Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

Homosexual’s ‘defamatory’ lawsuit seeks to silence pro-family groups: Liberty University attorney

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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August 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A lawsuit filed by a homosexual against Liberty University School of Law and various other organizations and individuals for “conspiracy” and “racketeering” is based on lies and is defamatory, according to law school dean Mathew Staver, who says that he will “pursue every recourse” against the plaintiffs for having filed it.

Staver also says that the suit is an attempt to undermine the freedom of speech of pro-family groups in their opposition to homosexual behavior and homosexual parenting.

“This is outrageously frivolous,” Staver told LifeSiteNews.com. “It’s a press release filed in federal court. It is sanctionable, and we will pursue every recourse possible because this suit is defamatory. It’s filled with lies, it’s frivolous, and the attorney who filed it ought to be sanctioned…”

The suit, filed on behalf of Vermont lesbian Janet Jenkins, claims that Liberty University School of Law, Thomas Road Baptist Church, Christian Aid Ministries, and other organizations and individuals are involved in various schemes of “conspiracy” and “racketeering” for allegedly offering support for ex-lesbian Lisa Miller’s and her daughter’s escape from the United States in 2009.

Miller fled the United States after a Vermont court insisted that Jenkins, who was Miller’s ex-partner in a Vermont civil union, be given visits with Miller’s daughter, Isabella. Although Jenkins is unrelated biologically to Isabella, and never adopted her, the court awarded “parent” status to Jenkins, and continued to order visits despite evidence submitted of trauma suffered by Isabella.

After Miller’s disappearance, Vermont judge Richard Cohen ordered that the custody of Isabella be transferred permanently to Jenkins, an order that is unenforceable while Miller remains in hiding outside of the United States.

“Racketeering” churches and law schools?

The suit seeks to invoke the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against Liberty University’s law school because a single individual who worked there part-time allegedly sent an email to co-workers soliciting donations to be sent to Miller in Nicaragua, an event that Staver says never happened.

The suit also cites the fact that the Thomas Road Baptist Church signed the Manhattan Declaration, which endorses civil disobedience in defense of Christian values, and asserts that Liberty University teaches the same thing in its law school. It also cites an interview given by Liberty law school professor Rena Lindavaldsen with LifeSiteNews.com, in which she states that people could write to their representatives about the case, implying that participation in politics is tantamount to a criminal “conspiracy.”

The suit’s abuse of the RICO statute, according to Staver, is an attempt to silence pro-family groups, in a manner similar to that of pro-abortion groups in lawsuits against the pro-life movement in the 1990s.

“It’s exactly the same thing that happened in the 90s with pro-lifers,” Staver said. “Pro-lifers were targeted by RICO suits, people were brought into RICO complaints and intimidated into silence, because they agreed to pray to end abortion in America. They agreed to pray for a picket or a prayer rally outside of an abortion clinic, even though they hadn’t even been to the abortion clinic. People in Texas who had never been to Florida were all of a sudden named on a RICO complaint.”

Ex-lesbian and pro-family activist Linda Wall, who was a close friend of Lisa Miller in the years before her disappearance, says that various claims made regarding her in the complaint are also false.

“I have never been an agent of Thomas Road Baptist Church, and not even a member of Thomas Road Baptist Church,” said Wall. “So that’s a big error there, connecting me with that church.”

The suit also claims that Wall called law enforcement and told them not to investigate the case, and that she posted messages on Facebook encouraging people not to reveal what they know about Miller, which Wall also denies.

Wall said that she had never counseled Lisa Miller to leave the country, principally because she didn’t want Miller to blame her later if it didn’t work out. She also says she was never told by Miller that she had decided to leave, an event that surprised Wall, although she subsequently stated her personal agreement with Miller’s actions in later interviews.

A pattern of legal harassment?

The Jenkins lawsuit comes on the heels of a number of recent cases in which homosexuals have been accused of using the legal system and even law enforcement to harass pro-family activists.

The president of the Massachusetts pro-family group Mass Resistance was recently slapped with a restraining order in the state of Maine after homosexual activist and convicted sex abuser Adam Flanders complained that Camenker was “harassing” and “stalking” him, even though Camenker has never had any personal contact with Flanders and resides in another state.

The chief motive in Flanders’ complaint was that Camenker had published a public letter written by Flanders years earlier detailing the sexual exploitation of minors in a local homosexual “youth group” run by adults, and Flanders now wished it to be removed from the Mass Resistance site, a request that Camenker refused. The Maine court granted Flanders’ request for the restraining order after refusing to allow Camenker to testify by phone, something that Camenker says he was told he could do.

