Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Most threatening year ever!

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac
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Today we launch our annual Christmas Campaign with a goal of $150,000 this year.  We realize this seems ambitious, but we are in great need from the many demanding events of this past year. As well, this is the time to raise funds required to keep LifeSiteNews going during the lean early winter months. We appeal for your help to spread our unique pro-life, pro-family, ‘big picture’ news stories around the world.

The past year has been quite an adventure for LifeSiteNews. Since we have not backed down from our mission to boldly report on behalf of life and family issues, our service is under increasing attack from those who want to silence the Truth. This year has been no exception, if not the most threatening of all!

2011 in review:

Last February we announced the shocking news that a lawsuit for $500,000 had been filed against LifeSiteNews and some of its named staff by Fr. Raymond Gravel, a ‘pro-choice’ Catholic priest in Quebec. Just this past week, our editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen traveled to Quebec for a discovery hearing regarding the case.

Our written defense will finally be submitted before Christmas and the trial, now involving a team of three lawyers acting on our behalf, will begin in either 2012 or 2013. We will report much more on the case at a later date when we are free to do so.

Our Summer and Fall campaigns began uncharacteristically slow this year causing real concern that LifeSiteNews would not have the funds necessary to continue our current level of operations. Although our goals were unfortunately not met for either campaign, the response ended up being adequate to at least maintain our services.

As the Development and Peace controversy continues in Canada,  the Catholic ‘social justice’ organization’s members were encouraged to “Occupy LifeSite” by flooding the comments section of news coverage of LifeSiteNews with nasty attacks and distortions about our news service and its reports.

Not only have the enemies of life attempted to silence the message of truth, but we have also witnessed unprecedented threats to the basic freedoms that allow us to spread this message of Truth!

One of our writer/translators, Julio Severo, had his much needed PayPal account privileges removed following complaints to PayPal from a gay-activist group that his pro-family message is hate speech! Severo was told by Paypal that the significant funds in the account at the time would not be released to him for 9 months!

However, all these things mean that we have been having an impact.

Those who oppose the Culture of Life are increasingly seeing LifeSiteNews to be a threat to their agendas. We don’t intend to be a threat to anyone, but we do believe in the great power of truth and the need for that truth.

This past year has also been filled with other more explicitly encouraging events as a result of the work you have helped us to accomplish:

In the time of greatest need in LifeSiteNews history, you made the difference! The outpouring of support we received in response to our announcement of the lawsuit was very encouraging. Though we still have a long way to go to win this battle, your support kept us moving forward with our mission.

Following updates and a fresh look, our website is on track to reach well over 12 million pageviews this year! We have also seen 500,000 unique visitors per month for the past 3 months straight! Our various Facebook pages have accumulated nearly 50,000 “fans” or “likes.”

LifeSiteNews has been incredibly successful this past year in providing pro-life leaders in Latin America with crucial research and information in their battle for life and family.  Our speaking presentations at various events in the Mexico, Brazil, the US and Canada have been so well received that there have been more subsequent conference invitations than we have been able to accept!

As we here at LifeSiteNews reflect on this past year, we are exceptionally grateful for your support which has brought great success in the battle for life and family and has been a source of continual inspiration during the worst assaults.

One struggle that is always with us is obtaining a regular flow of financial resources to keep up our current level of reporting and activities.

In addition, though, no Internet service can maintain a healthy momentum unless it continually improves and keeps up with the latest Internet publishing trends and technologies. For that we need more funds than just an amount to cover our most basic operating costs.

During this Christmas Campaign - our largest and most important of the year - I hope you can be extra generous.

Steve Jalsevac
Managing Director
LifeSiteNews.com

U.S. and International Donors
Click here to donate online.

Call our office at (888) 678-6008 x. 923 between 9:00 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST.

To donate by mail, print out and fill in one of our Adobe Acrobat PDF format mail-in forms (Click here). Then mail it with your check, money order, or credit card information to the address below. Please note that you can set up an automatic recurring donation using your bank account or credit card by indicating your intention to do so on the check or mail-in form.

LifeSiteNews.com, Inc.
4 Family Life Lane
Front Royal, VA 22630
USA

Canadian donors Click here to donate online.

Call our office at (888) 678-6008 x. 923 between 9:00 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST.

To donate by mail, print out and fill in one of our Adobe Acrobat PDF format mail-in forms (Click here). Then mail it with your check, money order, or credit card information to the address below. Please note that you can set up an automatic recurring donation using your bank account or credit card by indicating your intention to do so on the check or mail-in form.

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Toronto, ON
M5B 1X9

*If the donation is towards a certain promotion or campaign, (i.e. Christmas Campaign 2011) please indicate this on the mail-in form and check.

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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."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"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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