All articles from November 23, 2016


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Kazakhstan Bishop Athanasius Schneider
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Bishop Schneider backs four Cardinals: They ‘did their basic duty’

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November 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan has added his voice of support to the four Cardinals who have been slammed by prelates as “witless worm[s],” “troublesome,” and heretics and apostates after they asked Pope Francis to clarify key moral passages in the exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

“In publishing a plea for clarity in a matter that touches the truth and the sanctity simultaneously of the three sacraments of Marriage, Penance, and the Eucharist, the four Cardinals only did their basic duty as bishops and cardinals, which consists in actively contributing so that the revelation transmitted through the Apostles might be guarded sacredly and might be faithfully interpreted,” wrote the bishop in an open letter published today by Rorate Caeli.

Schneider stated that in voicing their concerns to the Pope, the Cardinals have “merely stated real facts in the life of the Church.”

“These facts are demonstrated by pastoral orientations on behalf of several dioceses and by public statements of some bishops and cardinals, who affirm that in some cases divorced and remarried Catholics can be admitted to Holy Communion even though they continue to use the rights reserved by Divine law to validly married spouses,” he wrote.

It was in September that the Cardinals submitted the “dubia” to the pope, a set of five yes-or-no questions that seeks to clarify whether Amoris Laetitia is at odds with Catholic moral teaching.

Specifically, they ask: 1) whether adulterers can receive Holy Communion; 2) whether there are absolute moral norms that must be followed “without exceptions;” 3) if habitual adultery is an “objective situation of grave habitual sin;” 4) whether an intrinsically evil act can be turned into a “‘subjectively’ good” act based on “circumstances or intentions;” and 5) if, based on “conscience,” one can act contrary to known “absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts.”

The Cardinals went public with their “dubia” last week after the pope failed to reply to their questions. They received immediate backlash from high ranking prelates, including newly minted Cardinals Blase Cupich and Thomas Tobin, and were openly mocked by lesser ones, including Jesuit priest Fr. Antonio Spadaro — often described as Pope Francis' "mouthpiece" — who referred to them as “witless worm[s].”

RELATED: Who are these four cardinals who wrote the ‘dubia’ to the Pope?

Earlier this week, retired Roman Catholic Greek bishop Frangiskos Papamanolis ripped the cardinals for committing the sins of “apostasy” and “scandal,” saying they receive Holy Communion “sacrilegiously” for raising concerns about the pope’s document.

Bishop Schneider said he had "great astonishment" for what he called the “unusually violent and intolerant” nature of the backlash, adding that such reaction runs contrary to the Pope’s call for “dialogue and acceptance of legitimate plurality of opinions.”

“Such apodictic merciless judgments reveal not only intolerance, refusal of dialogue, and irrational rage but demonstrate also a surrender to the impossibility of speaking the truth, a surrender to relativism in doctrine and practice, in faith and life,” he said.

Schneider said the “violent reaction” has only one aim: “to silence the voice of the truth, which is disturbing and annoying the apparently peaceful nebulous ambiguity of these clerical critics.”

He noted how in previous ages, faithful bishops would be exiled — such as the Nicene bishops during the Arian crisis — whereas today “exile of the bishops is replaced by hush-up strategies and by slander campaigns.”

The bishop stated that history would remember the four Cardinals’ “prophetic voice” in the face of doctrinal and practical confusion.

IMPORTANT: To respectfully express your support for the cardinals' letter, sign the petition to Pope Francis. Click here.

“The Four Cardinals with their prophetic voice demanding doctrinal and pastoral clarity have a great merit before their own conscience, before history, and before the innumerable simple faithful Catholics of our days, who are driven to the ecclesiastical periphery, because of their fidelity to Christ’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage,” he said.

“But above all, the Four Cardinals have a great merit in the eyes of Christ. Because of their courageous voice, their names will shine brightly at the Last Judgment,” he added.

Schneider’s defense of the Cardinals comes on the heels of a similar one by Auxiliary Bishop Józef Wróbel of Lublin, Poland, who stated that the cardinals were “right to ask for clarification.”

“They have done well and they have exercised correctly the provisions of canon law. I think it is not only a right, but even a duty. It would have been just to answer to their observations. They asked no questions about the next day’s weather, but on issues concerning the Church’s teaching and therefore the faithful,” he stated earlier this week.

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Polish bishops end Year of Mercy by enthroning Christ as King in presence of president

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KRAKOW- ŁAGIEWNIKI, Poland, November 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — On November 19, at the end of the Jubilee of Mercy, Poland celebrated a historical Act of Acceptance of Christ as King and Lord with a Mass at the Shrine of Divine Mercy, with the Polish bishops, government authorities, and many faithful in attendance. President Andrzej Duda from the Law and Justice Party took part in the event, thus attracting international media attention.

More than 100,000 Poles in Krakow recited the solemn pledge: “O Immortal King of Ages, Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Savior! In the Jubilee Year of the 1,050th anniversary of Poland’s baptism, in the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, we Poles stand here before you to acknowledge your reign, to submit ourselves to your law, to entrust and consecrate to you our Fatherland and our whole people.”

The ceremony was organized by the Polish Bishops’ Conference, inspired by Pope Francis’ papal bull Misericordiae Vultus. In relation to the closing of the Holy Door of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, the Holy Father wrote, “We will entrust the life of the Church, all humanity, and the entire cosmos to the Lordship of Christ, asking him to pour out his mercy upon us like the morning dew, so that everyone may work together to build a brighter future.”

During the Mass, Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow and the president of the Conference of the Polish Episcopate, said, “We invite Jesus into our hearts, families, communities, and surroundings … and to all which constitutes Poland.” The Cardinal added that all persons should not be afraid to proclaim such things.

The idea for this proclamation came from the Commission for the Movements of Christ’s Enthronement. In an October pastoral letter, the Polish Bishops explained, “There is no need to enthrone Christ in the sense of placing him on the throne and giving him the power or proclaiming him king.” However, “there is an urgent need to enthrone Christ in the hearts of the faithful, by reviving living faith and the life of faith.” Therefore, the Act contains a profession of faith and renunciation of evil.

