Dustin Siggins

SPLC urges army to declare American Family Association an ‘extremist’ group

Dustin Siggins
Dustin Siggins
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WASHINGTON, D.C., December 16 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In response to calls by the Southern Poverty Law Center to have the army declare the American Family Association as an “extremist” group, the spokesman for the AFA has shot back, accusing the SPLC of being the true “hate” group.

“The AFA doesn’t hate anyone,” AFA Director of Issue Analaysi and Spokesman Brian Fischer told LifeSiteNews.com in an e-mail. “The real hate in all this debate is coming from the SPLC and is directed toward people of faith. The real hate group here is the SPLC.”

Last week, the SPLC urged Army Secretary John McHugh to list the American Family Association (AFA) as an extremist group. 

According to SPLC's Josh Glasstetter, McHugh should classify the AFA as an extremist group because, he claims, Director of Issue Analysis and spokersperson Bryan Fischer has said homosexuals are responsible for the Holocaust. He also says Fisher has said Muslims should be deported from America, and wants women, Muslims, and homosexuals disallowed from military service.

Earlier this year, McHugh came under fire after a presentation to soldiers identified the AFA as a hate group in the same category as the New Black Panthers and the KKK. He sent out a memo on October 18 halting the Army's inclusion of the AFA as an “extremist” group after “media reports” showed that the classification was spreading throughout the Army's educational courses. 

McHugh said the AFA does not fall under Army Regulation 600-20, which includes classification of extremist groups based upon federally protected classes of people. The AFA, which is considered an “anti-gay” group by the SPLC and others, did not qualify as an extremist group because homosexuals are not a protected group under federal law, he said. 

Glasstetter also cites Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 1325.6, which says service members may not be part of extremist organizations that attempt to deny civil rights. In e-mails to LifeSiteNews.com, Glasstetter maintained that AFA tries to deny homosexuals civil rights, women the right to serve in the military, and Muslims the right to live in America. 

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“The Defense Department regulation on extremist groups includes organizations that 'advance efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights.' We believe the AFA meets this standard. In addition to its vicious anti-gay bigotry, AFA wants to remove women from the military and deport Americans who practice Islam,” said Glasstetter. “SPLC has designated AFA as a hate group because it demonizes and defames gays and lesbians. The group regularly lies about gays, portraying them as pedophiles and predators, and it openly supports discrimination – including criminalizing consensual sex between adults.” 

“This is what separates AFA from other social conservative organizations and makes it an anti-gay hate group. [While] AFA’s speech is absolutely protected by the First Amendment, the military says that '[h]igher and more restrictive standards of conduct distinguish military personnel from their civilian counterparts.'” 

The SPLC considers the AFA a “hate group,” a designation also given to racist and violence-oriented organizations such as the New Black Panther Party and the KKK. This is a very different standard than the one set by the FBI when it comes to hate crimes – the FBI looks at actual crimes committed, whereas the SPLC has its own standards. The FBI has recently drawn criticism for listing the SPLC as a “resource” on its website.

Fischer told LifeSiteNews.com that the SPLC is conflating some of his personal views with those of AFA. “The AFA has taken no official position on women in combat, Muslims in the military, or the repatriation of Muslims. When I speak on my radio program, the ideas I express are my own, as our disclaimer at the end of every program makes clear. The SPLC is simply in error to think that every time I speak, I am reflecting the official position of AFA.”

Fischer also pushed back against the idea that AFA is a “hate group.” “We advocate as an organization for a robust Christian faith among the American people, the public acknowledgement of God, the abiding moral standards of the Ten Commandments, and the central importance of the family rooted in the marriage between one man and one woman. It is ludicrous in the extreme to compare an organization that defends these values with the KKK, the New Black Panther Party, or any other organization that advocates violence. We have never advocated violence. We believe political change comes through ballots, not bullets.”

While he declined to comment on AFA specifically, DoD spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen told LifeSiteNews.com reiterated Department of Defense Instruction 1325.6, which he says “strictly prohibits military personnel from advocating or participating in supremacist, extremist, or criminal gang doctrine, ideology, or causes, including those that advance, encourage, or advocate illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity, or national origin or those that advance, encourage or advocate the use of force, violence or criminal activity.”

