Patrick Craine

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Canadian gvmt will maintain Crossroads grant after review over beliefs on homosexuality

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine
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OTTAWA, Feb. 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Canada’s Conservative government is defending its grant to a Christian organization working to improve water access in Uganda after a media report on Sunday called for its defunding because of its Christian beliefs on sexuality.

International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino had called for a review of the $544,813 grant to Crossroads Communications Inc. after The Canadian Press reported that the evangelical organization’s website included a statement labeling homosexuality a “perversion” and a “sin.” The review, he said, would happen “before further payments are made.”

The news prompted concern from pro-family advocates who warned the move risked sidelining the Christian voice in the public square, but Minister Fantino’s office contacted LifeSiteNews Monday night to say that the review was complete and Crossroads’ funding would remain in place.

Minister Fantino defends the grant

Meagan Murdoch, a spokeswoman for Fantino, told LifeSiteNews that Crossroads’ funding had not been halted. “It was simply a review … to confirm that the funds that the government had given them were still being spent on the water project,” she explained. “We just wanted to double check everything was in accordance with the agreement.”

In an e-mail Monday night, a spokeswoman for the Canadian International Development Agency confirmed that the grant remains in place after the review found Crossroads’ project complies with the funding agreement.

“CIDA evaluates projects based on merit, and flows funding based on effectiveness,” said Amy Mills. “Funding decisions are not made on the basis of an organization’s religious affiliation.”

The New Democrats, Canada’s official Opposition, challenged Fantino on the grant during Question Period on Monday.

“How did Crossroads, an anti-gay organization, get sign-off from the minister to operate in a country that Canada has strongly criticized for its persecution of its gay citizens?” asked Hélène Laverdière (Laurier-Sainte-Marie), the NDP's International Cooperation critic.

In response, Fantino said, “We fund results-based projects, not organizations, and projects are delivered without religious content, including this particular project.”

Crossroads ‘delighted’ to continue serving Ugandans

In its report on Sunday, The Canadian Press said they found a page on Crossroads’ website urging users to “repent” of sexual sins that misuse the “true purpose” of sexual intercourse, including homosexuality. The news agency charged that the federal government is funding a so-called  “anti-gay” group in Uganda while at the same time ardently opposing a proposed Ugandan law that would institute harsher punishments for same-sex relations.

But Crossroads, in a statement sent to LifeSiteNews Monday night, insisted they are “not anti-gay” and are committed to “lov[ing] people unconditionally,” while also affirming their belief that “God’s blueprint encourages sexuality within a marriage.” They said they “welcomed” the CIDA review as part of government efforts to ensure accountability.

Speaking to LifeSiteNews Tuesday morning after learning the grant would continue, Lara Dewar Laurie, Crossroads’ Chief Corporate Services Officer, said they were “delighted.”

“We enjoy a really positive working relationship with CIDA and we’re inclined to do what it takes – save of course giving up on any of our principles, which we’ve not been asked to do,” she said. “The work that’s being done is incredibly important – people deserve clean drinking water and we’re delighted that there will be no delay in getting that to them.”

The organization, which is famous for its Christian television station, has run development projects overseas for over 30 years, distributing over $35,000,000 in relief funds in 41 countries. They have partnered with CIDA for ten years, receiving $2,664,000 during that time.

In their statement, the organization also said they are not involved in lobbying in Uganda, and in fact support the Canadian government’s opposition to criminalizing homosexuality. “Crossroads provides aid based solely on human need and does not discriminate, nor does Crossroads attempt to influence or lobby foreign governments or policies,” they said.

Dewar Laurie told LifeSiteNews they had intended to remove the webpage on “sexual sins” several months ago and have now done so, but insisted that their commitment to Biblical doctrine on sexuality remains firm.

“Our particular views on Biblically the treatment of sexuality has not changed and will not change, but we believe that it was outdated in tone and message,” she explained. “Culturally in the last five to ten years we’ve seen a very different dialogue shaped around same-sex attraction and many other things in culture and we always want to make sure that those resources are not hurtful.”

Pro-family leaders react

Don Hutchinson, vice president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, told LifeSiteNews the government’s decision to continue the grant is “entirely appropriate,” noting that Canada is a “free and democratic society where people are not disqualified from participating in relationship with the government because of religious beliefs.”

“I’m quite sure that the original reasons for providing the grant to Crossroads are still being satisfied and that those who are impoverished and in need of fresh water and latrines and training in proper hygiene in Uganda will be the beneficiaries as a result,” he said.

Andrea Mrozek, executive director of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, said she did not see a need for a “specific review” of Crossroads’ work.

Have people ever seen their programming? These are people who wouldn’t know how to hate if you paid them good money to try,” she said. “If we are coming to a place where people who have a traditional view of sexuality apparently can’t do unrelated development work, then that’s a very dangerous place to be.”