Bishop Andrzej Czaja, president of the Groups for Enthronement, said that the primary purpose of the Act is “faithful recognition of Jesus, surrendering and entrusting our personal, family, and national lives to Him in all dimensions, and living according to God’s law.” He added, “As such, it should therefore also be an act of justice, in the sense of devoting what is due to God, and at the same time an act of obedience to God in response to His Love.”

Most of the people were not able to enter the Shrine of Divine Mercy and stood outside in the rain. Among them were members of the Right to Life Foundation, who were holding pro-life posters. Many participants interviewed by Polonia Christiana TV mentioned that they wanted Poland to ban abortion, which the ruling party Law and Justice is unwilling to do.

It appears that the Church authorities hinted at that. During the homily, Bishop Czaja said, “There is a need for clear respect for God’s law, so that man’s law does not supercede it.” He clarified that this respect would assure that “what’s morally good and ethical would not be neglected.” Bishop Czaja also talked about giving the first place to Christ in all aspects of life, including professional.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin commented that the enthronement had no political meaning and that politicians present accepted Christ as King and Lord only as private citizens.

The Saturday celebration in the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Krakow preceded the feast of the Solemnity of Christ the King in the Catholic liturgical year. Last Sunday, the Act of Acceptance of Christ as King and Lord was recited in all Catholic churches in Poland.

A short video from the celebration can be viewed here:

The full text of the Jubilee Act of Acceptance of Jesus Christ as King and Lord as translated by the Bishops’ Conference:

O Immortal King of Ages, Lord Jesus Christ, our God and Savior! In the Jubilee Year of the 1050th anniversary of Poland’s Baptism, in the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, we Poles stand here before you [together with our authorities, clergy and laity] to acknowledge your reign, to submit ourselves to your law, to entrust and consecrate to you our Fatherland and our whole people.

We confess before heaven and earth that we need your rule. We acknowledge that you alone have a holy and perennial law for us. Therefore, humbly bowing our heads before you, the King of the Universe, we recognize your dominion over Poland and our whole people living in the Fatherland and throughout the world.

Desirous to worship the majesty of your power and glory, with great faith and love, we cry out to you: Christ, reign over us!

In our hearts, Christ, reign over us!

In our families, Christ, reign over us!

In our parishes, Christ, reign over us!

In our schools and universities, Christ, reign over us!

In the social communication means, Christ, reign over us!

In our offices, places of work, service and rest, Christ, reign over us!

In our cities and villages, Christ, reign over us!

Throughout the Polish Nation and State, Christ, reign over us!

We bless you and give you thanks, Lord Jesus Christ:

For the unfathomable love of your Sacred Heart, Christ our King, we thank you!

For the grace of baptism and the covenant with our People over the centuries, Christ our King, we thank you!

For the maternal and royal presence of Mary in our history, Christ our King, we thank you!

For the great Mercy that you constantly extend to us, Christ our King, we thank you!

For your faithfulness despite our betrayals and weaknesses, Christ our King, we thank you!

Aware of our faults and abuse inflicted on Your Heart, we ask forgiveness for all our sins, and in particular for turning away from the holy faith, for our lack of love for you and our neighbor. We ask you to forgive the social sins of our nation, all its defects, addictions and enslavement. We renounce the devil and all his works.

We humbly submit ourselves to Your Lordship and your law. We commit ourselves to ordering our entire personal, family and national life according to your law:

We pledge to defend your holy worship and to preach your royal glory, Christ our King, we pledge!

We pledge to do your will and to protect the integrity of our consciences, Christ our King, we pledge!

We pledge to care for the sanctity of our families and the Christian education of our children, Christ our King, we pledge!

We pledge to build your kingdom and to defend it in our nation,  Christ our King, we pledge!

We pledge to engage actively in the life of the Church and to protect her rights, Christ our King, we pledge!

You, the only Ruler of states, nations and of all creation, the King of kings and Lord of lords! We entrust to you the Polish State and Poland’s rulers. Make them all those who exercise power do so with justice and govern rightly in accordance with your Laws.

Christ our King, we confidently entrust to your Mercy all of Poland and especially those of the people who do not follow your ways. Give them your grace, enlighten them through the power of the Holy Spirit, and lead us all to the eternal communion with the Father.

In the name of brotherly love, we entrust to you all the world’s nations, especially those that have made Poland bear the cross. Make them recognize you as their rightful Lord and King and use the time given to them by the Father to submit voluntarily to your lordship.

Lord Jesus Christ, King of our hearts, make our hearts like your Sacred Heart.

Let your Holy Spirit descend and renew the face of the earth, this earth. May he support us as we accomplish the obligations that are the consequences of this national act, protect from evil, and realize our sanctification.

In the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we place our decisions and commitments. We all entrust to the maternal care of the Queen of Polish and to the intercession of the patron saints of our Fatherland.

Christ, reign over us! Reign over our fatherland, and reign in every nation – for the greater glory of the Most Holy Trinity and the salvation of humanity. Make our homeland and the entire world into your kingdom: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.

Thus, Poland, on the 1,050th anniversary of its baptism, has officially accepted the kingship of Jesus Christ.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

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Allen West rips abortion: ‘We will not be truly blessed as a nation until we right this wrong’

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COLUMBIA, Missouri, November 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – "If we’re not careful," America's legacy will be one of a "death culture," former U.S. Representative Allen West warned at a pro-life event on Sunday.

Speaking to a Vitae Foundation event, West cautioned the crowd about abortion's racist outcomes. 

"I came from the same neighborhood as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr," the Fox News contributor and African-American leader said. "Since the Roe decision, almost 15 million African American children won’t know about Dr. King’s dream."

West said he "cannot think of" a better time for the pro-life movement to go on the "offense" than after this election cycle. He likened the pro-life movement's recent political victories to the U.S. Army's actions after battle, which are always reviewed even if they were successful. West stressed that achieving political victory doesn't mean the pro-life movement can relax yet.

"We will not be truly blessed as a nation until we right this wrong" of abortion, he said. “If we are a country that continues to have a business in killing our future generations, God will not bless America.”

The left is sure to strike back against pro-lifers and conservatives, and "it’s going to be a vicious counter-attack," said West, but at this moment "we have the opportunity to destroy progressive socialism."

West also lamented the "decimation of the American family" and called on the Trump administration to take advantage of the chance it has to change the country's moral course. 

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Baby boom continues in republic of Georgia; 600 baptized at Orthodox cathedral

Fr. Mark Hodges

TBILISI, Georgia, November 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The Orthodox Patriarch of Georgia hosted a mass baptism last week for 600 children "born again" into Christ at Tbilisi Trinity Cathedral.

A video of the Christian initiation — complete with crying babies and parents' faces full of unspeakable joy — has gone viral, with 9.2 million views, 74,000 shares, and 26,500 comments.

The mass baptism is the brainchild and work of Patriarch Ilya, one of the most influential leaders in the country and of Georgia's Christians since the 1970s.  

Facing a post-Soviet abortion rate that was rapidly depleting the population, Ilya started a family promotion campaign in 2007, promising to personally baptize every third child born to an Orthodox family throughout Georgia, as well as every subsequent child thereafter. He hosts mass infant baptisms four times a year.

The Georgian Patriarch started this initiative in a pro-life effort to decrease abortions and increase the birth rate. He officially became the Godfather to all 600 last week, and since the mass baptisms began, he has become Godfather to 29,000 children.

Patriarch Ilya's encouragement has spawned a nationwide baby boom.  

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili credited Patriarch Ilya with single-handedly reducing the number of abortions in the country, which have diminished by 50 percent from 2005 to 2010. Saakashvili also thanked his All-Holiness for the dramatically rising birth rate in Georgia, which in 2010 was 25 percent higher than in 2005.

"Patriarch Ilya is a holy man, much beloved by his people, and truly the spiritual father for his whole nation," His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) told LifeSiteNews. "He cares for all his people, Christian or not. He is very enthusiastic in his support of traditionally large Christian families, the sanctity of life, and the value of the family."

Many parents at the mass baptism attributed the reason for having a third or fourth child to the Patriarch.

"This is a wonderful day for my family," said Tamar Kapanadze, now a 33-year-old father of four. "Our fourth son, Lashko, was baptized by the Patriarch himself, and before this he baptized our daughter Liziko. This is why we decided to have a fourth child."

President Saakashvili announced earlier this year that his government would encourage birth-giving by distributing to parents who have a third child a subsidy of $600, and $1200 for a fourth child.

"The patriarch has already taken steps in this direction," Saakashvili said. "We should be thankful to him for continually reminding the Georgian people that we should multiply."

With more than 9.3 million Facebook views of the mass baptism viral video, some misunderstanding Westerners have made critical and even hateful comments.  Metropolitan Jonah explains to those who only see a wet and crying child that baptism is a wonderful and a powerful act.

"The word 'baptism' means immersion, and the age-old practice of the Orthodox Churches throughout the world is to immerse those being baptized fully, three times, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity," Jonah explained.  

Vladika Jonah continued to assure the uninitiated that in 2,000 years no child has ever been hurt by holy baptism. "While I’ve never seen the 'double dipping' in this video, it is usually a very peaceful process, and nothing to be alarmed about."  

"While the ancient Fathers of the Church accept other forms (e.g. The Didache, written 60 AD), full immersion has been the norm for centuries," Jonah said.

In 2013, Patriarch Ilya urged the government not to allow a homosexual rally in Tbilisi, saying it was a "violation of the majority's rights" and "an insult" to the Georgian nation. He described homosexuality as a tragic sickness and compared it to drug addiction.

After Ilya's comments, thousands of Georgians protested the gay demonstration, but many misapplied the Patriarch’s comments by acting violently, such that the rally had to be abandoned — not for moral reasons but to protect the homosexuals — and they had to be driven in a bus to safety by the police.

 
 
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Texas judge upholds decision blocking Obama’s transgender bathroom mandate

Peter LaBarbera

November 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Texas federal Judge Reed O’Connor has denied an administration request to issue a partial stay on his August nationwide injunction barring the enforcement of President Obama’s executive order pressuring schools to let gender-confused students use opposite-sex restrooms and locker rooms.

In his Nov. 20 decision, U.S. District Judge O’Connor said the Departments of Justice and Education “failed to demonstrate a likelihood of success or irreparable harm sufficient to justify a partial stay of the Court’s preliminary injunction.”

In his initial 38-page injunction, O’Connor challenged Obama’s interpretation and application of federal Titles VII and IX — created more than four decades ago to stop, among other things, sex-discrimination against women — to “gender identity.” The latter is a “transgender” activist concept incorporation dozens of “identities.” The preliminary injunction was sought by 13 states seeking protection against Obama’s order, which conservatives regard as an unconstitutional overreach of power.

Judge O’Connor, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, ruled that the law and its use of the term "sex" is "not ambiguous. "It cannot be disputed that the plain meaning of the term sex as … it was enacted by [the Department of Education] following passage of Title IX meant the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth.”

Pro-religious liberty legal activist Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel (LC), applauded Judge O’Connor for his “steadfast stand against the Obama administration attempts to impose its unlawful and harmful LGBT agenda on public schools. The Obama directive is a lawless act and defies common sense.” 

According to an LC release, “Connor wrote that the federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of ‘sex’ — the scope and meaning of which the federal government agencies claim now includes gender identity — were declared nearly 40 years ago. He referred specifically to the time gap between the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and this year, when the Obama administration announced its new transgender bathroom guidelines for public schools.”

