Ben Johnson

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Rick Perry drops out, endorses Newt Gingrich

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA,  January 19, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - After seeing his once-promising campaign going nowhere, Texas governor Rick Perry pulled out of the Republican presidential race http://www.fitsnews.com/2012/01/19/rick-perrys-speech-withdrawing-from-presidential-race/ this morning, endorsing Newt Gingrich. “I have come to the conclusion that there is no viable path to victory for my candidacy in 2012,” he said. “Therefore, today I am suspending my campaign and endorsing Newt Gingrich for president.”

Invoking first Texas governor Sam Houston, he referred to the move as a “strategic retreat” and reminded his followers his ultimate objective “is not only to defeat President Obama, but to replace him with a conservative leader who will bring about real change.”

“Our party, and the conservative philosophy, transcends any one individual” he said. He described the former House Speaker as “a conservative visionary who can transform our country.”

It proved a disappointing ending for the candidate, who shot to frontrunner status upon announcing his bid in South Carolina last August. But a string of gaffes in debates had voters questioning his ability to take on President Barack Obama. After two last-place finishes and another on the way, he pulled out with pride. “A calling never guarantees a particular destination, but a journey that tests one’s faith and character,” he said.

“Rick Perry’s decision to suspend his campaign for president is the right thing to do and his decision shows something rare in politicians today - a patriotic and honorable commitment to rebuilding America that transcends ego and personal ambition,” longtime conservative activist Richard Viguerie wrote in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com and posted on his website, ConservativeHQ.com.

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Viguerie took part in a Texas meeting of 150 evangelical and conservative leaders that voted to endorse Rick Santorum last week.

Viguerie described Santorum as “the more natural fit for the values voters that are Rick Perry’s core supporters.” He predicted, “Rick Perry’s departure from the campaign will help Santorum lock-up the social conservative vote and add fuel to his South Carolina and Florida campaigns.”

The Santorum campaign also viewed Perry’s announcement as an opportunity to fill the void as the anti-Romney candidate. Communications Director Hogan Gidley said, “The narrative that Governor Romney and the media have been touting of ‘inevitability’ has been destroyed. Conservatives can now see and believe they don’t have to settle for Romney, the Establishment’s moderate candidate.”

It should have been a good day for the former Pennsylvania senator. Earlier in the day, GOP officials reported Santorum had won 34 more votes than Mitt Romney in the Iowa Caucus, with eight precincts not reporting. That reverses original reports that Romney won the state by eight votes. James Dobson personally endorsed Santorum later in the day.

Instead, Perry’s withdrawal bolstered Newt Gingrich, whose campaign has been fueled by well-received performances in several debates. “I am humbled and honored to have the support of my friend Rick Perry,” Gingrich said in a statement shortly after the announcement.

The endorsement comes at a pivotal time, just 48 hours before the South Carolina primary, when polls show Gingrich surging in that state. The most recent American Research Group poll shows Gingrich in the lead with 33 percent of the vote. Mitt Romney came in second, one point behind him. Ron Paul garnered 19 percent, and Rick Santorum came in a distant fourth with nine percent. 

“The increasing momentum for Newt Gingrich got a big boost when Gov. Rick Perry put the nation’s interests above his own and endorsed Newt for president,” Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law, wrote in a statement to LifeSiteNews.com. Staver broke with other Christian leaders at the Texas meeting by publicly backing the former speaker. “We are facing the most important election of our lives, and I believe Newt Gingrich is the right man for this critical moment.”

Perry’s endorsement may also serve to blunt fallout from an allegation that Gingrich asked his second wife, Marianne, to have an “open marriage” before the two divorced twelve years ago. Her interview with ABC’s “Nightline” is scheduled to air tonight.

“Newt is not perfect, but who among us is?” Perry asked. “The fact is, there is forgiveness for those who seek God, and I believe in the power of redemption, for it is a central tenet of my own Christian faith.”

Despite his electoral misfortune, the governor’s faith in his country remained undaunted. “Americans are down but we can never be counted out,” he said. “What’s broken in America is not our people. It’s our politics.”

He promised to continue promoting for his agenda of restructuring government, reclaiming states’ rights under the Tenth Amendment, enhancing domestic energy security, and introducing a 20 percent flat tax.

Perry is the longest serving governor in Texas history. His third term expires in 2015.

Perry thanked his wife, Anita, for standing by him during the sometimes painful campaign, kissing her in mid-speech.

“With a good wife, three wonderful children, and a loving God in my life, things will be good no matter what the future holds.”

Related article:
8 votes: but Romney spent $1.47 million compared to Santorum’s $22,000


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LifeSiteNews staff

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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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