Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Gala revealed a lot about who we are

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Recalling the April 28 LifeSiteNews gala still brings to mind many fond memories from that amazing ‘family’ event.  It revealed a lot about who we are and the passion and love of life and family that we share with each other, many leaders, and our supporters. Today, the first day of our summer campaign, I want to tell you more about that wonderful day and evening.

LSN staff and our US and Canadian boards of directors are spread around internationally.  One benefit of the gala was that it gave a rare opportunity for most of us to meet each other in person, many for the first time. We are mostly a virtual organization, with staff usually hired over the phone and by email, board members and staff usually meeting only by conference calls or on Skype, and some of us never having actually met in person.  Most of us work from our homes.

We were therefore thrilled to actually be together at a joint board/staff luncheon and a meeting during the afternoon before the gala.  The meeting was serious and productive business, but it was also a special occasion of joy for the LifeSiteNews team.

Part of the meeting involved discussions with Jean-Yves Cote, our lead defense lawyer in the Gravel lawsuit against LifeSiteNews, and Peter Breen, Executive Director of the US Thomas More Society. They both came to the meeting and gala from Montreal, Quebec and Chicago, Illinois respectively.

The first evening event was the pre-dinner VIP reception at which Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli gave a punchy, unabashedly pro-life, pro-family talk. He was introduced by LSN US board of director Dan McConchie, VP of Government affairs for Americans United for Life.

Cuccinelli, who will be running for Virginia governor in 2013, gave a live witness that it is possible to be a very competent elected official and be thoroughly, openly, pro-life and pro-family.

Gala attendees told me they were moved by having personally met and talked to so many leaders that they have been reading about on LifeSiteNews. It was difficult getting everyone into the dinner room later on because of all the excited interaction going on in the halls.

LSN US board member and dinner emcee, Brad Mattes, did an outstanding job during the night. Brad, Executive Director of Life Issues Institute and the host of the award-winning Facing Life Head On weekly television series, helped to make it a classy yet warm evening for all.

Famed Canadian novelist and artist Michael O’Brien gave the opening invocation, as well as some revealing comments about the LifeSiteNews team and the depth of our mission. He was an especially big hit with dinner guests who are fans of his novels. Keynote speaker Abby Johnson said she “had the best night tonight getting to sit by Michael O’Brien and chat it up” and that “it was the highlight of my year.”

Patrick Novecosky, Editor-in-Chief of Legatus magazine, gave the introduction to Abby, stating, “Abby represents everything we hope and pray for those who work in the abortion industry.”

Abby’s spirited talk was a natural fit for the night. Being pregnant at the time and having some complications related to the pregnancy, Abby had to cancel other speaking engagements. We were very grateful, therefore, that she was still able to make that long trip from her Texas home to be our keynote speaker.

The former abortion center manager said, “I really believe in pro-life media and what LifeSiteNews is doing.” She told about her new ministry, And Then There Were None, that reaches out to abortion clinic workers.  In only its first four months, Abby revealed, they had “17 abortion clinic workers leave and convert on the issue of abortion.”

Facts, “not emotions, not yelling, not telling them they are a bad person,” are the key item that gets those workers’ attention Abby stressed. She related, “I kinda have a bank of articles that I use from LifeSiteNews that I can send to women and men who are considering leaving that abortion industry. Those facts, those articles, that is part of their conversion.”

After Abby’s talk there were lots of introductions – the LifeSiteNews US and Canadian boards, many leaders present and the LSN staff. This is our ‘family,’ and it seemed that by the end of the evening all felt that kinship and the joy that goes with it. John-Henry and I made a point of emphasizing that the people in that room are our heroes and that we see our role as one of being of service to all of them and their personal or organizational efforts.

We were very privileged to have in attendance Julia Holcomb, her very supportive husband and one of her sons who had all flown in from Texas for the Gala. Julia, who is now active with Silent No More Awareness, had donated two paintings for auction at the gala that were more awesome to see in person than any photos of them that we could have posted. The paintings were successfully auctioned off and many supporters had the opportunity to meet and chat with this gracious lady.

Then we premiered our 15-year anniversary video which blew away the audience. We will be unveiling that on LifeSiteNews soon!

That was followed by Deal Hudson, former adviser to the Bush administration, who expressed his strong admiration for the work of LifeSiteNews.  His task was to encourage donations from the dinner guests. We were humbled by his glowing endorsement and conviction in supporting LSN. He said, “I’m in”, and at the podium put his check for $200 in an envelope and then asked, “how many of you are also in? Put your hands up.”  We were amazed at how many did.

At the end my son John, our assistant editor and invaluable jack-of-all-trades, was moved to spontaneously approach the podium and thank John-Henry and myself for all that we had done in starting and leading LifeSiteNews. John especially wanted everyone to realize that we strongly encourage all staff to maintain a solid prayer life while doing this difficult work.

The program ended at about 10 p.m., but a proof of the success of the night was that many guests lingered for over an hour longer, wanting to chat about what went on and socialize further with the exceptional people who were there that evening. New relationships were struck that night.

There is much more that could be written about April 28. I think this report gives you a good idea of the spirit and significance of the day and evening, and hopefully a better sense of the importance of LifeSiteNews’ mission and the many influential persons who work closely with us.

To continue that mission we rely almost entirely on financial support from our readers. There is no large benefactor behind this organization, as some readers assume from time to time. It would be really helpful, but I can assure you that is presently not the case. We just get by from quarter to quarter with the generous donations that you, our readers, are able to send us at those times.

And of course, we are blessed by those key supporters who make recurring donations each month to keep us going as campaign funds are used up. These recurring donations are vital to our operation.

It is now time for our Summer Campaign. As Deal Hudson asked our guests at the Gala, “Are you in?”

During our Summer Campaign,
will you donate to this mission for truth?

(Click Here to Donate)

Our annual operating expenses now add up to about $600,000. For this campaign we have set a not-unreasonable goal of $100,000.

You can play a crucial role as a member of the LifeSiteNews family by sending a gift for our much-needed work TODAY!

Please send us your gift today – for life, for truth.


Steve Jalsevac
Co-Founder
LifeSiteNews.com

P.S. Abby Johnson ended her keynote address by saying, “When you are asked tonight to make a contribution to LifeSiteNews, I hope that you will remember the lives of the children and grandchildren and kids in your life who you love. Because I want to tell you, we have to sacrifice. As much as you can.” We hope you take her words as seriously as we do.


Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
LifeSiteNews staff

,

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.


Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
LifeSiteNews staff

,

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.”

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

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.


Advertisement
Featured Image
Tony Gosgnach / LifeSiteNews.com
Tony Gosgnach

,

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.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

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.


Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook