Ben Johnson

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Pro-life leaders: Obama’s FBI is gathering intelligence on the pro-life movement

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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Andy Moore, with the bullhorn that inspired a federal investigation.

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 17, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The federal government appears to be making a concerted effort to to gain intelligence on the pro-life movement, according to some of the movement’s most prominent leaders. 

Jill Stanek has revealed that on July 13, FBI agents Conrad Rodriguez and William Sivley paid a visit to her son-in-law, Andy Moore, reportedly pressuring him to expose the inner workings of the right-to-life movement and making veiled threats to separate him from his wife and family through imprisonment or deportation.

The feds questioned Moore after the Southwest Women’s Surgery Center, a Dallas abortion clinic, complained that Moore used a bullhorn on one occasion during a peaceful protest. Upon learning this violated a local noise ordinance, Moore stopped using the bullhorn.

The abortion mill also claimed Moore was “too aggressive” and had trespassed on its property – something Moore denies and which he says the clinic made no attempt to prove. 

Stanek wrote that the agents – who said their department also investigates hate crimes such as those committed by white supremacists – asked “inappropriate questions clearly aimed at intimidating Andy, while also launching into a  fishing expedition about me.”  Agents reportedly asked her son-in-law whether Stanek had inspired his activism, whether she trained him, and if he got his ideas from her.

They also asked, “What affiliations do you have including church groups?”

Stanek said the agents were most interested in getting him to name other pro-lifers who he believes are overly “abrasive or aggressive.”

Moore, who hails from New Zealand and is not a U.S. citizen, could be deported if successfully prosecuted. FBI agents reportedly told him, “You wouldn’t want to be apart from your wife and newborn.”

Stanek questioned why the FBI was involved in the first place, since, “the charges rose to the level of nada to begin with, certainly not above local law enforcement’s pay grade.”

Others in the pro-life movement have received similar visits and probing questions.

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Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, told LifesiteNews.com that during the Clinton-era Violence Against Abortion Providers Conspiracy (VAAPCON) program, federal agents harassed pro-lifers in an attempt to uncover a conspiracy to kill abortionists. “Our mail was rifled through. Our phone lines were tapped. We were followed. I have an FBI file,” Newman told LifeSiteNews. “At the end of the day, they could not find any instance of conspiracy to commit violence against abortion providers. If anything we saw the exact opposite: there’s a conspiracy to commit violence against pro-lifers. That’s never talked about.”

Under Obama, he said the pressure is beginning again.

“I think it’s a lot more subversive with the advent of…warrantless wiretapping of our phones, and our cell phones can be cloned so easily,” he said.

Newman said a source has given him reason to believe the Obama administration is engaging in surveillance of pro-life leaders and organizations.

“It would not be a stretch to believe that every single pro-life leader has his unique ID code for their cell phone tapped into a government computer, and they know where we are and who we’re talking to at every moment,” Newman told LifeSiteNews.

Newman is perplexed why Operation Rescue’s 25 years of non-violent protest landed them as targets of an investigation. “We’re in the process of doing a Freedom of Information Act [request] to get this information directly from them, and we’ll be following that up with possible litigation,” he said.

“The Obama administration is essentially engaging in a witch hunt,” wrote Life Legal Defense Foundation Senior Staff Counsel Allison Aranda. “From the moment the new administration took office, the DOJ has been targeting peaceful pro-life sidewalk counselors.”

In February U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp dismissed a federal lawsuit against Mary Susan Pine for violating the FACE Act, ruling, “The Court is at a loss as to why the Government chose to prosecute this particular case in the first place…The Court can only wonder whether this action was the product of a concerted effort between the Government” and the local abortion clinic.

“It’s not everyday that a federal judge accuses the Justice Department of a full-blown conspiracy,” Pine’s counsel, Harry Mihet, told LifeSiteNews.com. 

A spate of federal studies have painted pro-life, pro-family leaders as potential “domestic terrorism” threats.

The most recent, “Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970 to 2008” written by Gary LaFree and Bianca Bersani, concluded that organizations dedicated to a single issue – such as “anti-abortion groups” – posed the most enduring threat to American safety and well-being

An April 2009 DHS report on “Rightwing [sic.] Extremism” identified “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration” and opposition to same-sex “marriage” as “the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.” The DHS later pulled the report.

Yet DHS and FBI agents subsequently attended a terrorism training seminar on alleged pro-life terrorism, hosted by Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, and the Feminist Majority Foundation. After equating free speech with violence, organizers distributed a resource guide listing three pages of purportedly extremist websites such as Priests for Life, the American Center for Law and Justice, and the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Civil libertarians, constitutionalists, and those who defend the unborn have also expressed concern that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) could be used to permanently detain pro-lifers, if the president deems them a terrorist threat. A federal judge suspended the implementation of NDAA in May.

The organizations the feds targeted in the most recent sweep say they will not be deterred by the pressure.

“We will continue to pursue peaceful, non-violent intervention on behalf of the pre-born,” Newman said. “We will continue to investigate these abortionists who are providing substandard care to their patients and exposing them when they botch their abortions.” 

He said, while he was disappointed by the administration’s behavior, he had expected a pro-abortion backlash.

“This is nothing new when you consider how this particular administration operates,” Newman told LifeSiteNews. “All you have to do is look at the patterns of history. Despots and tyrants oppress their foes.”

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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

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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."

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"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.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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

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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!

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

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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.

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