“Defendants grossly misstate the scope of the injunction in claiming it prohibits states from receiving ‘federal enforcement of the civil rights laws,’” the judge wrote.

Pro-family advocates such as Heritage Foundation senior fellow Ryan Anderson have called on President-elect Trump to immediately rescind Obama’s “transgender” school executive order on the first day of his presidency.

In May, then-candidate Trump said he would repeal the policy and send the issue back to the states.

Concerns about some offensive — yet often underreported — aspects of the Obama administration's “transgender” federal guidance include:

  • School districts must allow biological males and females to spend the night together in the same hotel room on field trips;
  • Colleges must let men who say they are transgender be roommates with one or more women; and
  • School officials cannot even tell those young women or their parents in advance that their new roommate is a man, without risking a federal lawsuit.
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Republican state Sen. Konni Burton
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Texas legislator attacked for defending parents’ right to know if child is ‘transgender’

Peter LaBarbera

November 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — A Texas legislator sponsoring “parents’ right to know” legislation — barring schools from withholding mental and emotional health and medical information about students from their parents — is getting pounded by LGBTQ activists who claim it would force the “outing” of homosexual and “gender non-conforming” students.

State Sen. Konni Burton, a Christian and tea party Republican, denies that claim and the “intentional misinformation and fear-mongering” campaign waged by LGBTQ critics against SB 242. She said it is designed to “make it unequivocally clear that a parent has a right to full and total information on their child’s academic performance, physical, mental and emotional health, and more.” The bill was pre-filed in advance of the upcoming legislative session in January.

Meanwhile, homosexual and transgender activists working in concert with the NEA and ACLU are advising schools across the nation in some cases not to reveal a student’s “transgender” status to his or her own parents.

Burton stresses that existing Texas law already guarantees parents the right to be informed about the child and not to have critical information withheld by school officials. However, after Fort Worth Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Kent Scribner enacted a policy of divulging a student’s “transgender” identity to parents strictly on a “need-to-know” basis, an “appalled” Burton vowed to strengthen and clarify parents’ right to get information about their own child.

“My legislation will make it expressly against state law for a district to adopt policies designed to undermine a parent’s right to know,” Sen. Burton wrote to her supporters. “No parent in Texas should ever have to fight for the basic right to matter in their child’s life again.”

A key organizer for then-candidate Ted Cruz’s successful run for U.S. Senate in 2012, Sen. Burton describes herself as “first and foremost a wife, a mom, and a lifelong Christian.”

Bill would “kill” children?

In the last decade, homosexual and transgender activists have honed their ability to deluge local and state legislators who proposed pro-family, LGBTQ-related legislation with hostile, often vicious messages and exaggerated online attacks against them and their bills.

Here are some headlines from homosexual activist sites decrying Burton’s SB 242 bill:

“Texas bill could force teachers to out LGBT students to their parents” (Metro Weekly)

“Konni Burton’s SB 242 will kill children” (blog of Texas homosexual activist Daniel Williams)

“Texas lawmaker wants to force schools to out LGBT students to parents” (LGBTQ site New Civil Rights Movement)

The homosexual-bisexual-transgender activist group Equality Texas condemned the bill, said ET Board Chairman Steven Rudner:

“Until kids are not kicked out of their house for being gay or transgender, and until kids are not being beaten by parents for being gay or transgender, we owe it to kids to protect them.

“We believe Sen. Burton’s legislation would essentially destroy protected communications between a student and an educator. SB 242’s stated intent would force the outing of LGBTQ students.”

SB 242 about parents, not LGBTQ

In an online statement, Sen. Burton denied that her bill is anti-LGBTQ:

“Although the district’s aggressive overreach had to do with policies for transgender students, the focus of our bill has nothing to do with issues of sexuality and gender, and everything to do with how parents are treated by the government entities they fund. I would firmly stand against any policy that treated parents as unessential in their child’s life, regardless of what group the policies were intended for. You will not find the words “sexuality” or “gender” anywhere in the proposed bill.”

Burton’s bill likely will be modified when it is formally introduced in the state Senate in January, but already her chief of staff, Elliot Griffin, has had to defend it. The Houston Chronicle reported:

If a student talks to a teacher or counselor about being gay or identifying as some other sexual minority, Burton's proposed bill is silent on how the teacher would be required to respond, [Griffin] said. 

"We wouldn't presume to tell an individual teacher what to do," [Griffin] said. "If you (as a parent) call and ask about your child, you should have the expectation that the school isn't going to withhold valuable information. It's existing state law."

Social conservatives strongly support the reaffirmation of parental rights in public schools. Donna Garner, a retired teacher and influential advocate for conservative education policies in Texas, told LifeSiteNews:

“I wholeheartedly support Texas Sen. Konni Burton in her attempts to pass SB 242. This bill would ensure that parents — not public schools — are given the information needed to make decisions over their children. Parents ‘own’ their children; they are not ‘owned’ by the public schools.”

Also supporting SB 242 is Linda Harvey, president of Mission America and one of the world’s leading conservative experts on the LGBTQ agenda in schools. Pointing to aggressive advocacy in schools by powerful LGBTQ organizations — undermining parents’ right to know about their gender-confused student-children — Harvey told LifeSiteNews:

“This common sense bill offends the sexual anarchy progressives because groups like the NEA teachers’ union, the ACLU, and Human Rights Campaign are militantly establishing a new norm for schools: become allies with students, if needed, against parents to conceal student sexuality concerns, which violates the long-standing legal precedent of parental rights.”  

LGBTQ Lobby: Do NOT inform parents their child is “transgender”

Leading homosexual and transgender activist organizations are advising schools nationwide not to share a student’s gender-confused or “transgender” identity with his or her parents to protect the student’s privacy. Here is a portion a 2013 “Model Policy on Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students,” jointly produced by the Gay, Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the National Center for Transgender Equality:

“All persons, including students, have a right to privacy, and this includes the right to keep one’s transgender status private at school. Information about a student’s transgender status, legal name, or gender assigned at birth also may constitute confidential medical information. Disclosing this information to other students, their parents, or other third parties may violate privacy laws, such as the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The District shall ensure that all medical information relating to transgender and gender nonconforming students shall be kept confidential in accordance with applicable state, local and federal privacy laws. School staff shall not disclose information that may reveal a student’s transgender status to others, including parents and other school staff, unless legally required to do so or unless the student has authorized such disclosure.”

