Michael Hichborn, American Life League

None dare call it apostasy

Michael Hichborn, American Life League
By Michael Hichborn
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On the cross at Calvary, there were two men crucified next to Our Blessed Lord. To His right was St. Dismas, a good thief, who repented of his sins and begged forgiveness. To His left was Gestas, a rebel who mocked Our Lord, challenging Him to reject His cross and save the three of them from their physical sufferings and death. The example of these two men calls to mind the divisions Jesus spoke of when He said that He would separate the wheat from the chaff and the lambs from the goats. On one side is salvation; on the other is death and everlasting fire. Today, this division is becoming abundantly clear.

As the director of American Life League’s Defend the Faith project, I have seen the festering cancer of Modernism, immorality, and disobedience laying waste to communities within the Catholic Church. “Dissenters” put forth ideas suggesting that it is acceptable, and indeed “Catholic,” to disagree with fundamental Church teachings on moral and theological issues such as abortion, birth control, homosexuality, and women’s ordination.

Garbage-liners like the National Catholic Reporter, America Magazine, Commonweal, and US Catholic have all published articles attempting to question the Church’s teachings on all these things without openly rebelling against the Church. Funding agencies like the Catholic Campaign for Human Development have seen fit to grant money to organizations that speak at events promoting homosexuality (like the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights), or produce voter guides endorsing same-sex marriage (like Coalition LA).

Catholic parishes, like Most Holy Redeemer in San Francisco, host a wide variety of openly homosexual events. Pro-abortion politicians who claim to be Catholic, such as John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Kathleen Sebelius, or Joe Biden, openly profess their support for abortion, homosexuality, and birth control while maintaining a feigned allegiance to their Catholic faith.

The sad truth is this: While these “dissenters” have, in reality, abandoned their faith, very few seem willing to publicly rebuke, chastise, or correct these institutions and individuals. But last week, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) gave us a firm sign of strength and fortitude.

The Leadership Conference on Women Religious, which represents over 80 percent of the 57,000 nuns in the United States, underwent an investigation that started in 2008. Last week, the CDF published the results of this investigation, along with the 5-year reform that will be imposed on the conference. Immediately after the document’s publication, National Catholic Reporter published a screed, concluding with this call for open rebellion against the Catholic Church: “I have just one thought: Resisting injustice is the ultimate act of virtue in our time.”

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Earlier this week, NCR broadened this call for rebellion in an article titled, “LCWR: A radical obedience to the voice of God in our time.”  At the end of the article, the author clearly draws a line in the sand—and steps on the side that is NOT with the Vatican: “If the sisters are ejected from the church, we must create church around them. If they are evicted from their properties, those with the means must take them in.”

Not to be left out, US Catholic, in an article titled, “It Ain’t Easy Being a Woman Today: LCWR to be ‘Renewed’ by USCCB and CDF,” also calls for open rebellion against the Vatican: “Finally, they can just accept the findings and the remedies and comply. I, for one, hope they do not. And I look forward to hearing from some of the women religious I have been inspired by, the women who, when studying theology, gave me hope for a better and brighter church.”

It isn’t surprising that dissenting publications such as these are so upset about the CDF’s document. The reason is simple. This document indirectly applies to them as well. For instance, this statement is equally applicable to the above-mentioned individuals, publications, and organizations:

While there has been a great deal of work on the part of LCWR promoting issues of social justice in harmony with the Church’s social doctrine, it is silent on the right to life from conception [i.e., an individual’s biological beginning] to natural death, a question that is part of the lively public debate about abortion and euthanasia in the United States. Further, issues of crucial importance in the life of the Church and society, such as the Church’s Biblical view of family life and human sexuality, are not part of the LCWR agenda in a way that promotes Church teaching. Moreover, occasional public statements by the LCWR that disagree with or challenge positions taken by the bishops, who are the Church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals, are not compatible with its purpose.

In his 1995 address to the United Nations, Pope John Paul II said, “The tears of this century have prepared the ground for a new springtime of the human spirit.” Over 40 years of dissent and confusion within our Catholic Church over abortion, birth control, and homosexuality have played a significant role in the creation of those tears, and now, praise God, the new springtime seems to be upon us. As openly dissenting Catholics loudly proclaim their rebellion—or dare I say, apostasy—Our Blessed Lord stands in the middle. On His right are St. Dismas, the good thief; the lambs; and the wheat, while to His left are Gestas, the bad thief; the goats; and the chaff. While both sides suffer equally, only one side has life everlasting.

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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, 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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South African mom files ‘wrongful life’ lawsuit on behalf of Downs son

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

A South African woman has launched a "wrongful life" lawsuit against the Cape Town-based Foetal Assessment Centre, claiming a failure to inform her that the child she was carrying was at risk of having Down Syndrome prevented her from aborting her baby.

A twist in this lawsuit is that, unlike other "wrongful birth" lawsuits, the mother in this case missed the time limit to file the claim on her own behalf, so she is asking the South African Constitutional Court to allow her to sue the center for “wrongful life” on behalf of her now-born son.

“You have a duty to tell my mother carrying me that I'm malformed so that she can make an informed decision as to whether or not to carry me to term,” the statement of claim against the Foetal Assessment Centre reads, according to SABC News.

“It is not as if the foetus is sort of putting up its hand and saying why you didn’t destroy me," the mother's lawyer, Paul Hoffman, explained to Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. "The foetus is complaining that its malformation, its development is the result of the bad advice that was given.”

The SABC report did not say what compensation the woman is seeking.

The scope of the case is similar to that of a New Zealand couple who won a lawsuit claiming monetary compensation after a routine 20 week ultrasound scan failed to discover that their daughter had spina bifida.

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The mother, whose name has not been released, claimed that the continuance of the pregnancy was a “personal injury,” and, had she been given the correct diagnosis after that scan, she would have aborted her daughter.

"We consider that the continued pregnancy of the appellant following a misdiagnosis in the 20 week scan is capable of being an injury suffered by the appellant,” the court ruled, and directed the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) to make the woman eligible for compensation for the ongoing surgical and physiotherapy expenses incurred by their child.

New Zealand disability advocate Mike Sullivan said the underpinning attitude behind the decision is that those with disability, both born and unborn, are seen as a burden on society.

“This is what happens,” Sullivan said, when “the children become reduced to nothing – wrong even to exist.”

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