Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Christians ‘more militant’ and homophobic than Muslims: UK Equalities Chief

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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LONDON, June 20, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Despite Britain being an officially Christian country with a majority Christian population and a Christian heritage reaching back to the 7th century AD, the UK’s equalities chief has said that Christians need to “integrate” better into Britain’s “modern liberal democracy.” Compared to Muslims, he said, Christians are “more militant” and have a harder time blending in.

“There are a lot of Christian activist voices who appear bent on stressing the kind of persecution that I don’t think really exists in this country,” said Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The current movement towards doctrinal and moral orthodoxy in the Anglican and Catholic churches is a revival of “an old time religion incompatible with modern society” that is clashing with “mainstream” views, especially on homosexuality, he continued.

Phillips told the Sunday Telegraph in an interview this weekend that while most actual cases of religious discrimination are against Muslims, Christians often complain of discrimination for cynical political reasons. The interview comes as the Equalities Commission is expected to issue a report on religious discrimination.

“The most likely victim of actual religious discrimination in British society is a Muslim but the person who is most likely to feel slighted because of their religion is an evangelical Christian.

“I think for a lot of Christian activists, they want to have a fight and they choose sexual orientation as the ground to fight it on. I think the argument isn’t about the rights of Christians. It’s about politics.”

At the same time, Phillips said that “people of faith” are “a bit under siege” from atheists whom he accused of attempting to “drive religion underground” and conceded that there is “more anti-religion noise” in Britain recently.

He admitted that the EHRC had not stood up in the past for people complaining of religious discrimination, and said that “faith groups” should be free from government interference in their own affairs.

Churches, he said, should be allowed to block women and homosexuals from being priests and bishops. In the same interview, however, he said churches and religious institutions had to comply with equality legislation when they delivered services to the public as a whole.

He blamed the Christian churches that adhere to traditional moral laws for influencing recent African and Caribbean immigrants to be more “intolerant” of homosexuality.

Unlike intolerant evangelical Christians, Britain’s Muslims, he said, are “doing their damnedest to come to terms with their neighbours to try to integrate and they’re doing their best to try to develop an idea of Islam that is compatible with living in a modern liberal democracy.”

The ECHR was established by the Tony Blair Labour government in 2006 to administrate the Equality Act. The Act, including the notorious Sexual Orientation Regulations, has already resulted in the closure or secularization of all of the country’s Catholic adoption agencies. Recently the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord George Carey directly accused equalities legislation for “marginalizing” Christians.

“It is clear that we must stand up against the marginalizing of faith. We must constantly remind society of its Christian roots and heritage. As I wrote recently, if we behave like doormats, don’t be surprised if we are treated as though we are,” said Lord Carey, speaking last year at an event organized by the Christian Broadcasting Council.

A 2009 poll found that thousands of Christians in Britain fear losing job promotions and are suffering harassment at work because of their beliefs. One in five said they had faced “opposition” at work and over half said they had suffered from some kind of “persecution” at work.

Meanwhile British media reports that violent crimes by Muslims, particularly against homosexuals, are increasing, while police do nothing. A case in point is the London borough of Tower Hamlets where, as Andrew Gilligan reports in the Telegraph on June 12, local police have “covered up” a violent campaign by Islamic militants to “Islamicise” the neighborhood.

Locals say that as hate crimes by Muslims, particularly against homosexuals, have increased, police have refused to investigate or lay charges and have suppressed information to the public for fear of being labeled “Islamophobic” or racist.

Violent crimes against homosexuals in Tower Hamlets have risen by 80 percent since 2007/8, the Telegraph reports, and by 21 percent over the last year. The local Conservative party leader, Peter Golds, said that when complaints of harassment by Muslims are taken to police, they are routinely ignored.

“I have complained, twice, to the police, and have heard nothing. A Labour colleague waited three hours at the police station before being told that nothing would be done. The police are afraid of being accused of Islamophobia.

“Another Labour councilor said that the Met [London police] is now the reverse of what it must have been like in the 1970s, with a complete lack of interest when white people make complaints of harassment and hatred.”

When posters appeared all over Tower Hamlets quoting the Koran and declaring the borough a “gay-free zone,” anti-Christian homosexualist campaigner Peter Tatchell told the Telegraph, “The police said no-one was allowed to talk publicly about this because they didn’t want to upset the Muslim community.”

Homosexuals, he said, are paralyzed by their own fear on the one hand of being labeled “Islamophobic” and being harassed and physically assaulted on the other, he said.

The local homosexualist group, Rainbow Hamlets LGBT Community Forum, issued a statement condemning the anti-gay posters, but added, “We also condemn those who use these incidents to create a moral panic and stoke up racist or Islamophobic sentiment. At present the people responsible cannot be accurately determined, but it is clear that whoever is responsible, they do not represent any of the local communities.”

Andrew Gilligan commented, “It seems rather unlikely that posters quoting the Koran were put up by evangelical Christians, yuppies, brogue-wearing trendies or members of the white working class, the other main parts of the Tower Hamlets community.”

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Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
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Vatican pressing forward with reform of US feminist nuns: Cardinal Müller

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says the Vatican is pressing forward with plans to reform the U.S.-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

In an interview published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the cardinal said that the reform of the LCWR, which was undertaken after an assessment of the group found serious doctrinal problems, will be carried out with the goal of helping them "rediscover their identity.”

“Congregations have no more vocations and risk dying out," Müller said. "We have first of all tried to reduce hostility and tensions, partly thanks to Bishop Sartain whom we sent to negotiate with them; he is a very gentle man. We wish to stress that we are not misogynists, we are not women gobblers! Of course we have a different concept of religious life but we hope to help them rediscover their identity.”

Moreover, the cardinal said that problems specific to the LCWR are not a reflection of all the women religious in the US.

"We need to bear in mind that they do not represent all US nuns, but just a group of nuns who form part of an association,” Müller said.

“We have received many distressed letters from other nuns belonging to the same congregations, who are suffering a great deal because of the direction in which the LCWR is steering their mission.”

Cardinal Müller's remarks confirmed the assertion he and the Holy See’s delegate to the LCWR, Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, made in an address to LCWR officials in Rome on April 30, that the theological drift the feminist nuns are taking constitutes a radical departure from the foundational theological concepts of Catholicism.

The Holy See “believes that the charismatic vitality of religious life can only flourish within the ecclesial faith of the Church,” Müller said in the address.

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“The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life. Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand, and at this phase of the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, we are looking for a clearer expression of that ecclesial vision and more substantive signs of collaboration,” he stated.

The LCWR has openly defied the mandate of reform intended to bring their organization into line with basic Catholic doctrine on the nature of God, the Church, and sexual morality.

Among the CDF’s directives, to which LCWR has strenuously objected, is the requirement that “speakers and presenters at major programs” be approved by Archbishop Sartain. This, Müller has explained, was decided in order to “avoid difficult and embarrassing situations wherein speakers use an LCWR forum to advance positions at odds with the teaching of the Church.”

The LCWR has invited speakers to their Annual Assembly such as New Age guru Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Sr. Laurie Brink, who is particularly noted for flagrantly denying the Divinity of Christ and telling the sisters that to maintain their “prophetic” place in society they need to “go beyond” the Church and even “go beyond Jesus.”

In one of the first public statements of his pontificate, Pope Francis affirmed that the investigation and reform of the LCWR must continue.

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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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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, the 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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