All articles from March 17, 2017


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Guy Pearce (Cleve Jones) and Charles Socarides (Richard Socarides) in When We Rise
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LGBTQ ratings flop: Americans keep rejecting ‘gay’ programming

Peter LaBarbera Peter LaBarbera Follow Peter

March 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — As the Disney Corporation experiments with a “gay” subplot in its remake of Beauty and the Beast, the recent ratings flop of an ABC miniseries extolling “gay rights” confirms that Americans are not tuning in to pro-LGBTQ programming.

With great fanfare, ABC launched its “epic” miniseries, When We Rise, about the “gay rights” revolution. As Heatstreet reported, “When We Rise received saturation ad coverage during the Oscars ahead of its premiere this week.”

But the hype didn’t work and the show tanked from the first episode (the four-part miniseries totaled eight hours). Deadline reported on When We Rise’s disappointing debut:

“It was a noble effort, but viewers largely shunned it, with the opening two hours averaging a paltry 0.7 in 18-49 and 3 million viewers coming off the strong Bachelor lead-in.

When We Rise was the lowest-rated program on the Big 4 [CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX] and second lowest-rated overall last night, matching the CW’s Supergirl (0.7, even with last week). The CW’s Jane The Virgin (0.3) was off by a tenth.”

The Advocate, a magazine for homosexuals, described When We Rise as “a sprawling tale of queer liberation that covers the Stonewall riots to marriage equality to the transgender rights battle.” The ABC series was directed by “out” homosexual Dustin Lance Black and featured Rachel Griffiths, Guy Pearce, Mary-Louise Parker, David Hyde Pierce, and other stars.

Later, the The Advocate bemoaned the lack of interest in LGBTQ programs in general:

“On Monday [Feb. 27], ABC made television history by airing When We Rise, the first installment of a miniseries by Dustin Lance Black that documents the progress of the LGBT rights movement. The timing couldn’t have been better. Just days after the Trump administration rescinded education guidelines protecting transgender students, this production was a moving reminder of the need for different vulnerable groups to work together for equality.

“Did you watch it? Probably not. The ratings were the lowest among the big four networks during the 9 p.m. Monday time slot, despite having a star-studded cast, opening to positive reviews, and following ratings juggernaut The BachelorWhen We Rise pulled in just 2.95 million viewers; that was less than sitcoms like CBS's Superior Donuts and Two Broke Girls.”

The homosexual magazine was reduced to urging its readers to start watching When We Rise, as well as Oscar Best Picture-winning movie, Moonlight, which features a young “gay” black man “coming out” and a homosexual relationship. As Forbes reported, Moonlight “is among the lowest-grossing Oscar Best Picture winners ever.”

Vanity Fair reported that Moonlight got a sizable post-Oscars “bump” of $2.5 million in sales, but the film still only earned “just over $25 million total at the box office.” Compare that the musical La La Land, which Moonlight defeated to win the Oscar, earning $145 million. Another Oscars Best Picture winner (2016), Spotlight, about The Boston Globe exposing the priestly pedophile abuse of boys in the local Catholic archdiocese, earned $25 million total at the box office.

“Corrosive hatred” and history-defying lies

Catholic League president Bill Donohue said When We Rise is guilty of anti-Catholic bigotry of the usual type put forth by Hollywood elites.

Brent Bozell, president of Media Research Center, agreed, accusing ABC of promoting “corrosive hatred” through the characters in When We Rise:

“On the first night, the main character Cleve Jones tells one of his lovers: ‘I say we just get rid of all the heterosexuals. They're so boring.’

“Can you imagine the outcry if a straight character were to say, ‘Let's get rid of all the homosexuals’? This was a formula for a flop. It neither convinced nor converted anyone in the red states. They watched something more honest and less self-righteous.”

Curiously, including “gay liberation” leader Jones’ hateful comment is one aspect of the ABC series that accurately reflects homosexual activists’ extremist attitudes and rhetoric. For example, “gay” militants once described heterosexuals contemptuously as “breeders.” In contrast, today’s establishment LGBT movement champions “gay adoption,” relying on heterosexuals to produce children for “gay parents.”

In 1970s San Francisco “gay” slang, so common was sex between men and boys that predatory homosexual men (“chickenhawks”) referred lustily to the underage boys (their targets) as “chicken,” according to Gay Talk, a book of “gay slang.” A “chicken dinner” was slang for “sex with a teenager.”

Bozell, in his column, “ABC’s Huge Gay Propaganda Flop,” also reports on When We Rise’s false narrative — still very popular in “gay” circles today — distorting President Ronald Reagan’s policies on AIDS:

“The ‘educational’ script [of When We Rise] simply lies, starting with the undying falsehood that President Ronald Reagan never lifted a finger for AIDS victims. In the second installment, one character asks, ‘You think any of those groups are gonna’ get Reagan to give a damn?’ Another replies, ‘If I didn't know any better, I'd say it's a government plot.’ The first man shoots back: ’Yeah. I work for the government. They couldn't pull something this intricate off. Willfully letting it spread ... That's another story.’”

Here’s the reality, according to Bozell: “President Reagan's Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler proclaimed that AIDS was her department's ‘number one priority’ in 1983. AIDS funding skyrocketed in the 1980s, almost doubling each year beginning in 1983 — when the media coverage first exploded — from $44 million to $103 million to $205 million to $508 million to $922 million to $1.6 billion in 1988.”

The site NewNowNext writes that while there have been a smattering of shows with homosexual themes that have garnered big audiences (e.g., Modern Family), “the TV landscape is littered with gay-themed shows that bombed.” Some examples: The McCarthys (2015), Partners (2012), The New Normal (2012) and Bravo’s Boy Meets Boy (2003).

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Canon lawyers and theologians to hold conference on ‘deposing the pope’

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Brochure from the 'Deposing the Pope' Conference

PARIS, March 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- Canon lawyers, theologians, and scholars will be meeting in Paris in two weeks to discuss a topic that has never been the focus of a Catholic conference before: How to depose a heretical pope. 