“Commanders at all levels take this issue seriously and have the authority to employ the full range of administrative and disciplinary actions against military personnel who engage in these prohibited activities,” said Christensen. “Anything that negatively affects readiness or undermines military values must be dealt with and DoD continues to work closely with criminal investigative agencies to ensure that gang activity in the military is aggressively investigated and appropriately prosecuted.” Christensen noted that each service has its own policies and procedures regarding extremist activity. 

The SPLC has had a growing influence on public policy at the federal level. As LifeSiteNews.com reported in November, it collaborated with the Bush Administration in 2007 and in 2012 a co-founder was invited speak on diversity. The military has also utilized the SPLC for equal opportunity information and data. 

The SPLC has been directly linked to a shooting at the Family Research Council's Washington, D.C. headquarters. The shooter said he found the headquarters on the SPLC's “Hate Map,” and planned to kill people in the building. One guard was wounded in the attack.


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Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent

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Abortion group targets pro-life doctors, nurses with new website: New Zealand

Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent
By Michelle Kaufman

Pro-life health practitioners and crisis pregnancy centres in New Zealand are the target of a new website designed to intimidate those who choose not to refer for abortion or prescribe contraception.

The website, My Decision, is created by the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ). 

The site lists health practitioners and crisis pregnancy centres which they believe women should avoid.  The incomplete list includes the names of individuals or organisations, the region and town, and whether they are a doctor, nurse or other provider. 

Women are asked to submit their stories of “hostile or unhelpful health professionals.”  The stories are non-identifying and can be edited for length or clarity.  At the time of writing only two stories had been posted.

In an earlier blog post, ALRANZ mentioned that the new website, which was still under construction at the time, is “aimed at shining the light on ‘conscientious objectors’… who deny people the reproductive healthcare they want or need.”

Right to Life NZ says they believe the site is “denigrating the good name and reputations of health professionals who believe that abortion is a harmful choice.”

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Under New Zealand law, health practitioners can object to providing reproductive health services according to their conscience.  However, there is one caveat – they “must inform the person who requests the service that he or she can obtain the service from another health practitioner or from a family planning clinic.”

 “Sonscientious objection is a fundamental right and one that must be preserved if we are to continue to live in a free and civil society,” said Chris O’Brien, Vice President of Right to Life NZ. “We risk tyranny if this right is taken away.”

“There are very good doctors that appear on that website” said Dame Colleen Bayer, whose Dunedin Family Life Crisis Pregnancy Centre is also named.  “These doctors speak truthfully and have real care and concern for their patients.  Women do themselves a disservice to discount them based on this information.”

The resource section on the My Decision website links to ALRANZ, Family Planning (an affiliate of International Planned Parenthood Federation and an abortion provider), and the website Abortion Services in New Zealand. 

The Abortion Services website is sponsored by ISTAR Ltd, a registered Charitable Trust which is the sole importer of mifepristone into New Zealand.  ISTAR also provides Manual Vacuum Aspiration equipment for early surgical abortions.

ALRANZ, was instrumental in the writing of the Greens abortion policy, which was unveiled earlier this year.  That policy aims to take abortion out of the Crimes Act making it more accessible.  The policy also targets health professionals who may conscientiously object to ensure they refer patients on to a “neutral practitioner”.

More information about freedom of conscience in healthcare 


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The government is proposing allowing the killing of pre-born babies suspected of being disabled and those conceived through rape or incest.
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

Northern Ireland considers allowing killing disabled unborn babies: pro-lifers condemn

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

Northern Ireland’s leading pro-life group, Precious Life, has condemned this week's announcement by Justice Minister David Ford that a consultation on changing the abortion law will be "ready by autumn." The government is considering allowing the killing of pre-born babies suspected of being disabled and those conceived through rape or incest.

“Abortion is a serious criminal offence in Northern Ireland,” said the director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth. “The law here protects unborn babies, and David Ford as Minister for Justice must ensure that all children are legally protected."

Last December, Ford revealed he would be undertaking a consultation to consider changes to the law after he heard the stories of two women, who complained that they had not been allowed to abort their babies who had been diagnosed with anencephaly. Instead, they said, they had traveled to Britain for abortions.

Abortion was refused under Northern Ireland’s laws because the diagnosis of anencephaly for the child poses no medical threat to the mother.