Hide new “gender identity” from parents

Curiously, whereas “gay” and “transgender” advocates usually call on people to use politically correct pronouns matching the ever-expanding array of LGBTQ “gender identities,” the “Model Policy” urges school authorities to do the opposite when talking to the gender-confused child’s parents:

“Transgender and gender nonconforming students have the right to discuss and express their gender identity and expression openly and to decide when, with whom, and how much to share private information. The fact that a student chooses to disclose his or her transgender status to staff or other students does not authorize school staff to disclose other medical information about the student. When contacting the parent or guardian of a transgender student, school staff should use the student’s legal name and the pronoun corresponding to the student’s gender assigned at birth unless the student, parent, or guardian has specified otherwise.”

Minnesota case stokes parents’ fears

A much-discussed case in Minnesota shows how extreme school “student privacy” policies can be — to the point where school officials keep parents in the dark about body-changing “sex reassignment” treatments and procedures for their own child. LifeSiteNews reported last week:

A Minnesota mother sued St. Louis County and other agencies Wednesday for usurping her parental rights because her minor son has been receiving transgender “services” and given narcotic drugs without her consent.

Anmarie Calgaro’s involvement has been circumvented numerous times in regard to her 17-year-old son by the local school district, the county public health department and two medical services providers that have given her minor son medical treatment and narcotics for gender reassignment from male to female, national public interest law firm Thomas More Society says.

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Arsonist destroys New Mexico pro-life pregnancy center in alleged ‘hate crime’

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This article has been updated.

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico, November 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Arsonists are suspected in a fire that rendered a pro-life pregnancy center inoperable, and pro-life students are demanding that Planned Parenthood denounce this as a "hate crime."

Early this morning, someone broke into Project Defending Life, also known as Women's Pregnancy Options, and set fire to the building's Holy Innocents Chapel and a room containing pro-life literature. According to the Albuquerque Fire Department, at 12:32 a.m. they received a call about smoke coming from the Project Defending Life building and crews arrived within minutes to extinguish the fire.

Students for Life of America said that the fire department confirmed with students that the fire was intentionally started by an arsonist and at least one of their students has spoken with the FBI. Project Defending Life confirmed this.

"Authorities notified us around midnight that there was a break-in and fire in our facility, leading fire Marshalls to call the FBI, who confirmed this was an act of arson," said Dominique Davis, Project Defending Life's director of client services. "The arsonist has not been identified, but it has been confirmed that they set two fires within the facility. The first fire was started inside the Holy Innocents chapel, which destroyed the chapel. The second fire was located in the foyer where our literature and signs were displayed. The extent of the damages has still not been confirmed, although the facility has suffered great damage and currently has no power. Due to the damages and the current investigation, Project Defending Life will be shut down until further notice."

"This attack on our pregnancy resource center will affect many women and families who come to our facility to receive baby items, parenting classes, pregnancy services, and support," she continued. "Many of our clients are able to find jobs and housing through our services, and we are saddened with the reality that we will have to put our assistance to clients and the public on hold."

"We are disgusted by this hate crime committed against Project Defending Life, a peaceful organization whose only aim is to help women facing unplanned pregnancies, and we are so thankful that no one was injured,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. "The domestic terrorists who committed this heinous act must be found and brought to justice. Planned Parenthood of ABQ and other pro-abortion forces must denounce this act immediately. Violence has no place in our society, regardless of whether it is committed upon the most defenseless preborn child or a peaceful pro-life office."

"Project Defending Life and the Holy Innocents Chapel [have] always been about mercy and healing" and "shining a light in the darkness," said Priest for Life's Father Stephen Imbaratto, who founded Project Defending Life but is no longer affiliated with it. "Those who love life will continue to be a light in this world. We must continue to pray and fast that darkness such as this does not prevail. Life always overcomes death because Jesus came into the world to bring light into the darkness and to conquer death through eternal life."

"While this intentional evil act was meant to scare us and inhibit us from doing our work, those who committed this crime can be assured it has not," said Davis. "There are still many women in need of assistance and support, not including the 15 women we are currently helping with housing, job placement, and parenting support lomg term. While our building may be finished, we are not, and we will find another place to set up. Thank you everyone for your prayers and generosity. The magnitude of helping hands and kind words show how much our community really cares and that is the most meaningful of it all. We would like to thank our local authorities for all of their hard work during this investigation, as well as the overwhelming amount of support from our supporters and the public."

Albuquerque is the late-term abortion capital of America. It is home to Southwestern Women's Options, which specializes in late-term abortion.

The city has been the site of an unsuccessful ballot initiative to ban late-term abortion and is home to continued pro-life protests.

Hawkins said the pro-life community wouldn't cease reaching out to abortion-minded women even though the pregnancy center is temporarily closed. She said pro-lifers are working to put a mobile unit outside Southwestern Women's Options until Project Defending Life's center is restored.

Last month, a Virginia maternity home was also victimized by an arsonist. No one was injured but the building and its equipment were damaged. 

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Willow Noland was born at 22 weeks' gestation.
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Born at 22 weeks, ‘miracle’ baby was not supposed to survive, but she defied the odds and is thriving now

Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa

COLUMBUS, Ohio, November 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – An Ohio toddler born prematurely has beaten the odds and gone on to be healthy and a joy to her parents while defying the viability benchmark that has often determined life or death for the unborn since Roe v. Wade.

Cortney Noland and husband Peyton’s story with daughter Willow, who was born at 22 weeks’ gestation, and her fight for life was featured in an article published from The Columbus Dispatch this past weekend, shining a light on the disputed question of when human rights for the unborn should begin.