Titled Deposing the Pope: Theological Premises, Canonical Models, Constitutional Challenge, the conference seeks to explore the mechanisms that are built into the Catholic Church for dealing with a pope who openly teaches falsehood and even heresy. 

Speaking at the conference will be University of Paris Professor Laurent Fonbaustier who published a 1200 page book last year on the topic that was titled The Deposition of the Heretical Pope.

The conference includes 15 speakers who will be giving a range of talks on the subject matter with titles such as “Conciliarism and the Deposition of a Pope Through the Prism of Gallicanism,” "The Downfall of the Pope: Between Renunciation and Deposition," and "The Deposition of John XXII and Benedict XIII at Constance, 1415–1417." 

Speaking at the conference are Professors Nicolas Warembourg and Cyrille Dounot, two of the 45 Catholic academics who last June submitted an appeal to the Dean of the College of Cardinals in Rome requesting a repudiation of erroneous propositions they found in Pope Francis’ exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

The group of 45 Catholic academics said the Pope’s exhortation presented “dangers to Catholic faith and morals” since it “contains a number of statements that can be understood in a sense that is contrary to Catholic faith and morals.”

The conference comes after four years of Francis at the helm of the Barque of Peter. During this time the Pope, and the people he has put into key positions, have steered the Church in a direction that would have been unthinkable to faithful Catholics under the two previous pontiffs of John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. 

Francis’ ambiguous speeches and especially his papal writings have turned cardinal against cardinal, bishop against bishop, and lay-faithful against lay-faithful. Doctrinal confusion has resulted in pastoral guidelines being issued based on his writings that allow Holy Communion to be given to those living in adultery. 

READ: They gave Pope Francis four years to ‘make the Church over again.’ Here’s how he’s tried.

Last November Vaticanist Giuseppe Nardi reported that a 1975 theological study by the learned Brazilian layman Arnaldo Vidigal Xavier da Silveira was making the rounds in the Vatican. The layman examined in his work titled The Theological Hypothesis of a Heretical Pope whether it is possible for a pope to be or become a heretic, and if so, what consequences would follow from this. 

Reported Nardi: “Three-and-a-half years after the start of his pontificate, Pope Francis is reaching his limits. The impression, given by means of gestures and words, of a latent intention to change the doctrine of the Church must at some point either take on definite form or else it must collapse,” he wrote at that time. 

“Francis finds himself cornered by means of the very atmosphere he himself is responsible for creating. It’s no longer about a spontaneous utterance on this or that, which remains improvised and non-binding. His pastoral work and his leadership skills, which demand a sense of responsibility and an exemplary character, are reaching their limits. This could cause Francis [‘s pontificate] to fail,” he added.

The conference comes three months after Cardinal Raymond Burke gave an interview in which he explained that if a pope were to "formally profess heresy he would cease, by that act, to be the Pope.”

Burke said in the December 2016 interview that there is a process within the Church for dealing with such a situation, adding his hope that “we won’t be witnessing that at any time soon.” 

Also in December American canon lawyer Dr. Edward Peters addressed the question of what could be done if a pope were found to be heretical. 

Peters writes that the “crucial question” from a canonist’s perspective is “who would determine whether a given pope has fallen into heresy” since Canon 1404 states that the “First See is judged by no one.” 

He found in canonical tradition, however, the position that if a general council determined that a pope had committed heresy, by that very fact he will have effectually cut himself off from the true vine, thereby forfeiting his office.

Comments Peters: “…however remote is the possibility of a pope actually falling into heresy and however difficult it might be to determine whether a pope has so fallen, such a catastrophe, Deus vetet [God forbid], would result in the loss of papal office.”

The location for the upcoming conference is significant, reports Church Militant. It was in the 1300s the University of Paris explored the question of what could be done with the possibly heretical Pope John XXII, who denied the doctrine that the souls of the just are admitted to the beatific vision after death, a position he retracted on his deathbed. 

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UK university granted first license to make three-parent embryos

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TYNE, England, March 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The United Kingdom's Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority has granted Newcastle University permission to begin creating human embryos who have three parents.

The chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority, Sally Cheshire, confirmed Thursday that "the HFEA has approved the first application by Newcastle Fertility at Life for the use of mitochondrial donation to treat patients." 

The UK first approved three-parent embryos in 2015. This will be the first time scientists will carry out the procedure, which involves killing human embryos to manufacture another. 

The purpose of creating embryos this way is to attempt to modify them to not have certain genetic diseases. But bioethicists say this technique involves a multitude of ethical and moral problems.

The embryos will have DNA from two mothers and one father, Dr. David A. Prentice, vice president and director of research at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, told LifeSiteNews. A small part of the mother's DNA will be replaced with DNA from another woman. This is done in the hopes of preventing the main mother (for lack of a better phrase) from transferring genetic diseases to the child.

"The type of technique they’re using actually involves destroying two embryos to then re-combine [their] parts for a third constructed embryo with genetics from two women and one man," said Prentice. "This technique starts with death of young human embryos."

"Making 3-parent embryos involves the use of cloning technologies," the National Catholic Bioethics Center's Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D, told LifeSiteNews via email. 

"Cloning involves swapping out the nucleus of a woman’s egg with a replacement nucleus to create an embryo," explained Pacholczyk. The way three-parent embryos are made is "by swapping out additional cellular parts known as mitochondria through the recombination of eggs from two different women."

Even worse, some "approaches to making three-parent embryos rely on destroying one embryo (instead of an egg) and cannibalizing its parts so as to build another embryo by nuclear transfer. This latter approach, therefore, requires an 'embryocide' or embryo-killing step as part of the process," he explained.

"Pro-nuclei are formed when the egg and sperm first meet," said Prentice. "And so in this technique, they’re taking two brand new embryos, pulling the nucleus then out of one, thereby killing that first embryo."

Then, "they pull the nucleus out of the second one, killing it, and they recombine the nucleus from one with the cellular mass from the second – to get a third recombined embryo," said Prentice. This means "you had to kill two embryos in the process [of] a nuclear transfer cloning type of technology."

The created embryos will spend the first three to five days of their lives in a lab dish before being transferred to the womb.

'Manufacturing new human beings' as 'experiments'

Prentice and Pacholczyk say that creating three-parent embryos will be problematic for children's rights and older people who have the genetic diseases scientists are attempting to weed out.

"They are literally using human beings – creating human beings – as experiments," said Prentice. "It’s not experimenting on human beings where you might be doing something to them. They are the experiment. They’re the creation. And because [scientists] don’t know what might happen eventually down the road, these little ones that are gonna be created will have to be followed the rest of their lives. And their children will have to be monitored as well."

"Any approach that weakens or casts into question the integral connection between parents and their offspring will raise grave ethical concerns," said Pacholczyk. "By creating three-parent embryos, we improperly subject children to the harmful psychological stressors that arise when they face uncertainties about their own origins and beginnings."

Pacholczyk noted, "Far too often, in the world of infertility treatments, the needs of children are bypassed in the pursuit of satisfying parental desires." He said it would be unfair to a child that he or she would need to do "research" to figure out his or her origins. 

Children would be "trying to determine who contributed which sub-cellular building blocks as they were 'put together' with components from 3 parents by fertility specialists or lab technicians," said Pacholczyk.

"By taking this approach, we substitute production for procreation, even though our children are absolutely entitled to the dignity of being 'loved into being' in the marital embrace, not custom-ordered from, or 'mass-produced' by, fertility clinics and research laboratories," said Pacholczyk.

Prentice shared Pacholczyk's concerns about "family structure and family identity" in these children who will have three biological parents. 

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Some people will say the amount of DNA from one of the created child's mothers "is very small" and therefore inconsequential, Prentice predicted. "But we know" that this part of the DNA "has some effect on life and health or else they wouldn’t be trying to replace it and supplement it," he said.

Prentice also said the mindset behind the creation of three-parent embryos is eugenic. 

"This is not aimed at treating or curing anyone with these [genetic] diseases," he said. Rather, it's the creation of "essentially replacement people – manufacturing new human beings that they hope won’t have that disease and ignoring essentially all the people who do have the problem."

"They are manufacturing new human beings that they hope will not carry on this particular set of genetic diseases," said Prentice. "But even the experimental evidence in animals and in the laboratory indicate this still may not work."

Creating three-parent embryos means "ignoring ethical venues to treat people who have these [genetic] diseases," said Prentice. "They’re essentially telling the people that have these diseases that they are of no value, that they should be replaced by these manufactured human beings. It’s a sad commentary on where this particular medical science has gone."

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Louise and her baby
Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Pregnant after rape, Louise chose life and never looked back

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

DURHAM, Ontario, March 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — When Louise found out her rapist had impregnated her, she chose life for her baby.

In a new video, she shares why.

"I was raped by somebody I knew," Louise begins.

"Innocent life came from one man's intent to hurt me," she explains. "But my baby hasn't hurt me. She's provided me with healing and growth and new experiences that I never knew could happen in my life. So she's not going to pay for what one man's intentions were."

"I also knew that there's already a heart beating. There's already a life there," she adds. "And for me to go and intentionally take away someone's intent to life, that wouldn't sit well with me personally."

"When people say abortion is needed in cases of rape, I feel that is very unfair," Louise continues. "If your body has already started to create life, undoing that process seems very detrimental."

"I'm so grateful I made the decision to have my daughter, because she's brought me so much joy," Louise shared. "Every day I wake up to a beautiful smile, and had I not made that decision, I would have been left with just a disaster on my heart."

Louise goes on to say that "becoming a mother has changed me in ways I never imagined. I feel like the most optimal version of myself. ... I've drawn out a lot of strength I didn't know was there."

The powerful video was produced by Choice42 (as in "Choice for Two"), a Canadian pro-life organization started by the Pregnancy Help Centre of Durham.

"We aim to change public opinion about the value and humanity of pre-born children," director Laura Klassen told LifeSiteNews.  

"We want to show women that they are strong enough to choose LIFE for their children, and we have Canada’s largest database of pregnancy support organizations that can help them to do it," Klassen said.

"We filmed Louise’s story because people always use rape as one of the main reasons for why women ‘need’ abortion," Klassen told LifeSiteNews. Her organization encourages women to realize that “though it is their choice, they are making a choice for two.”

"My daughter is my angel," Louise said. With the video, she posted, “I've broken my silence now. My angel will know her mother stood up for what is right.”

Choice42's slogan is "Make A Choice You Can Both Live With."

"My daughter brings me a lot of hope for the future," Louise shared, "to let me know that not every disaster has to bring traumatic pain to where you can't cope.  It actually can bring beauty."

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Klassen says Choice42’s mission runs contrary to her country's promotion of abortion.

"Canada does not value pre-born babies at all, as is reflected by our total lack of abortion laws," she said. "Abortion is government funded and our society pushes abortion as the best option for a woman dealing with an unintended pregnancy."

And yet Choice42's videos show women are stronger than Canadian's pro-abortion society thinks — strong enough to make loving choices.

"We know the harm abortion causes babies and women, and we are dedicated to promoting life options," Klassen said.

"What I would say to a woman who has just found out she's pregnant as a result of rape, is that there is hope," Louise advised. "There is hope beyond the traumatic experience you've been through. ... Don't give up."

"If you survived such a traumatic experience — and you were gifted with a miracle —  then clearly you have more potential than you've ever imagined."

"You can look for the beauty in the disaster," Louise concluded, pointing to her daughter. "She's my beauty."

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UK bill will remove all abortion restrictions. Will it pass?

Steve Weatherbe

LONDON, England, March 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A bill eliminating Great Britain’s few remaining barriers to abortion passed its First Reading in the House of Commons this week, but pro-life MPs and activists believe it has little chance of advancing.

The Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill received the House of Commons’ approval on Monday by a 174-142 vote. It proceeds to Second Reading on March 24.

“We’re not worried about it passing,” Anne Scanlon, education director for Life Charity, told LifeSiteNews. “It’s a private member’s bill and their intention is really to raise an issue.”

Though the bill is scheduled for second reading next week, its turn will actually come only after the House debates approximately 75 earlier private members’ bills. Only a few days each session go to private bills.

Dr. Anthony McCarthy of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children also gives the bill no chance. All it will take “to kill the bill for this parliamentary session … is one MP saying ‘object.’ This was never a serious attempt to legislate.”

However, the bill is still worrisome, Scanlon and McCarthy agree, because of the support it received in the House and of its ultimate goal to remove all abortion restrictions. A large minority of Conservative MPs voted for it along with all but six Labour members.

The initiator, Labour MP Diana Johnson, seeks to decriminalize abortion. On paper, British law carries penalties of up to life in prison for mother or doctor conspiring to abort a child.

“This is the harshest criminal penalty of any country in Europe, underpinned by a Victorian criminal law passed before women had the right to vote, let alone sit in this place,” Johnson said in the House of Commons.

However, the Abortion Act of 1967 exempts all abortions of unborn children done up to 24 weeks old if two doctors agree that ongoing pregnancy or childbirth endangers the health of the woman. Abortions may also be done right up to birth if the child is severely disabled or the mother’s life is endangered. At 24 weeks, the law deems the unborn child viable.

“In reality,” Scanlon said, “98 percent of abortions are done in private clinics which turn a blind eye to the requirements.”

The UK already has effective abortion on demand, she said.

Private clinics follow the letter of the law by obtaining two doctors’ signatures for each abortion. But Johnson justified decriminalization because abortion pills such as Mifegymiso, obtained by mail order, would not come with doctors’ approval, thus exposing women to criminal prosecution.

However, pro-life MP Maria Caulfield countered that easy access to abortion pills would leave women more vulnerable to coercion by family or boyfriends.

“It would exacerbate the dangers posed by increased availability of abortion pills and it would remove some of the few protections and regulations in abortion law,” Caulfield said.

Johnson said her bill would allow all requirements to persist but as regulations and not criminal provisions. Violation would bring professional sanctions or suspension of operations but no jail terms.

However, Caulfield said the bill would fuel “unethical and unsafe practices in many UK abortion clinics … leaving women less safe and less informed.”

Caulfield and other MPs referred to the abortion industry’s recent record of malpractice. The government suspended some types of abortions at the country’s largest abortion provider, Marie Stopes International, for more than a month last year. Earlier this month, the Daily Mail ran a sting operation and reported how several Marie Stopes clinics helped a reporter pretending to want an abortion tailor her motives to fit the legislation.

Labour MP Rob Fiello, also pro-life, referred to the “disgraced private abortion industry” that Johnson’s “extreme proposal” would only enrich.

Scanlon also argued that Marie Stopes International’s recent “history of abuses” made “nonsense” of “Ms. Johnson’s position that there is no need for legal restrictions.”

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Caulfield told the Commons that the existing abortion laws did need reform, but not reform that made abortion easier to get.

“We argue for more modern and humane abortion law that upholds not only the dignity and rights of women but the dignity and rights of the unborn child,” she said.

“Too often today,” Caulfield continued, “debates about abortion — about the risks involved and the rights of the unborn child — are shut down. But I, and many colleagues who share my views, will not be silenced as we seek to be a voice for the voiceless.”

SPUC’s McCarthy told LifeSiteNews the bill must be seen as “part of a campaign the ultimate aim of which is to allow abortion up to birth and for any reason.” As long as it is still in the Criminal Code, abortion is “deemed to be … morally problematic or in some way harmful.”

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Concerned citizens packed a Parkersburg City Council meeting to hear discussion on a transgender bathrooms ordinance.
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West Virginia city tables transgender bathroom bill after concerned citizens jam-pack council meeting

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Councilman Dave McCrady initiated the controversial ordinance.

PARKERSBURG, West Virginia, March 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — More than 300 pro-family citizens stuffed a city council meeting this week as members considered a surprise transgender bathroom bill.

On the agenda was a city ordinance adding "gender identity," "genetic information," and "sexual orientation" to anti-discrimination laws covering employment and “public accommodations.”

With all the seats taken in council chambers, Christians and other morally concerned residents — who had only four days’ notice — sat shoulder to shoulder on the floor, crouched against the council table, leaned on the walls, and watched from the lobby.

It was the largest attendance at a city council meeting in more than 40 years, according to city clerk Connie Shaffer.

Attendees said it was a powerful example of grassroots activism. With little time to organize against the surprise transgender ordinance, area pastors, churches and pro-family organizations successfully garnered a massive turnout that ultimately swayed the council.

The meeting, which usually runs 30 minutes, lasted more than an hour.

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce asked council to make the ordinance clearer, noting overwhelming attendee concerns about allowing the opposite sex in changing rooms, showers, locker rooms, and toilets. He noted the proposed wording stated that “public accommodations … does not include any accommodations which are in their nature private.”

Allen Whitt, Family Policy Council of West Virginia president and a resident of neighboring Jackson County, spoke against the proposed ordinance and recommended council “table” it.

In the end, Councilman Dave McCrady said it was clear that his proposed ordinance needed "fine-tuning" and made a motion to "table" it "for further discussion." Tabling a proposed law simply means inaction for the time being.

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia summarized on Facebook, "With a whole lot a pressure by the good people of Parkersburg, we got a miracle."

One observer commented that the meeting "shows the revolution is not inevitable."

In perhaps the pinnacle of the meeting, Parkersburg resident Diane Wooten, a African-American woman, stood up to speak her mind to city council.  