Following the restraining order, Flanders went on to file a multimillion dollar lawsuit against Camenker and Mass Resistance, claiming that his status as a protected minority in the state of Maine has been violated by Camenker because Mass Resistance had not removed his letter from the site. Flanders also temporarily secured the removal of all of conservative news outlet Road Kill Radio’s content from Vimeo’s video service after threatening Vimeo with a lawsuit because of Road Kill’s discussion of his case with Camenker. He has sought to silence other news sources as well, including World Net Daily, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, and LifeSiteNews.com.

In other recent cases, homosexual activists have been accused of placing fraudulent phone calls to police, claiming that a murder or other violent event has occurred at the house of a pro-family activist, and provoking the intervention of a SWAT team at the activist’s residence. Although the origin of such attacks remains unproven, they have become known as “SWATing” in the pro-family movement.

Related article:

Exclusive Interview with Lisa Miller, Ex-Lesbian Fighting for Custody of Own Child against “Civil Union” Partner

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Lisa Bourne

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Cardinal Dolan: Debate on denying Communion to pro-abortion pols ‘in the past’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

As America heads into its 2014 midterm elections, a leading U.S. prelate says the nation’s bishops believe debate over whether to deny Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians is “in the past.”

The Church’s Code of Canon Law states in Canon 915 that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Leading Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI himself, have said this canon ought to be applied in the case of pro-abortion Catholic politicians. However, prelates in the West have widely ignored it, and some have openly disagreed.

John Allen, Jr. of the new website Crux, launched as a Catholic initiative under the auspices of the Boston Globe, asked New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan about the issue earlier this month.

“In a way, I like to think it’s an issue that served us well in forcing us to do a serious examination of conscience about how we can best teach our people about their political responsibilities,” the cardinal responded, “but by now that inflammatory issue is in the past.”

“I don’t hear too many bishops saying it’s something that we need to debate nationally, or that we have to decide collegially,” he continued. “I think most bishops have said, ‘We trust individual bishops in individual cases.’ Most don’t think it’s something for which we have to go to the mat.”

Cardinal Dolan expressed personal disinterest in upholding Canon 915 publicly in 2010 when he told an Albany TV station he was not in favor of denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians. He said at the time that he preferred “to follow the lead of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who said it was better to try to persuade them than to impose sanctions.”

However, in 2004 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI the following year, wrote the U.S. Bishops a letter stating that a Catholic politician who would vote for "permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion. 

Cardinal Ratzinger sent the document to the U.S. Bishops in 2004 to help inform their debate on the issue. However, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then-chair of the USCCB Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, who received the letter, withheld the full text from the bishops, and used it instead to suggest ambiguity on the issue from the Vatican.

A couple of weeks after Cardinal McCarrick’s June 2004 address to the USCCB, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was leaked to well-known Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published the full document. Cardinal Ratzinger’s office later confirmed the leaked document as authentic.

Since the debate in 2004, numerous U.S. prelates have openly opposed denying Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

In 2008, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley suggested the Church had yet to formally pronounce on the issue, and that until it does, “I don’t think we’re going to be denying Communion to the people.”

In 2009, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. in 2009 said that upholding of Canon 915 would turn the Eucharist into a political “weapon,” refusing to employ the law in the case of abortion supporter Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, said in a 2009 newspaper interview that pro-abortion politicians should be granted communion because Jesus Christ gave Holy Communion to Judas Iscariot.

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However, one of the Church’s leading proponents of the practice, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, insists that denying Communion is not a punishment.

“The Church’s discipline from the time of Saint Paul has admonished those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin not to present themselves for Holy Communion,” he said at LifeSiteNews’ first annual Rome Life Forum in Vatican City in early May. "The discipline is not a punishment but the recognition of the objective condition of the soul of the person involved in such sin."  

Only days earlier, Cardinal Francis Arinze, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told LifeSiteNews that he has no patience for politicians who say that they are “personally” opposed to abortion, but are unwilling to “impose” their views on others.

On the question of Communion, he said, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”

Cardinal Christian Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, told LifeSiteNews around the same time that ministers of Holy Communion are “bound not to” give the Eucharist to Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Pro-life organizations across the world have said they share the pastoral concern for pro-abortion politicians. Fifty-two pro-life leaders from 16 nations at the recent Rome Life Forum called on the bishops of the Catholic Church to honor Canon 915 and withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians as an act of love and mercy.

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Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

‘His bones are basically like paper’: Parents refuse to abort baby with rare condition

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By Kirsten Anderson

At just 11 weeks old, little Layton Diven is not like other babies. Every time his parents pick him up or cuddle him, there is a chance they will break his bones. In fact, Layton has already suffered more than 20 fractures in his short life – beginning at the moment of his birth.

