Thaddeus Baklinski

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Christian dad fighting for parental rights smeared in local press

Thaddeus Baklinski
Thaddeus Baklinski
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HAMILTON, Ontario, September 17, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Hamilton-area Christian father who is suing the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board after the board refused his repeated requests over two years to withdraw his children from classes dealing with homosexuality and other sensitive issues, is coming under attack from the local newspaper, The Spectator.

Dr. Steve Tourloukis, the man behind the lawsuit, which seeks to ensure that he is notified before controversial subjects are discussed in class, is a dentist, a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, and has a daughter in grade one and a son in grade four.

In an editorial published September 13, The Spectator’s Managing Editor, Howard Elliott, called Dr. Tourloukis’ legal action “distasteful,” “impractical,” and “downright sinister.”

The paper also published a cartoon by Graeme MacKay with the editorial that portrayed a caricature of Dr. Tourloukis drowning in an accumulation of the word “hate.”

Another version of the Spectator editorial was published by the affiliated Winnipeg Free Press alongside a grotesque cartoon of Dr. Tourloukis by Dale Cummings.

In a move that one pro-life leader called a breach of journalistic ethics and that was condemned by Tourloukis himself, Carmela Fragomeni of The Spectator named the school that Dr. Tourloukis’ children attend.

Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Catholics expressed concerns that the decision could open the children up to harassment, saying, “The Spectator crossed the line of journalistic ethics by publishing the name of his children’s elementary school. This should make every parent angry.”

“There were many articles and TV/radio stories about this situation,” Dr. Tourloukis told LifeSiteNews. “Only the Spectator thought it necessary to publish my children’s school. There was no justification for publishing the name of the school. It was not relevant to the story in any way. But the point is that there could have been a safety issue for my children.”

“This is fundamentally about discrimination,” Dr. Tourloukis said. “My family is being discriminated against because we are not receiving the religious accommodations that are freely being given to other groups.”

“If I was a woman or member of a visible minority claiming discrimination, do you think that any newspaper would actually publish an editorial cartoon to mock me?” he asked. “That would never happen. When a person of colour is claiming to be the victim of discrimination, or a member of any other group, they would never be mocked with a cartoon. This is an anti-Christian bias.”

Dr. Tourloukis said that the issue at stake is simply the right of parents to know what their children are being taught in school.

“Keeping parents abreast of what is being covered in the class room is the standard of practice in the teaching profession. However, when a Christian parent asks to be informed in advance of materials or lessons dealing with sexuality, they are refused.”

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Tourloukis observed that the Spectator had suggested that he simply move his children to another school board, but, he responded, “if a student was complaining of ‘homophobic’ discrimination, I highly doubt they would suggest to the student’s parents that they should simply move to another Board.”

Dr. Tourloukis also pointed out that his personal address and phone number were posted in the website comment section of the Spectator’s article, which were eventually removed: but not so the many vicious comments from readers that Tourloukis says “were intended to humiliate me.”

Gwen Landolt, vice president of REAL Women Canada, described the public campaign against Tourloukis as an attempt “to destroy him by ridicule, a personal attack on his credibility, his intelligence.”

“Anybody who dares to say no to the liberal agenda is to be personally attacked and vilified. It’s a repeat of the Sarah Palin treatment.”

Dr. Tourloukis’ lawsuit against the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is backed by the Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund, a non-profit organization focused on defending in court parental rights to direct the education of their children.

“We believe a tipping point has been reached in Canada. Without immediate intervention, parental rights to direct the moral education of their own children will be lost in several respects,” the organization states, which argues that the only way to fight back at this extreme juncture is through lawsuits.

“We have a case of a school board not only seeing itself as being an ‘equal’ co-parent, but in fact, as having a superior right over the parent to influence which religious beliefs their children will eventually embrace as their own, even if it means contradicting what the parents tell them at home,” said Lou Iacobelli, chairman of The Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund.

“If parents do not beat back this government incursion against parent rights, it will usher in an era of persecution, against people of faith, like never seen before in Canada. The Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund has been created to help parents fight back, in the courts.”

The Parental Rights in Education Defense Fund is seeking donations to help fund the Tourloukis case. Visit their website for more information.

“The pathologies of Christian indifference and apathy are perhaps bigger threats than the radical secular humanists that surround us,” Dr. Tourloukis told LifeSiteNews.

“If we do not do everything in our power to stop this injustice, we risk becoming accomplices in the spiritual molestation of our children,” he concluded.

Contact information:

The Hamilton Spectator
Dana Robbins, Publisher
44 Frid Street | Hamilton, Ontario | L8N 3G3
Phone: 905-526-3399
Fax: 905-526-0147
Email: drobbins@thespec.com

Winnipeg Free Press
Bob Cox, Publisher
1355 Mountain Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R2X 3B6
Phone: (204) 697–7362
Fax: (204) 697-7412
Email: Bob.Cox@freepress.mb.ca

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
John Malloy, Director of Education
120 King Street West, Suite 1120
P.O. Box 2558, Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3L1
Phone: 905.527.5092
Fax: 905.521.2544
Email: (via Executive Assistant Pat Stones) pat.stones@hwdsb.on.ca

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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.

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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

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
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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