"I wanted you to know (that) as a black person, I take offense to all of those who are talking about the Civil Rights Movement, comparing homosexuals and interracial marriage," she said.  "I take offense at that, because they are two different issues totally. Everyone thinks you ought to (equate) those two things. They are totally different."

Attendees erupted in applause.

Wooten's powerful statement may be seen here.

Councilman Jeff Fox said he wants the proposed law back before council soon.

The Family Policy Council warned that the proposed transgender law "could be brought back in the future, so we must watch them like a hawk."

Andrew Schneider, executive director of the LGBTQ group "Fairness West Virginia," said at the meeting that the transgender bathroom law sought to obey Jesus' command to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

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Parkersburg seems to be an exception to the wave of cities across the nation embracing transgender laws. Four dozen cities in 15 states have added “gender identity protections” since the Supreme Court's Obergefell decree Constitutionalized same-sex “marriage.”

A Republican-oriented city council in Columbus, Indiana, unanimously passed a transgender-enabling law because, as Mayor Jim Lienhoop explained, "Republicans don't speak with one voice on this issue."

Wheeling, West Virginia, passed a similar "anti-discrimination" ordinance. Democratic Mayor Glenn Elliott said it was a financial decision. "Those of us in the community may not all agree on its morals," but "not open for debate is that it's good for business."

Big business agrees. Most Fortune 500 companies now have "gender identity" anti-discrimination policies.

Some conservatives say the voice of reason has been bullied into silence by those pushing the gay agenda.

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Film director Bill Condon.
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Beauty and the Beast director: ‘I wish I could say I…rip pages out of the Bible’

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March 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- In a 2007 interview that is getting renewed attention this week, Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon said that he wishes he could "rip pages out of the Bible" when he stays in hotel rooms. 

When asked by Passport Magazine in the interview what the first thing is he does when he gets into a hotel room, he replied: "I wish I could say I’m like Ian McKellen and immediately go rip pages out of the Bible, but there don’t seem to be bibles in the hotel rooms I stay in these days.”

The openly homosexual director’s film is being boycotted by Christian and Conservative groups after he revealed that it contained what he called an “exclusively gay moment.”

"Le Fou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston," Condon said in a March 1 interview with Attitude

“He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realising that he has these feelings. And [actor] Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its payoff at the end, which I don’t want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie,” he added. 

According to a report by The Charlotte Observer’s Lawrence Toppman, there are two homosexual moments in the film. The first comes when “a young man whirls into the surprised Le Fou’s arms, and they dance happily away together” and a bit later in that number, Le Fou “spins across the room and lands on the reclining Gaston’s lap, wrapping Gaston’s arms around him.”

A petition to boycott the film created by LifeSiteNews has been signed by 131,000 people. The petition to Disney states: 

“Children's movies are no place for promoting a harmful sexual political agenda, one that offends the deeply held beliefs of countless parents and families.”

“I pledge to boycott both the Beauty and the Beast movie, and other Disney films and products, until such a time as Disney commits itself to protecting, not harming, the innocence of our children,” it adds. 

Tell Disney 'NO' to the LGBT agenda in Beauty and the Beast. Sign the boycott pledge here. 

Other boycotts have popped up throughout the country. 

The American Family Association has 51,000 petition signers saying they “can't support Disney's ‘Beauty and the Beast’ movie” because it pushes the “gay agenda on our children.” 

“Homosexual behavior is unhealthy and unnatural. It is irresponsible and careless of Disney to promote such an agenda in a movie designed and marketed to children,” the petition states. 

Colorado Christian University created a petition to Disney CEO Rober Allen Iger where “Christian Americans” pledge to “not allow our children or grandchildren to be subjected to your radical Left-wing agenda through your latest rendition of Beauty and the Beast.”

“We will not allow you to bully us into going against our Biblically-based beliefs in natural marriage, and we will certainly not let you circumvent us as leaders of our families to force these beliefs on the impressionable young minds of our children,” the petition states. It is not known how many have signed this petition. 

On March 2, evangelist Franklin Graham wrote his 5.5 million Facebook followers asking them to “say no” to Disney’s remake. 

“They’re trying to push the LGBT agenda into the hearts and minds of your children—watch out!” he said in the post that has been “liked” by 154,000 and “shared” by 95,000. 

“Disney has the right to make their [shows], it’s a free country. But as Christians we also have the right not to support their company. I hope Christians everywhere will say no to Disney,” he wrote. 

On top of this, Malaysia pulled the film from theaters after Disney refused to allow the country to cut out the pro-gay scenes. Added to this is Russia which slapped a  16+ rating on the film, effectively banning children from seeing it. 

Earlier this month Christian owners of an Alabama drive-in theater said they would refuse to show the film because it would “compromise on what the Bible teaches.”

Meanwhile, LGBT activists are roasting Christians on mainstream media for what one called their “manic homophobia” that leads to “fatal beastliness.”

Hollywood pundits say Christian opposition to the film will “very unlikely” have any effect on box office sales. 

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Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne

News

‘To hell with accompaniment’: Catholic prof points to damage Pope Francis is causing the Church

Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne

March 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — American Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor is famous for answering a pronouncement by leftist author Mary McCarthy that the Eucharist is a “symbol” by exclaiming, albeit in a shaky voice: “Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it!”

Relating this encounter in a letter, O’Connor added: “That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable.”

O’Connor’s matchless apologia comes to mind when reading Douglas Farrow’s analysis on the crisis in the Catholic Church, and not because his essay in March’s First Things is titled: “To hell with accompaniment.” (It’s found under Discernment of Situations in the online edition.)

It’s because Farrow, a professor of Christian thought at McGill University, is clear that the rapidly rising discord in the Church centers “not merely on pastoral judgment with respect to the sacraments” but the sacraments themselves, and so “must be resolved, however painful the process.”

Farrow faults Pope Francis’ enigmatic spin on “discernment of situations” in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia for triggering the current “scandal of bishop against bishop, and of bishops permitting their priests to offer the sacraments where mortal sin is being committed.”

