Ben Johnson

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Jimmy Carter’s pro-life rhetoric ‘a political decision,’ Baptist leaders say

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

This story was updated at 10 a.m. Eastern time n April 12, 2012 to include additional quotations and embed the audio file of President Carter speaking with Dr. Albert Mohler.

PLAINS, GEORGIA, April 11, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com)  – Leader of former President Jimmy Carter’s longtime denomination say his calls for the Democratic Party to adopt a less radical pro-choice platform is a political calculation to help the party in the South.

“I never have believed that Jesus Christ would approve of abortions,” Carter told talk show host Laura Ingraham, while promoting his new study Bible. “I’ve signed a public letter calling for the Democratic Party at the next convention to espouse my position on abortion which is to minimize the need…and limit it only to women whose life are in danger or who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest.”

“I think if the Democratic Party would adopt that policy that would be acceptable to a lot of people who are now estranged from our party because of the abortion issue,” he said.

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The political context, and the shift in Carter’s views since leaving the presidency, have made Southern Baptist leaders question his sincerity.

“What he’s doing is making a political calculation,” Dr. Richard Land told LifeSiteNews.com. “It isn’t a moral decision about abortion. This is a political decision.”

Dr. Land, who has served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission since 1988, said the issue “is killing the Democrats in the South” and that “Jimmy understands this. He understands the reason they lost the South is not the civil rights movement; it’s the abortion movement.”

“I think there’s a political calculus at play here,” agreed J. Matt Barber, vice president of Liberty Counsel Action. “Jimmy Carter, though he wasn’t much of a president, is astute enough to recognize this is a battle they’re going to lose. Those who defended abortion homicide will be viewed similarly in history as those who opposed the abolition movement and supported slavery.”

“The millenials are swinging in droves,” he said. “As science indicates when life begins, the young people are simply abandoning the euphemistic talking points [the] pro-choice…Left has been using to push its radical agenda.”

The former president’s unease may be heightened by the strong showing pro-life activist Randall Terry made in the Democratic presidential primaries, beating President Obama in 14 counties in Oklahoma. Ingraham noted Carter was the last Democrat to carry every state in the South.

(Story continues following video. Carter’s comments begin at approximately 13:17.)

President Carter made nearly identical comments in 2005, while promoting his number one New York Times bestseller,   Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis. shortly after “values voters” defeated John Kerry. Carter told The Washington Times, “I’ve never been convinced, if you let me inject my Christianity into it, that Jesus Christ would approve abortion.” He hoped his party would “let the deeply religious people and the moderates on social issues like abortion feel that the Democratic Party cares about them and understands them.” The book’s seven pages on abortion, however, do not criticize Democrats but say pro-life voters “do not extend their concern to the baby who is born.”
 
As president, Carter appointed Sarah Weddington, the lead attorney in Roe v. Wade, as his chief adviser on women’s affairs from 1978-81. While he personally opposed abortion and vetoed government funding of abortion, he said he would not enact his views into law.

Dr. Land called that “the worst position you can have morally.”

“It’s one thing not to understand abortion is the taking of a human life and thus be for its legalization,” he said. “It’s altogether worse to understand that it is the taking of a human life but not have the gumption to stand up and say the country shouldn’t allow it.”

At the same time the 39th president has highlighted his more moderate stance on abortion, Carter has endorsed same-sex “marriage.” He told The Huffington Post, “I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies” but he added he drew the line, “maybe arbitrarily, in requiring by law that churches must marry people.”

Dr. Richard Land said, “I’m not surprised that he holds that view. He is hopelessly confused as a theologian.” Carter has said his favorite theologians were liberals Rienhold Niebuhr and Paul Tillich.

Barber told LifeSiteNews.com, “Jimmy Carter has made a cottage industry of twisting scripture to say the exact opposite of what it says.”

“Homosexual conduct, is listed over and over again in black-and-white as sin,” said Barber.

“There’s a word for what Jimmy Carter is doing. That’s apostasy,” Barber told LifeSiteNews.com. “That’s a strong word to use, but Jimmy Carter is an apostate in that he is leading the least of these to sin against what Scripture clearly condemns in terms of homosexual conduct.”

“He is not just fooling himself with this,” Barber told LifeSiteNews. “Unfortunately he’s using the goodwill he has developed over the years and his history as the leader of the free world to push heretical notions.”

These views, they said, stem from Carter’s belief the Bible is not inerrant, they said.

Last month, Carter joined Dr. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, for a lengthy and cordial discussion of theology. Dr. Mohler described Carter’s view of Scriptural inerrancy as “a separation of history and theology that I believe is destructive of the Gospel.” 

Dr. Land told LifeSiteNews.com, “Jimmy has fallen prey to the common malady of mainline Protestantism: dalmation theology. The Bible is inspired in spots, and they individually are inspired to spot the spots. They just happen to be the spots they agree with.” 

Matt Barber agreed, “The liberal theologian is in the untenable position of having to take the Bible and say it is a really malleable text so they can take it and twist it and turn it contort is in such a way so they say it fits with their worldview.”

“They stand in judgment of Scripture instead of standing under the judgment of Scripture,” Dr. Land said.

This was Carter’s motive to create a new, more liberal Baptist church with former president Bill Clinton in 2008.

“They are people who were raised Southern Baptist in the case of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton but don’t really believe what Southern Baptists believe anymore but who want to nostalgically yearn for being called Southern Baptists,” Dr. Land said.

“I am in no position to judge Jimmy Carter’s soul or his relationship, to the extent that he may or may not have one, with Christ,” Barber said. “However, I can look at what Jimmy Carter has done in defense of the gross bastardization of a God-inspired institution, marriage, and the 55 million children who have been slaughtered since Roe v. Wade, and I can say without a doubt those [positions] are an affront to the clear, unequivocal words of Scripture.”


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Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


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Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

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In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


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Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

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Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


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