Layton has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), a rare disease that makes his bones brittle and prone to breakage. There are several types of OI, and Layton’s type, OI Type III, is the most severe type found among infants. Most babies born with the disease, like Layton, are born with multiple fractures, especially along the rib cage. Many struggle to breathe or swallow. The incurable disease is progressive, so it will get worse as he gets older.

Layton was diagnosed with OI in the womb, but abortion wasn’t an option for his parents, Chad and Angela Diven, who considered their baby a gift from God, no matter his condition.

“We weren't going to have an abortion, so he was born with the disease,” Angela Diven told KSLA. “God chose me for him, to be his mom, so I have to take that huge responsibility and do what's best for him.”

That responsibility comes with a heavy price. Layton requires 24-hour care, but both Angela and Chad have full-time jobs. He can’t go to regular daycare, because it’s not safe for him.

“You can't just pick him up like a normal baby,” Diven said. “You can't dress him like a normal child; his bones are basically like paper. He can't go to daycare because of his condition. He's medically fragile, and a daycare can't handle him."

Childcare costs are just the beginning, though – the treatments Layton will need throughout his life are expensive and may not be covered by insurance.

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Layton is currently receiving pamidronate IV therapy, which will help to strengthen his bones. But in order to be able to stand or walk, he will need metal rods implanted in his legs – an operation that will cost the Divens $80,000. The OI specialist coordinating Layton’s care is in Omaha, Nebraska, while the Divens live in Louisiana. As he grows, Layton will also require special equipment, such as a wheelchair, along with extensive physical therapy.

Despite the hardships they knew would come, the Divens stepped out in faith to bring Layton into the world. Now, they are reaching out to the internet for help to shoulder the financial burdens that came with their baby blessing. The family has set up both a GoFundMe and a Facebook page called “Lifting Up Layton Diven,” where people can receive updates on Layton’s condition and contribute to the cost of his care.

To donate to baby Layton’s medical trust fund, click here.

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Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Vatican's Apostolic Signatura Steve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

Sources confirm Cardinal Burke will be removed. But will he attend the Synod?

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By John-Henry Westen

Sources in Rome have confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, is to be removed from his post as head of the Vatican dicastery and given a non-curial assignment as patron of the Order of Malta.

The timing of the move is key since Cardinal Burke is currently on the list to attend October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family. He is attending in his capacity as head of one of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, so if he is removed prior to the Synod it could mean he would not be able to attend.

Burke has been one of the key defenders in the lead-up to the Synod of the Church's traditional practice of withholding Communion from Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried.

Most of the Catholic world first learned of the shocking development through Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, whose post ‘Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke’ went out late last night.

If Burke’s removal from the Signatura is confirmed, said Magister, the cardinal “would not be promoted - as some are fantasizing in the blogosphere - to the difficult but prestigious see of Chicago, but rather demoted to the pompous - but ecclesiastically very modest - title of ‘cardinal patron’ of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, replacing the current head, Paolo Sardi, who recently turned 80.”

At 66, Cardinal Burke is still in his Episcopal prime.

The prominent traditional Catholic blog Rorate Caeli goes as far as to say, “It would be the greatest humiliation of a Curial Cardinal in living memory, truly unprecedented in modern times: considering the reasonably young age of the Cardinal, such a move would be, in terms of the modern Church, nothing short than a complete degradation and a clear punishment.”

On Tuesday, American traditionalist priest-blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf also hinted he had heard the move was underway. “I’ve been biting the inside of my mouth for a while now,” he wrote. “The optimist in me was saying that the official announcement would not be made until after the Synod of Bishops, or at least the beginning of the Synod. Or at all.”

“It’s not good news,” he added.

Both Magister and Zuhlsdorf predicted that the controversial move would unleash a wave of simultaneous jubilation from dissident Catholics and criticism from faithful Catholics. The decision to remove Cardinal Burke from his position on the Congregation for Bishops last December caused a public outpouring of concern and dismay from Catholic and pro-life leaders across the globe.

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Both men speculated on the reasons for the ouster. 

Magister pointed out that Burke is the latest in a line of ‘Ratzingerian’ prelates to undergo the axe.

“In his first months as bishop of Rome, pope Bergoglio immediately provided for the transfer to lower-ranking positions of three prominent curial figures: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, considered for their theological and liturgical sensibilities among the most ‘Ratzingerian’ of the Roman curia,” said Magister.

He added: “Another whose fate appears to be sealed is the Spanish archbishop of Opus Dei Celso Morga Iruzubieta.”

Fr. Zuhlsdorf observed that Pope Francis may also be shrinking the Curial offices and thus reducing the number of Cardinals needed to fill those posts. He adds however, “It would be naïve in the extreme to think that there are lacking near Francis’s elbows those who have been sharpening their knives for Card. Burke and for anyone else associated closely with Pope Benedict.” 

“This is millennial, clerical blood sport.”

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