The Church’s fracturing into regionalism under the “rubric of ‘discernment of situations’” (a phrase Pope St. John Paul II used in his 1981 Familiaris Consortio) is itself a “failure to discern both the nature of the sacraments and the situation of the Church.”

Four cardinals, as is well known, have asked Pope Francis to clarify his contention in Amoris that “discernment” for Catholics in “irregular” unions may include the “help of the sacraments.” The pope has not responded directly to those five questions or dubia.

Farrow asserts the “trauma of the two synods on the family, which led to Amoris and to the dubia, is a trauma for which Francis himself is largely responsible. … And the flaws in Amoris are of his making.”

Moreover, Francis has “permitted, if not encouraged” an “ongoing rebellion” against Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, which upholds Catholic teaching that contraception is intrinsically evil, and Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, which systematically spells out Catholic moral doctrine.

But it is in his first apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, that Francis makes what Farrow describes “as perhaps the single most problematic remark by a pontiff given to problematic remarks.”

That is where the Holy Father prescribes “personal accompaniment in the process of growth.”

He writes: “The Church will have to initiate everyone – priests, religious and laity – into this ‘art of accompaniment’ which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf. Ex 3:5).”

Canada’s Atlantic bishops’ assembly used this remark to justify taking “much the same posture” toward legalized euthanasia as their predecessors did toward Humanae Vitae in their “notorious” 1968 Winnipeg Statement, notes Farrow.

That Statement permitted “the faithful to decide freely for themselves, without any fear of sacramental discipline, whether contraception is or isn’t a grave sin.”

Similarly, in their guidelines on “Medical assistance in Dying” the Atlantic bishops declare: “As people of faith, and ministers of God’s grace, we are called to entrust everyone, whatever their decisions may be, to the mercy of God.”

They add: “To one and all we wish to say that the pastoral care of souls cannot be reduced to norms for the reception of the sacraments or the celebration of funeral rites.”

“In other words,” Farrow notes wryly, “the most important thing in discerning situations is not this principle or that, but, well, discerning situations. Which is not really very difficult, because in the final analysis there is only one situation: Whatever your decision, we will commend you to God.”

This “unprincipled accompaniment forgets divine justice in its rush to divine mercy,” he writes. “It is Winnipeg all over again. There, the bishops made themselves chaplains to the contraceptive culture; here, to the culture of death.”

In Winnipeg, however, the bishops could not claim to be practicing the “art of accompaniment.”

In Exodus, to which Francis’ “sacred ground” remark refers, Moses stands on ground made holy by the presence of God, Farrow points out.

In stark contrast, the Atlantic assembly of bishops are removing their “apostolic sandals before the autonomous man” who in asserting the decision to kill himself — or to contracept, abort, engage in adulterous or same-sex couplings — is his to make, asserts his independence from God.

“What irony there is, then, in this appeal to Exodus to justify the kind of ‘pastoral accompaniment’ that refuses to discipline sacramentally those who have chosen the path of self-assertion and self-destruction!” writes Farrow.

It is “scandalous” that an “assembly of bishops should take up this analogy, which transfers the concept of ‘sacred ground’ from God to man, and use it to deny the clear moral judgment of the Church against suicide and euthanasia.”

Pope Francis, however, seems “untroubled” by the scandal, Farrow observes. “Or perhaps, since the bishops are not only using his words but following his example, he thinks it no scandal.”

Quebec’s Cardinal Gerald Lacroix took an approach similar to the Atlantic bishops’ assembly in responding to legalized euthanasia, but the Alberta and Northwest Territories bishops released a “model guide for clergy.”

The Alberta bishops’ guidelines stress “both pastoral readiness to accompany anyone who desires accompaniment and sacramental discipline for those who purposefully persist on the path to the mortal sin of suicide.”  

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Cyril of Jerusalem contended that “disunity among the bishops over these matters” is “a sign of Antichrist and of the second advent,” writes Farrow. “It is ‘a sign proper to the Church,’ because it goes to the core of the Church.”

While his “own efforts to read the signs of the times” are “inconclusive,” it is clear “we are living in a long period of apostasy and of purification.”

And it’s also clear the Catholic Church “has been under extraordinary pressure to compromise the sacraments and, just so, to change the Gospel that is embodied in them.”

The “old gods, sex, mammon, and death, are reviving and reasserting themselves as the gods of autonomy,” he wrote.

“They are groping even for the holy sacraments, that they might defile them. In this situation, do we really need more talk about the internal forum and ‘the sacred ground of the other’?”

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Rebecca Kiessling
Natalia Dueholm Natalia Dueholm

News

No freedom of speech in Poland: Public universities cancel talks by American pro-life speaker

Natalia Dueholm Natalia Dueholm

WARSAW, Poland, March 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Four universities were pressured by the radical left this week to cancel talks by American pro-life speaker Rebecca Kiessling, forcing organizers to move her presentations to alternate locations during a speaking tour in Poland.

Ultimately, however, these intimidation tactics backfired.

The Polish legal organization Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture invited Kiessling to speak, primarily in university towns. Kiessling is an American mother and lawyer who was conceived in rape.

The plan was to meet students, journalists, politicians and pro-life activists. Kiessling wrote on her Facebook page that she came “to speak on behalf of #OrdoIuris efforts to remove #RapeException from the 1993 law.”

Joanna Zając of Ordo Iuris explained to LifeSiteNews that Kiessling was scheduled to speak at four public universities, in Warsaw, Wrocław, Toruń and Krakow, but all were cancelled after protests by left-wing activists, including the radical Together party. Warsaw University backed down because the event “promoted specific beliefs and was not an academic discussion.”

The organizers agreed to change the format of the event from a lecture to a discussion and still hoped Kiessling would be able to speak at the university. In other cases, the organizers simply moved the event somewhere else.

The only university that did not succumb to the pressure was the Catholic University in Lublin, where Kiessling’s appearance went as planned. It can be viewed here.

