eli's birth, Judice has written two books about his son and their family. "Waiting for Eli: A Father's Journey from Fear to Faith" was the first, and has received praise from Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. According to Pavone, it is "an inspiring story of faith, hope, love, and the power of prayer."

"The world judges the value of human life by physical perfection, but God sees things differently. To Him, we are perfectly lovable in our imperfection. Uplifting in its reverence for human life in its most fragile stages, WAITING FOR ELI will encourage pro-life activists everywhere, from the most seasoned to the newly initiated."

Also unstinting in praise was the Chair of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Daniel Cardinal Dinardo, who writes for Judice's website that the book "chronicles [Judice's] spiritual journey from fear of one’s personal limitations to self-abandonment to the divine mercy of God’s providence."

The second book, "Eli's Reach: On the Value of Human Life and the Power of Prayer," received the "Best Book by Small Publisher" award in 2013 by the Catholic Press Association.

"I think of Eli as God’s special gift to my family," Judice wrote in the Post. "And as I share about him, Eli’s story softens hearts and brings people to a greater appreciation of the beauty and sacredness of life."


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