"She really is a miracle," Cortney Noland said of Willow, now 20 months old.

As the age of viability continues its downward creep, the ability for states to enact greater pro-life protections for the unborn is increasing. While statistics show an overwhelming majority of Americans, including two-thirds of those describing themselves as “pro-choice,” favor strengthening of laws that protect unborn children, pain-capable legislation remains controversial. Abortion advocates worry that it will chip away at so-called abortion “rights” and pro-lifers are opposed to incremental legislation.

Broader ramifications

Ohio Right to Life said in a statement that the couple's story could have broader political implications for the right to life in Ohio. But with fetal pain legislation proposed and/or passed in numerous states and nationally, and advanced medical technology and improved standards of care meaning premature babies are defying the rules of "viability," the ramifications extend beyond Ohio. 

“The political significance of this story is in how it undermines an important standard that has determined the rights of pre-born children for the last 44 years,” Ohio Right to Life said.

In Ohio, legislation was passed by the state Senate in June 2015 banning abortion past 20 weeks based upon the fact the unborn child could feel pain. But the bill then stalled in the House later that year, prompting Ohio Right to Life to point out that babies just like Willow are still unprotected by Ohio law. Last year alone, 478 pre-born babies were aborted after 19 weeks’ gestation in the state.  

Where the standard came from

In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution contained an implicit right to privacy that extended to the right for women to obtain an abortion. However, after the unborn baby is viable on his or her own, states could put greater restrictions on abortion.

The 1973 ruling defined viability at 28 weeks, which was revised to 24 weeks in 1992 in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in observance of scientific trends that had occurred since Roe.

Not so anymore

The age of viability has continued to drop. Doctors are able to preserve life at an earlier and earlier stage, a trend confirmed by a study released earlier this year finding that more than two-thirds of babies born at 22 or 23 weeks could survive if they receive medical treatment.

That study built upon a study published last year by The New England Journal of Medicine said that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks will survive if they receive life-saving care.

University of Iowa pediatrics professor Dr. Edward Bell told the New York Times in May 2015 that from his perspective, 22 weeks, the age Willow Noland was born, was the new marker of viability.

Her parents didn’t give up on her

The Nolands are thankful they never gave up on their daughter, despite being told before and after her birth by some medical professionals that efforts to save Willow would be futile.

They paused this past summer in realization they’d done the right thing in choosing life. "That was kind of that moment when I was like, 'We did good. We chose right,'" Cortney Noland said.

“She was supposed to be our Fourth of July baby,” she continued.

Instead, Noland went into labor during a March 4 snowstorm last year, contracting sepsis, and Willow was born 18 weeks early, weighing 1 pound, 5 ounces, and not expected to live.

An on-call doctor told Noland while she was in labor that her daughter would not survive birth and therefore there was “no point” in performing a C-section.

Thankfully, Noland said, her doctor was on the way and was prepared to resuscitate “no matter what.”

A special neonatal team set ready to revive and intubate Willow tried several times to insert the newborn’s breathing tube, succeeding on their last try.

Willow dropped to one pound the day after she was born, her skin was red, her skull dark from bruising and her eyes fused shut, but she shocked doctors with her survival. And even though her condition was fragile, her parents recognized the family resemblance in her.    

“You couldn’t even see what her eyes looked like, or anything like that,” Cortney Noland said. “But what was cute when she was born, though, we could tell that she had Dad’s nose. Even at one pound, I was like, she has your nose.”

A long road ahead

Despite all odds, Willow made it through birth and her first day. Then the next phase of her fight began, with surgery for a perforated bowel at one week old, which she also wasn’t expected to survive.

Willow would undergo a total of four operations during her 236 days in neonatal intensive care.

During that time, doctors continually asked her parents if they wanted to withdraw care, to let Willow die.

They said no.

The Nolands would often take part in what’s called “kangaroo care,” where they held Willow skin to skin, with the couple lying in bed with her in 12-hour shifts.

Dr. Edward Shepherd, chief neonatologist for Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, recounts Willow's story at medical conferences across the U.S.

The rule has been that physicians don't try to save children born as early as Willow, as they rarely survive for long and have significant problems when they do.

This often means that parents will have to fight with doctors to resuscitate their children.

"When I was a resident back in 1999, people said nobody under 24 weeks can ever survive, and now 23-weekers are surviving routinely," Shepherd said. "Now, people are saying under 23 weeks really can't survive, and there’s Willow, who was 22 weeks."

Headed for a normal childhood

At 20 months, Willow had progressed from physical therapy, her gastrointestinal tube was used only rarely, and she was only using oxygen at night as her lungs continue to grow and develop. Her pediatrician does not have concerns over developmental delays or disabilities.

"It took her a few months of catching up, and then spring hit and she just started crawling and walking, and she took off," Cortney Noland said. "She's pretty crazy now. She is nonstop on the go."

Cortney Noland said she used to hate Willow’s surgery scars “because they just reminded me of all the sad nights and the hard nights of waiting in the OR room and waiting outside her room to see if she's going to survive."

"But now,” she continued, “I look at them and I'm like, 'This is just proof of what you can overcome, what you can take.'"

Willow is feisty, strong-willed and stubborn, she said, and the toddler’s favorite food is Cheetos.

The Nolands are certain that Willow was given to them so they could help further research with preemies Willow’s age and to help other premature children have a shot at survival.

“I know she really is a miracle,” Cortney Noland said, “when the doctors would even say to us, “Your baby truly is a miracle, and we don’t know how she is alive.”

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Cardinal George Pell Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews
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Cardinals Burke, Pell officially removed from Congregation for Divine Worship

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

VATICAN, November 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinals Raymond Burke and George Pell will not remain members of the Congregation for Divine Worship, the Vatican has confirmed in a list of the liturgical office's new members.