On Monday, Joseph C. Ben-Ami, president of the Meighen Institute, had criticized Fantino’s decision to review the grant because, he said, Crossroads’ views on homosexuality “couldn’t be less relevant” to its work in Uganda. After learning on Tuesday that the grant would continue, he said his concerns still apply.

“The allegation of impropriety was absurd at face value and ought to have been dismissed outright,” he said. “The fact that his office even conducted some sort of ‘review’ ought to offend all practicing Christians, regardless of their political affiliation. [Would] a group made up of pro-abortionists [who] were involved in food distribution be subjected to the same - or any - scrutiny in similar circumstances? I think not.”

“The real problem here, however, is not the government, but the media that ran the story in the first place. It betrayed either a deep ambivalence toward Christian organisations, or a profound ignorance, and ought not to have been run,” he added.


Contact info:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
pm@pm.gc.ca

Hon. Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation
613-996-4971
julian.fantino@parl.gc.ca


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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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African denounces Western elites pushing population control in his country

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By Ben Johnson

An op-ed in one of the leading publications in Uganda has denounced the promotion of IUD use and other long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) in the nation as a colonialist form of population control.

An article published in New Vision, which bills itself as “Uganda's leading daily,” and which was posted online after being translated into broken English, contradicts the frequent claim that there is a desperate cry from Africans and brown people generally to provide the “unmet need” for contraception in the Third World.

Programs to convince African women to use the IUD or other forms of contraception “are projects of multibillion international agencies distributing them under the guise of helping the poor countries to control birth rates,” Stephen Wabomba wrote.

The use of the IUD leads to an increase in “the spread of STIs/HIV/AIDS, infections or increased rates of Pelvic Infection Diseases (PID),” and other maladies, he said. The IUD, which is inserted into the uterus and may work for years at a time, offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases and often does not prevent fertilization.

Western governments and NGOs are very much “aware of the side effect[s] but still force them on us through sensational marketing strategies by claiming that there is unmet need” for contraception “in Uganda,” he wrote.

He instead suggested the use of Natural Family Planning methods as the “best alternative” for married couples, as well as increased “funding of chastity and abstinence education in Uganda.”

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He called on every citizen of Uganda “to stand up and be counted as a lover of life” and become a “protector of the voiceless and defenseless unborn children being aborted every day.”

Wabomba is heeding his own advice by acting as director of the Pregnancy Help Center in Jinja, the second largest city in Uganda. The town of 87,000 is perched on the shores of Lake Victoria.


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UN tells Chile and Peru to legalize abortion

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By Guilherme Ferreira Araújo

On July 7 and 8, the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) discussed Chile’s abortion laws and issued a report asking for liberalization of those laws.

According to the report, Chile “should establish exceptions to the general prohibition of abortion, contemplating therapeutic abortion and in those cases in which the pregnancy is a consequence of a rape or incest.”

Chile is one of the few countries that prohibits abortion in all cases.  So far, the country has managed to stand against internal and external pressure to legalize abortion.

But during her campaign, President Michele Bachelet promised to make the legalization of abortion a priority.  Indeed, last May she stated that her intention was to reopen the debate so that the government could approve therapeutic abortion before the end of this year.  The U.N. report also said that Chile “should make sure that reproductive health services are accessible to all women and adolescents."

One of the reasons the UN is using to pressure Chile’s government to change their abortion laws is the high number of clandestine abortions allegedly taking place in Chile. The UNHRC points to “official data” showing 150,000 annual clandestine abortions. However, not only is it impossible to corroborate that figure, but other sources show that this number could be exaggerated by a factor of 10.  According to an article published in the Chilean news publication, Chile B, the annual number of clandestine abortions in Chile may vary between 8,270 and 20,675.

Inflating the number of illegal abortions and maternal mortality is a common tactic of the pro-abortion movement’s effort to legalize the deadly practice. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), famously admitted the tactic after becoming pro-life.

“We claimed that between five and ten thousand women a year died of botched abortions,” he said. "The actual figure was closer to 200 to 300 and we also claimed that there were a million illegal abortions a year in the United States and the actual figure was close to 200,000. So, we were guilty of massive deception."

Chile has also been used as a prime example that legalized abortion does not reduce maternal mortality.

A study published in 2012 by Plos One Institute found that since 1989 when Chile banned abortion, there has been an annual decrease in maternal death. That study, and others compiled and published by the Chilean MELISA Institute strongly challenge the myth that abortion is safe or even necessary to increase maternal health.

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Notwithstanding the empirical data, the United Nations is also hard at work to pressure Chile’s neighbor to the North, Peru, to liberalize its own abortion laws.  In the case of Peru it is the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) that has issued the report, not the UNHRC.  CEDAW representatives examined Peru’s case on July 1 and suggested that Peru should legalize abortion in case of rape and severe abnormalities of the unborn child.