“I've never had a speech cancelled in the United States,” she explained.

In Canada, it happened once, but the community college “quickly rescheduled the event with an apology for the mix-up,” Kiessling told LifeSiteNews.

Minister of Science and Higher Education Jarosław Gowin called the actions of Polish institutions of higher learning “censorship.” In a statement released on the government website, he supported the right to free speech, particularly Kiessling’s right to speak on University campuses throughout Poland. She was “absolutely thrilled” by his statement.

Kiessling said in a video that she was not surprised to see “bullies who wanted to silence her,” but she was surprised that the universities cancelled the event.

“In the U.S., they would get sued for this,” she added.

Kiessling, a mother of five, thanked the protesters because they helped her “reach far more people with all the media attention.” She told LifeSiteNews that she is very pleased that several other universities stepped up to have her speak when the others cancelled. The turnout at those events was phenomenal.

“I feel like I should be sending a basket of fruit or bouquet of flowers to those who protested having me speak because my story has reached far more people than it would have ever reached if I was merely speaking at a university,” Kiessling said.

Visiting Poland for the first time, she told wpolityce.pl that her grandmother, whom she credits for teaching her about pro-life issues, came to the United States from the Polish region of Galicia, when her family fled the Nazi occupation of the country.

She has had almost non-stop media interviews and a full schedule while in the country. At the end of her first day in Poland, her story was covered in more than 100 Polish newspapers.

Some of the attention has been negative. Someone on Facebook threatened to break her legs.

“Hopefully, you will be hearing from the police soon,” she joked. “Nice try scaring me, but I will not be silenced and I will not live in fear.”

Mariusz Dzierżawski of Right to Life Foundation saw Kiessling speak at the Polish Parliament. He told LifeSiteNews that “her testimony is very compelling, very emotional and personal but not overly melodramatic.” He added that thanks to her, his determination to fight for the right to live grew even more.

Indeed, Kiessling’s story of rape and adoption is shocking and persuasive. She was conceived when her mother was brutally assaulted at knife-point by a stranger, a serial rapist. Given away for adoption, she learned about her past when she was 18. Kiessling’s biological mother admitted to her that she would have aborted her had abortion been legal at the time.

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Kiessling’s experiences taught her the importance of legal protection for the unborn. That’s why she has been fighting to eliminate the rape exception. She created an organization “Save the1” that helps sexual assault victims and those conceived in rape. Her work changed her mother’s mind on the topic, as well as that of former Texas governor Rick Perry.

Despite the cancellations, Kiessling has already had an impact in Poland. She wrote on her Facebook page that after speaking at the Catholic University in Lublin, one female student came up to her to tell her that she changed her mind about abortion. The packed auditorium gave Kiessling a standing ovation at the end of her speech, and only five people had showed up to protest beforehand.

”It was a great success,” Kiessling wrote.

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John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

News

My head is spinning!

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

First, a quick update: Today is Day 3 of our crucial spring fundraising campaign, and we have raised $20,223 of our $225,000 minimum goal. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated so far! (To donate, click here)

If you’ve been reading LifeSite for a while, you already know how vitally important our quarterly fundraising campaigns are to our mission.

Without the incredible generosity of thousands of readers like you, we simply could not continue functioning or reach the literally tens of millions of people who visit our site every year to learn the TRUTH about abortion, marriage, faith, freedom and so much more!

But if you’re newer to LifeSite maybe you’re wondering why you should consider donating to our Spring campaign, and what the money will be used for.

Those are good questions, and I’m happy to answer them!
 

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In some ways, the answer is pretty straightforward.

LifeSite is not just the #1 most-read pro-life website on the Internet. We’re also the only global news agency with a team of trained, professional, full-time journalists whose job it is to provide the BIG PICTURE perspective of the battle between the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death!

There is literally no other news website where you will find original, in-depth, professional reporting on every aspect of the culture wars around the globe from a fearlessly, and uncompromisingly pro-life and pro-family perspective.

At LifeSite we don’t just cover abortion, but also marriage, the growing threat of gender ideology, euthanasia and assisted suicide, religious freedom, embryonic research, and countless other topics. And we reveal and educate our readers about how all of these attacks by advocates of the Culture of Death are inter-related!

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LifeSite now consists of 25+ full- and part-time professional pro-life journalists, editors, and support staff - dedicated 100% to fighting for life, family, faith, and freedom! Meanwhile, our sprawling website now hosts over 60,000 articles going back 20 years, and welcomes some 25-30 MILLION visitors every single year!

And yet, with the growing chaos and confusion in the culture, and even within the Church, it has become clear that there’s still so, so much more that we need to do!

Indeed, what you might not know is that LifeSite is also much more than a pro-life and pro-family news agency!

In fact, there’s so much going on at LifeSite these days, that it can be difficult to keep up.

Some of the other projects we have either launched or are involved in right now are:

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And then, on top of that, there’s the speaking engagements, conferences, media appearances, vital networking and strategizing with other pro-life leaders, long-term research projects on which our staff spend weeks or even months - all dedicated to one simple mission: to facilitate and generate cultural change for the protection and promotion of life and family.

For the past 20 years, LifeSite has been an almost completely crowd-funded independent news agency! It is only thanks to that growing army of many thousands of committed readers and supporters like you that any of this has been possible.

Meanwhile, the loyal support of our thousands of donors has left us completely free free to report the hard (and, sadly, in our increasingly secular culture, often unpopular!) truths, without having to worry about losing corporate sponsors, government grants, big advertisers, or other financial interests!

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They will be leaders, activists, parents, politicians, and everyday readers who want to stay informed on breaking, always reliable, professionally-researched news related to life and family issues - written by journalists who are far freer than most to report the whole truth.