Burke and Pell are known for their Catholic orthodoxy and strongly pro-life and pro-marriage stances. Burke is one of the four cardinals who has formally requested that Pope Francis clarify whether Amoris Laetitia is at odds with Catholic moral teaching. After the cardinals' request went unanswered for two months, the cardinals went public with their concerns. Burke has said cardinals will need to make a "formal act of correction" if Pope Francis doesn't clarify the serious errors related to the exhortation.

The Congregation for Divine Worship's new list of members can be seen here. The office's membership was recently gutted, with numerous progressives appointed as replacements. 

Cardinal Robert Sarah is the Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship. Sarah has fearlessly opposed gender ideology and urged priests and bishops to more closely follow the rubrics of the Ordinary Form of the Mass by facing ad orientem instead of versus populum.

In a last-minute change, Pope Francis recently spoke instead of Sarah at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family in Rome. 

Sarah then backed out of a prominent speaking engagement in which he had confirmed his participation multiple times.

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Archbishop Franco Coppola
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

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Pope’s envoy to Mexicans: Stop marching against gay ‘marriage’ and ‘practice dialog’ instead

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

November 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – After months of successful pro-family marches protesting an attempt to amend the constitution to create homosexual “marriage,” Pope Francis’ new apostolic nuncio to Mexico has come with a perplexing message for Mexicans: Don’t march, but rather enter into “dialog” over the gay agenda.

Archbishop Franco Coppola, a career diplomat with the Holy See who has served as nuncio to several African countries, arrived in Mexico on September 29. He soon began commenting on the struggle underway in the country over a proposed set of reforms by Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto to amend the constitution to permit “gay marriage” and adoption and to impose homosexual sex-ed throughout the country’s schools.

In a press conference on November 8, Coppola was asked about an upcoming vote on the president’s proposals. The nuncio said nothing about the Catholic Church’s teachings condemning homosexual behavior and homosexual “marriage” legislation, but answered, “I don’t come here with the solution, because it wouldn’t be respectful of Mexico. My opinion is that Mexicans, instead of confronting each other, of making proclamations, or carrying out marches, have to sit down at a table and talk to each other to understand all of the implications that certain measures have.”

After noting that there are “many things” in the president’s proposed reforms, Coppola told the press, “There are some things that in my opinion can easily be accepted, and there are others upon which we must reflect in order to understand all of the implications.”

Asked by a reporter what parts of the president’s bill need further reflection, Coppola refused to elaborate. “I have to be in my place, and my place as nuncio is not to be a mediator,” he replied, adding that Mexico “is not a country that needs mediators,” but has a government that should “sit down at the table, listen to everyone, let everyone speak.”

Coppola told the press that the national debate over the gay agenda “has made clear that there are some people who do not feel appreciated, who feel that they don’t have all of the rights that they could enjoy.”

“So it’s necessary to see. It’s a magnificent occasion or opportunity to practice dialog, not to use rude language, insults, prejudices. That’s not useful for anything. It’s necessary to understand one another.”

As LifeSiteNews recently reported, several months of massive rallies and marches in favor of the rights of the family and children and against the redefinition of marriage and homosexual “adoption” have resulted in major victories for the pro-family cause. Those include an overwhelming defeat of President Peña Nieto’s party in state elections and the rejection of his homosexual “marriage” amendment by the country’s Chamber of Deputies  on November 9, including a majority of members from his own party. As a result, the president himself seems to have given up on the idea.  

Coppola’s omission of the Catholic Church’s condemnations of the sin of sodomy and of homosexual “marriage” is in keeping with Pope Francis’ de-emphasis of Catholic moral teaching in favor of a vague “accompaniment” of sinners.

Although Francis has repeatedly affirmed the Catholic Church’s condemnation of gender ideology, his criticisms have been infrequent and muted, and have been offset by ambiguous statements that seem to deny or minimize the gravity of homosexual acts. The result has been rampant confusion in the press and among Catholics regarding the pope’s actual teaching.

The Holy See’s 2003 declaration condemning homosexual union legislation requires Catholics to oppose homosexual “marriage” laws and never to cooperate in their enactment: “In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty,” the document states. “One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application.”

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2357-2359), homosexual acts constitute “grave depravity” and are “intrinsically disordered,” a doctrine that has been taught throughout the Church’s 2,000-year history. The Catechism also expresses compassion for those who suffer from the temptations associated with same-sex attraction and urges a life of chastity.

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Fr. Mark Hodges

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Russian Patriarch: LGBT agenda poses ‘significant threat for the existence of the human race’

Fr. Mark Hodges

MOSCOW, Russia, November 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The head of the world's largest Orthodox Church says anti-discrimination laws supporting homosexuality and transgenderism are "at odds with the moral nature of human beings."

Patriarch Kirill, leader of more than 200 million Russian Orthodox Christians, gave an exclusive interview to Russia Today (RT), the English-language news channel that provides a Russian view on global news.

The Christian leader said Western same-sex "marriage" laws and transgender "anti-discrimination" laws are unprecedented and unnatural.  

"What’s happening in the Western countries is that, for the first time in human history, legislation is at odds with the moral nature of human beings," he said.

"What is good and evil?" He rhetorically asked, expressing deep concern that good and evil are being perverted. "The Church can never approve of this. We say that the Church can never redefine good and evil, sin and righteousness."

The namesake of Patriarch Kirill, St. Cyril of Alexandria (fifth century), warned that if we deem "that which is evil fit for commendation and applause, the prophet's words will apply to us, 'Woe to those who call evil 'good' and good 'evil,' who put darkness for light, and light for darkness.'" (Isaiah 5:20)

Kirill explained that our common moral nature was created by God and is the basis of good laws. "Legislation defines moral values in legal terms, telling us what’s good and what’s bad," he said. "We know that stealing is bad and helping people is good, and laws define what stealing is and what the suitable punishment for it is."

However, his All-Holiness explained, laws are now being made that go against our nature. "Now, for the first time in human history, the law allows something that doesn’t correspond to our moral nature," he said.  