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On Monday Ford told the BBC that the Department of Justice would bring forward its consultation paper on changing Northern Ireland's abortion laws by the fall.

However, Smyth warned that “the core ethical principle which must underpin this discussion is that every child deserves the right to life regardless of how short their life may be, and regardless of the circumstances of their conception."

She vowed that Precious Life will launch a public campaign in support of the life of all unborn babies.

“We all feel enormous sympathy for parents in these traumatic and distressing cases," Precious Life stressed in a statement. "But parents in these difficult situations deserve much more than our sympathy – they need a professional support system in place, which will provide them with help, support and resources.

"Precious Life are resolved to work towards a solution that loves and protects both mother and baby. Once again we call on the Health Minister to immediately establish perinatal hospice services for parents who have received a poor or difficult prenatal diagnosis for their baby,” said Smyth.

 

Contact:

Justice Minister David Ford
Department of Justice
Stormont Estate
Belfast, Northern Ireland
BT4 3SG
Phone:(028) 9076 3000
Email: via website (http://www.dojni.gov.uk/contact-us.htm)


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80% of parents who have an unborn child with spina bifida choose abortion. But Chad Judice (pictured with Eli) knows that life is worth it.
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

Abortion? No way. Dad says son with spina bifida is a ‘gift’ to the family.

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

What is the most pro-life, pro-God influence in your life? According to Catholic author and speaker Chad Judice, his five-year old, disabled son has been a tremendous source of happiness and faith for even the hardest of hearts.

In an op-ed published in The New York Post, Judice writes that when he and his wife found out their unborn son Elijah had spina bifida, they were offered the option of abortion. While they chose life, it didn't stop them from fearing the worst for their careers, eldest child, and Eli.

"That evening...Ashley cried as she read to me from the literature we’d been given," writes Judice. "It said 80 percent of parents who receive a spina bifida diagnosis choose abortion."

"And it told us that our son might have learning disabilities and be paralyzed from the waist down, unable to ever walk."

According to WemMD.com, the two most common forms of spina bifida have few, if any effects, on those who have them. However, the most rare and most aggressive form of the disability can result in significant problems for life:

  • Little or no feeling in their legs, feet, or arms, so they may not be able to move those parts of the body.
  • Bladder or bowel problems, such as leaking urine or having a hard time passing stools.
  • Fluid buildup in the brain (hydrocephalus). Even when it is treated, this may cause seizures, learning problems, or vision problems.
  • A curve in their spine, such as scoliosis.

Eli's form of spina bifida was severe, but -- as it turned out -- manageable, writes Judice. Despite surgeries and "medical challenges," he was out of the hospital within thirty days, though seizures and surgeries would continue to challenge the family. At five-and-a-half, he is entering kindergarten, learning to walk with modern technology, and "his intelligence is at or above average, and he's very talkative."

But perhaps the greatest miracle of all, Judice says, is the effect Eli has had on those who are outside of the family. His story has helped "some pregnant mothers...to reject abortion," and "rekindle the dormant faith of some...drawing them into a life with more room for God and family."

One of those rekindled Christians was a man who, after years in prison, prayed for Eli "as he recited The Lord's Prayer." According to Judice, "it was the first time he’d prayed in 30 years."

Since Eli's birth, Judice has written two books about his son and their family. "Waiting for Eli: A Father's Journey from Fear to Faith" was the first, and has received praise from Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. According to Pavone, it is "an inspiring story of faith, hope, love, and the power of prayer."

"The world judges the value of human life by physical perfection, but God sees things differently. To Him, we are perfectly lovable in our imperfection. Uplifting in its reverence for human life in its most fragile stages, WAITING FOR ELI will encourage pro-life activists everywhere, from the most seasoned to the newly initiated."

Also unstinting in praise was the Chair of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Daniel Cardinal Dinardo, who writes for Judice's website that the book "chronicles [Judice's] spiritual journey from fear of one’s personal limitations to self-abandonment to the divine mercy of God’s providence."

The second book, "Eli's Reach: On the Value of Human Life and the Power of Prayer," received the "Best Book by Small Publisher" award in 2013 by the Catholic Press Association.

"I think of Eli as God’s special gift to my family," Judice wrote in the Post. "And as I share about him, Eli’s story softens hearts and brings people to a greater appreciation of the beauty and sacredness of life."


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