The organism suggested that the government eliminate all laws that punish women who abort and asked that Peru “urgently” adopt a law to fight violence against women, a notion often used as a euphemism for legalizing abortion.  

The CEDAW commission presented the conclusions of the report on July 22 and put special emphasis on the abortion issue. This happens despite the strong opposition to abortion in Peru. A recent survey showed that 79 percent of Peruvians support the Catholic Church’s position on abortion.

The CEDAW pressure on Peru is not new. In 2011, after the UN sanctioned Peru for denying an abortion to a teenager, Carlos Polo, Director of the Population Research Institute’s Latin American office, stated that the UN organism doesn’t have the right to force Peru to approve abortion.


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People ask me all the time, “How do you live with your past?” My answer is silly, but it is a true story. Youtube screenshot
Abby Johnson Abby Johnson Follow Abby

I helped so many women abort their babies. Now how do I live with that?

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By Abby Johnson
Abby Johnson business card Planned Parenthood

I have many memories of my time with Planned Parenthood. I spent eight years of my life there. Some memories are good, some are not. But they are contained in my mind. It’s easy to forget them. I have forgotten so much about my time there in just four and a half short years. 

I found my old business card the other day. That is a tangible memory for me. It made me think of the day that I heard I had been promoted to direct the clinic. I was so happy…hugging and jumping up and down with my supervisor. She was so proud of me.

I thought about the day I moved everything into my new, big office. I put pro-choice stickers all over my file cabinet. I called my parents to share the news. They were, of course, proud of me, but hated my work. I can’t imagine how conflicted they were in their minds and hearts. Human resources sent me my new paperwork. There was my new title, my new and amazing salary. 

A few days later, my new business cards came. I remember putting them in my new business card holder on my desk. I filled up the business card holder that I kept in my purse. I had already become used to hearing myself say my new title.

I was proud of myself. I was proud of the hard work I had put in to earn that new title. I worked so many hours, sacrificed so much time from my family. But I knew it would be worth it. And now I had the job title to prove it.

I remember proudly passing out my new business cards to anyone that would take one. Being pro-choice was not just a movement to me; it was a lifestyle. I wholeheartedly embraced that lifestyle and loved being a part of it. 

These tangible reminders that I occasionally find are sometimes hard to work through. I remember receiving the records from my medication abortion. That tangible reminder of my past was difficult to manage. I look at my “Employee of the Year” award that I received from Planned Parenthood and think back to the night I received it. I ended up putting that old award on my desk as a reminder of where I came from and how much my life has changed. Seeing that plaque no longer brings back those tangible memories. 

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One of the reasons I was so taken aback when finding my old business card was not just because it was a reminder of how proud I had been to run an abortion clinic…something I find deplorable now. It was because of the things I took part in while I had that big title.

The memories of handing women small monetary checks in order to pay for their silence after we had left them with a serious infection after their abortion. The memories of watching women bleed out on our abortion table and being instructed not to call the ambulance because we didn’t want to let the pro-lifers know that we had a medical emergency. The memories I have of “joking” about the babies that died in our facility by abortion. The memories I have of training our abortion facility employees on the “normalcy” of abortion and how to convince women that abortion is the best choice for them.

Part of being a former abortion clinic worker is learning how to deal with your past sin. It may be the lady who came to your clinic for an abortion that you bump into at the store. It could be standing in front of your former abortion facility and remembering all of the damage your words and actions did to so many women. It could be finding that old business card that reminds you of the pride you felt when you became the director of an abortion facility. 

People ask me all the time, “How do you live with your past?” My answer is silly, but it is a true story. 

One day I was watching the kid’s movie “Kung Fu Panda” with my daughter. In the film there is a wise, old tortoise named Oogway. He is talking to one of his students who is frustrated with his current situation. Oogway asks his student, “Do you know why today is called the present? Because it is a gift.”

That little line by an animated tortoise hit me like a ton of bricks. Today is a gift. There is absolutely nothing we can do with our past. And there is very little we can do to control our future. We live NOW. We serve NOW. We choose to move on from our past NOW. 

I don’t know what your past sins are. And I don’t know how frequently you are reminded of them. But as someone who has to face their past sins on pretty much a daily basis, I can tell you that you can be free from their burden. Being reminded of your past doesn’t mean that you have to live with constant grief. It simply means that you have been given the opportunity to transform your past into something positive…maybe you can help others make different choices than you did, maybe you can help others heal from the same struggles that you lived through. I don’t know what you are being called to do, but as the saying goes, “God can turn our mess into a message.” 

Carrying around past burdens doesn’t help us in any way. Know that you can be forgiven. Accept that forgiveness. Use your life to help others. The present is indeed a gift.

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