In fact, laws for same-sex "marriage" and other laws, such as those affirming transgenderism, are actually directly opposed to our moral nature. "The law contradicts it," Kirill said.

He compared LGBTQ legislation with apartheid laws in South Africa and anti-Semite laws in Nazi Germany, and concluded that in their innermost hearts, people know such laws are wrong. "They knew it wasn’t right; it was artificial; it was part of some ideology and not in sync with their moral nature."

The Patriarch's opinion confirms the ancient wisdom of the founder of monasticism, St. Anthony the Great (251-356 AD), who predicted, "A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying, 'You are mad; you are not like us.'"

Qualifying his remarks, the Orthodox hierarch insisted that hatred and personal judgment have no place in the Christian's life. "We don’t condemn people who have different sexual preferences," he clarified. "That's on their conscience and it’s their business, but they shouldn’t be discriminated against or punished."

But the Patriarch drew the line at societal affirmation of homosexuality. "However, under no circumstances should this be accepted as a social norm, no different from the social norm that stems from our moral nature, meaning marriage between a man and wife who create a family and have children."

Kirill solemnly warned that Western laws legalizing same-sex "marriage" and transgenderism will destroy humanity. "This new trend poses a significant threat for the existence of the human race," he said.

He added that it is the Church's responsibility to be the conscience of the nation, but governmental leaders are actively suppressing the Church's voice. "The Church has to address this and say it’s a bad thing, but we’ve seen that authorities in some countries have been trying to silence clergymen," Kirill said.  

The Christian leader pointed out the irony. "In the countries that declare their commitment to freedom of speech, you can get punished for expressing your opinion."

"One Protestant pastor went to jail for calling same-sex ‘marriage’ a sin in his sermon. Again, this is very reminiscent of what was happening under Soviet totalitarianism."

"That’s a dangerous trend, and I hope it will fade and the natural order of things will prevail," he said, adding that he fears for humanity's future. "I don’t even want to think about what might happen to us otherwise."

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South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley gives the GOP response to the State of the Union on Jan. 12, 2016.
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Trump appoints pro-life Gov. Nikki Haley as UN ambassador

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November 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews)--President-elect Donald Trump has picked pro-life South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the Trump transition team announced Wednesday morning.

Haley has a strong pro-life record, but her seeming willingess to capitulate to same-sex "marriage" being the law of the land has worried some social conservatives.

However, there had been speculation that Richard Grenell, an openly homosexual man and long-serving U.S. spokesman to the U.N., would be selected. Haley's selection points to the Trump administration chosing a much more socially conservative individual for such an influential position.

In 2013, Haley defended South Carolina's constitutional amendment upholding marriage as between one man and one woman and said she agreed with the law.

“Governor Haley has a proven track record of bringing people together regardless of background or party affiliation to move critical policies forward for the betterment of her state and our country,” said Trump. “She is also a proven dealmaker, and we look to be making plenty of deals. She will be a great leader representing us on the world stage.”

Haley, a Republican, signed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which protects babies from painful late-term abortions. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is a top legislative priority for the pro-life political group the Susan B. Anthony List. During his campaign, Trump promised to sign it into law.

Haley gave the GOP's 2016 response to President Obama's State of the Union address, during which she promised that a Republican administration would "respect differences in modern families, but we would also insist on respect for religious liberty as a cornerstone of our democracy."

During the same speech, Haley implicitly blasted Trump, asking Americans to reject "the siren call of the angriest voices" saying Muslim immigration to the U.S. should be restricted. 

“Our country faces enormous challenges here at home and internationally, and I am honored that the President-elect has asked me to join his team and serve the country we love as the next Ambassador to the United Nations,” said Governor Haley. 

Haley is the youngest governor in the country and became South Carolina's first female governor in 2011.

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Anna Reynolds

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Nick Cannon: Abortion is a ‘real genocide’ against the black community

Anna Reynolds

November 23, 2016 (LiveActionNews) -- Last week, rapper Nick Cannon appeared on New York City’s “The Breakfast Club” radio show. When host Charlamagne Tha God brought up the election, conversation quickly turned to comparing President-elect Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Cannon, who chose not to support either candidate, refused to agree that Clinton was a better choice, stating: 

Hillary was — think about all of the things they did with Planned Parenthood and all of that type of stuff. That type of stuff is to take our community — and forget gentrification — it’s real genocide, and it’s been like that for years. This system is not built for us.

Cannon’s condemnation of abortion should come as no surprise. In 2005, he released “Can I Live?” The song tells the story of his mother, who became pregnant at 17 and strongly considered abortion. The music video shows Cannon as an adult, viewing the scene of his mother going to the abortion facility. He pleads with his mother throughout the song to spare his life, singing:

I’ll always be a part of you

Trust your soul, know it’s always true

If I could talk I’d say to you

“Can I live? Can I live?”

When the song was released, Cannon said he was not making a pro-life argument. He told USA Today, “I didn’t make the song to make a political statement. I’m just thanking my mom for being strong.” Elsewhere Cannon has said, “I’m not pro-life or pro-choice. I’m pro-Nick. I’m just happy to be here.”

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Nonetheless, Cannon’s work does make a powerfully persuasive pro-life argument. As one pro-abortion blogger ranted:

He’s calling on women, all women, who find themselves in a similar situation, to make the same decision she did. There is no other possible way to interpret the message “if your baby could speak, it would beg you not to have an abortion.”

Likewise, it seems with Cannon’s passing comment about Planned Parenthood’s “real genocide,” he is making a pro-life argument. His comment points to the fact that Planned Parenthood disproportionately targets black women. In fact, in New York City, more black babies are aborted than are born alive. Since life begins at conception, the abortion industry is fulfilling the goals of racism by targeting African Americans at the earliest beginning of their lives — before they’ve ever had a chance to take their first breaths.

Reprinted with permission from Live Action News.

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