Hilary White

German pro-life groups complain to UN Human Rights Council about attacks, harassment

Hilary White
Hilary White
Image

BRUSSELS, October 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Physical attacks and property damage, negative stereotyping by the media and infringement of freedom of assembly and expression are just part of a normal day’s work for pro-life activists in Europe, according to German pro-life groups.

The two pro-life organizations, “Kostbare Kinder” (Precious Children) and the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians, are submitting briefs to the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council, saying that people publicly opposed to abortion are subject to regular harassment.

“Four times the windows of our life-center have been destroyed since October 2008. And very often the walls have been scrawled with left radical and/or blasphemous slogans,” Kostbare Kinder said.

In their brief, the group says that the Agency for Public Order in Freiburg has “restricted access” for one mile around the entrance area of a pro-abortion pregnancy counseling and abortion service. Kostbare Kinder’s pro-life advocates had been doing sidewalk counseling outside the facility. The city of Freiburg reacted with a media-campaign initiated by the abortion service, called Pro Familia, in two local newspapers and a TV station which gave no chance to the pro-life group to tell their story.

“In our thirteen years of side-walk counseling, we haven’t done anything wrong or illegal,” the group says in their brief to the UN.  “In Germany abortion continues to be an illegal action though not punished under certain circumstances.”

“Not to be able to manifest one’s convictions by peaceful demonstration or speaking kindly and respectfully to strangers, is a violation of freedom of expression, which indirectly discriminates especially against Christians, as the issue is of particular concern to Christians.”

CLICK ‘LIKE’ IF YOU ARE PRO-LIFE!

Dr. Gudrun Kugler of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians, says that in Freiburg and Munich, Christian-inspired non-governmental organisations protesting in front of abortion clinics and offering “alternatives and conversation” have had their activities “severely limited” by the authorities.

“Local courts have given in to the pressure of the targeted locations, which could have been mainly financial ones. Courts have restricted the form of manifestation as well as established a geographical ban. Appeals are ongoing,” she said.

The Agencies for Public Order have called sidewalk counseling a “threat to women’s privacy and rights.” In the city of Freiburg pro-life activists have faced fines and in Munich they have been ordered to pay 1500 € for showing a picture of a 12 weeks old embryo with the message “six months before birth” on a public sidewalk in front of an abortion-clinic.

Until now, the group says, there has never been a complaint by any women to the police or to an agency of the public order. “The police of Munich confirm that our conduct always has been and still is impeccable.”

The group particularly objected to a television news video made by the state-sponsored ARD television channel. Kostbare Kinder says that the makers of the clip refused to accept evidence that women who had changed their minds about abortion were happy with their decision, though the pro-life group offered the TV station contact information for women willing to speak about their experiences. “We offered this, but the TV team did not show any interest.”

The group told the TV studio about several cases in which the women received “solidarity and real help from us”… “we handed over written testimonies of thankful and happy mothers including baby-photos to the reporter Tim Fugmann,” but they say that none of this information was included in the film.

In the clip, the moderator introduced the group as people who “harass and threaten” women and doctors, “but in the film itself neither the abortion doctor nor his patients said anything about this,” Kostbare Kinder will tell the UN.

“By this and other examples it became very clear for us that the makers of the report created wrong ‘facts’ on purpose and transferred these to their viewers.

“There was no balanced coverage at all (which our constitution and the German Broadcasting Law directs especially for media under public law), but a virulent campaign.”

Pro-life and pro-family marches and public events in Germany and throughout Europe are often held with the protection of police in riot gear, with violent attacks becoming the norm. A video made by Kostbare Kinder shows a relatively peaceful confrontation in Münster between pro-life marchers, including some with small children in strollers, and radical counter-demonstrators. The Christian pro-lifers are guarded by dozens of police and have to run a gauntlet of screaming and abusive counter-demonstrators, some dressed in nun costumes and others carrying the rainbow flag. The counter-demonstrators shout and blow whistles and horns in an attempt to drown out the Christian hymns.

The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians is also planning a brief to the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights. They will say that in Germany, “anti-religion groups have created a climate hostile to frank discourse.”

According to the Observatory, defamation campaigns in the media and negative stereotyping have become common and have recently given rise to “hate incidents” such as the blocking of speaking venues at universities for professors or speakers, as well as “manifestations against peaceful events.” The Observatory records incidents across Europe and produces an annual report compiled of anti-Christian activities. These include increases in vandalism and physical attacks as well as government suppression of the political rights of Christians.

Truth. Delivered daily.

Get FREE pro-life, pro-family news delivered straight to your inbox. 

Select Your Edition:


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
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."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"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.

Advertisement
Featured Image
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

,

He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
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!

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

,

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.

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook