Patrick Craine

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Ontario Catholic school survey says being ‘against homosexuality’ is ‘extremely homophobic’

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

LONDON, Ontario, May 1, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Catholic high school in London is under fire after distributing a survey to students that says being “against homosexuality” is “extremely homophobic.”

LifeSiteNews.com obtained a copy of the “attitudes” survey, which was handed out last week at Regina Mundi Catholic College, from a parent who was outraged that such a survey would be given to her child at a Catholic school and without her permission.

“Not only were my parental rights, religious beliefs and moral values infringed upon, this ‘Attitude Survey’ was inappropriate for the students,” said the mother, who wished to remain anonymous. “It was not ethical to provide a survey to all staff and students without first thoroughly checking for suitability through all channels.”

A copy of the survey can be downloaded here.

A representative of the London District Catholic School Board says the survey was spearheaded by a student-led group that formed in response to Bill 13, the Ontario Liberals’ controversial “anti-bullying” legislation.

The mother says she was given the survey by her child, who is in grade 12 at the school but who believes it was distributed to classes throughout the school after hearing grade 10 students discussing it in the hallway.

The survey presents students with a series of leading statements on homosexuality that appear designed to prompt students to question Catholic sexual teaching. Students are asked to check off whether they “agree” or “disagree” with the statements. 

Examples of the statements include: I think homosexuality is abnormal (i.e. against the laws of nature); I think homosexual people should have the same civil rights as heterosexual people (i.e. spousal benefits); I think homosexual couples can be good parents; People who are extremely homophobic (against homosexuality) are insecure of their own sexual orientation; Love between people is what matters, not whether you are gay or 'straight'; I believe that homosexual people deserve the same respect and love that all humans do."

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The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” and the inclination to homosexuality is “objectively disordered,” even though it is not sinful until acted upon. The Catechism also urges that people who are same-sex attracted be “accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” and condemns unjust discrimination against them.

News of the survey comes amidst heightened concern among faithful Catholics that Ontario’s Catholic school system is opening its doors to homosexual activism. After last year’s passage of Bill 13, the Liberals’ controversial “anti-bullying” bill, Catholic school boards across the province have launched gay-straight alliance clubs under the guise of a “safe school” agenda.

Tamara Nugent, a superintendent acting as spokeswoman for the school board, said the survey was vetted by the principal, but not the school board, and came as a result of Bill 13 and the bill’s provision mandating that schools allow student-led homosexual clubs.

“This survey was actually an extension of that by a student-led group,” she said. “It was in response to some of the issues that were surfacing in the schools relative to how students were engaging one another, and the type of language they were using, just the very fact that they were not respectful interactions.”

She said the schools conduct frequent climate surveys, and this one was part of that initiative. “Really we’re looking at the sociology of what is actually happening, and then the next step will then be to deal with the morality, which is what ought to be happening,” she explained. “We are at all times guided by our faith. I mean this is really about the fundamental Catholic social teaching, which is rooted in the respect and dignity for all people. So it’s in order to create safe, welcoming, inclusive school environments.”

“That’s really what this is in response to, and connected to a larger initiative in our board which is about the theme of belonging,” she added.

The survey was intended to help the student-led group, working with teachers, to “better understand what are the attitudes and beliefs in our school communities so that they could more carefully structure their awareness activities and response in our school community,” said Nugent.

When LifeSiteNews questioned Nugent on the labeling of Catholic teaching as “extremely homophobic,” she said it was only “an initial survey.”

Staff advisors have a high level of responsibility to ensure that our young people are educated in the Catechism and understand the Catechism,” she said. “I can appreciate what you’re saying about the wording of the survey. Is it ideal? Perhaps not.”

“We would never be doing something contrary to our Catholic teaching. Our work with our students at all times is rooted in the Gospel and Church teaching,” she said.

However, she admitted in response to a question about the seemingly leading nature of the questions on the survey that, “ideally … the survey may have been worded differently,” but again affirmed its intent to gather information on student opinion.

Nugent indicated there was no plan to inform students about the problems with the survey, but said students are taught in the school curriculum about Catholic doctrine on the immorality of homosexuality. She also suggested there would be clarity about the Church’s moral teaching within the student-led group, but was not specific about how that would occur.

The mother said the survey had nothing to do with bullying or the safety of schools. Instead, she said, it “contained homosexualist propaganda wording intended to influence the student's personally-held beliefs and attitudes while labelling any religious beliefs or moral opposition to homosexuality as homophobic.”

“After reading and answering the questions, one would be easily led to believe there was only one right answer for each question,” she said.

She also offered a warning to other Catholic parents. “This ‘Attitude Survey’ could be distributed at your child's Catholic school without your knowledge or permission, despite the age and grade level of your children,” she said.

LifeSiteNews.com contacted the Diocese of London but did not hear back by press time.


Contact:

Most Rev. Ronald Peter Fabbro, C.S.B., Bishop of London 
Tel: (519) 433-0658 #224
Fax: (519) 266-4353
E-mail: bishop@dol.ca

Find contact information for London Catholic District School Board trustees here.

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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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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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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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