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French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir argued that women have always been defined by their relations to men and will therefore always have subordinate roles
Michael Cook

Opinion,

Gender theory: individualism gone stark, raving mad

Michael Cook

March 17, 2017 (MercatorNet) -- The love that dared not speak its name in 1894 has become the love that cannot stop gabbling on in 2017. How did this come about? Is there a thread connecting Oscar Wilde, the Stonewall Riots, same-sex marriage, Caitlin Jenner and North Caroline bathrooms?

One of clearest recent explorations of the history of changing notions of sexuality comes in an issue of the journal Communio. In “Gender Ideology and the Humanum” Margaret H. McCarthy, an American academic, sketches out the tortured path of contemporary gender theory. It is long and dense but rewarding.

Gender ideology has been simmering for centuries, perhaps ever since the French philosopher Rene Descartes (1596-1650) conceived of man as a ghost in a machine, a mind imprisoned inside a body. His dualism shattered the ancient and medieval conception of man as a unity of body and soul and set the stage for a modern framework in which the mind is the master builder and the body is a just a quarry of resources.

McCarthy’s Exhibit A in her precis of recent developments is Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986), the immensely influential French feminist philosopher. In her book The Second Sex, de Beauvoir argued that women have always been defined by their relations to men and will therefore always have subordinate roles. McCarthy summarises this critique as follows:

It is important to note that at the beginning and the heart of the theory of gender as a “social construct” is a deep malaise about the body itself, in particular the female body. The root of the problem lies there, well in advance of any education or socialization of the famous “girl who will become a woman.” It is the woman’s body that opposes her existence as a person. It is therefore ultimately her own body that the woman must resist. For de Beauvoir this takes the form, predominantly, of either preventing pregnancy from occurring altogether or stopping it in its tracks should it occur.

Building on de Beauvoir’s theory that women need to become alienated from their femininity, Shulamith Firestone (1945-2012), a Canadian-American Marxist feminist, argued that the problem was deeper than male oppression. Women were oppressed by the fact of having bodies which required of them the sacrifice of child-bearing and rearing. She wrote in The Dialectic of Sex:

the end goal of feminist revolution must be, unlike that of the first feminist movement, not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sex distinction itself: genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally ... The reproduction of the species by one sex for the benefit of both would be replaced by (at least the option of) artificial reproduction: children would be born to both sexes equally, or independently of either, however one chooses to look at it ... The tyranny of the biological family would be broken.

With recent developments in reproductive technology, Firestone’s predictions are no longer looking like science fiction. IVF has become widespread; scientists are developing artificial eggs and sperm; and raising a fetus outside the human body in an artificial womb is a possibility, albeit remote.

The last figure profiled by McCarthy is Judith Butler (1956 -), whose ideas are so progressive that she can scarcely be called a feminist at all. She has popularised the notion that gender is not something essential, but “performative”; it is an illusion created by constant repetition of stylized actions. Butler’s antagonist is the body itself. The very fact of coming into the world with a body with all its characteristics – sex being just one of them – is a sign of bondage to nature which must be overcome. McCarthy observes:

To be clear, Butler is not aiming only at bad conceptions of the body (and its feminine representative), but at the idea that there be a conception of the body at all, that the body be anything in particular. It is, for Butler, the very idea of the fixity and indisputability of the body that is so pernicious, since this idea “successfully buries and masks the genealogy of power relations by which it is constituted” and by which it is put in its place.

McCarthy notes perceptively: “It is as though we are all effectively hermaphrodites regardless of our anatomy or any other physiological make up.”

The key battle is waged over what it means for a human being to be free. “What these tortured variations of ‘gender as a social construct’ share is a view of the body as a problematic limit to freedom—freedom conceived as pure self-initiating self-determination.” Ultimately the gender radicals believe that we are pure will “fastened to a dying animal”, as Yeats put it. Butler extends Descartes’ separation between mind and body to the nth degree. Mind is most free when it dominates the body and exploits it.

What explains this desperate impulse to deny the self-evident facts of biology, even to the point of ignoring discoveries that our sexual differences extend right down to the cellular level and do not exist merely in our reproductive organs?

McCarthy’s answer is novel and, if it is right, alarming. She points out a sexual body only makes sense in relations of dependence and interaction: mother-father-child and man-woman. We are all children who owe our existence to a man and a woman and our bodies speak the language of dependency and community.

To achieve the absolute freedom of which they dream, gender theorists must repudiate these relationships. Instead of the Judeao-Christian conviction that “it is not good for man to be alone”, they assert, “it is good to be alone”. “Sartre was not entirely wrong when he said, famously, that the ‘other is hell’,” comments McCarthy sardonically.

Gender theory, she says, is “meant to protect us from the reality that we are ‘from’ and ‘for’ others.” It is individualism gone stark, raving mad. Perhaps Shulamith Firestone’s tragic passing was emblematic of this Robinson Crusoe philosophy. When she died in 2012, she was schizophrenic, starving, and alone. She had been dead for a week before her body was discovered in her Manhattan apartment.

McCarthy does not discuss the political consequences of her analysis at any length. But there are two obvious developments to be expected, one in the short-term and one in the long-term.

In the short term, the family will lose its status as “the natural and fundamental group unit of society ... entitled to protection by society and the State”, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 16, 3) describes it. There is simply no privileged place for family relationships in a society which has incorporated gender theory into its legal system. If we are all free to choose our favourite mode of gender, then having children is obviously a mere personal option. People who want to raise children deserve no more respect than people who want to raise alpacas.  

And in the long term, how can democracy as we know it survive? Democracy is more than just the arithmetic of 50%+1. It is a political culture which assumes that people take responsibility for each other, first within families, then within society. A political order based on gender theory which repudiates social bonds, fosters extreme individualism and teaches that the “other is hell” will be a very strange kind of democracy indeed.

So there is more at stake than just bathrooms. Whether its protagonists realise it or not, the end point of the gender project is not merely reshaping sexual behaviour, but society itself.

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet.

Reprinted with permission from MercatorNet.

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Dred Scott
John Stonestreet John Stonestreet

Opinion

Forgiveness and reconciliation for our times: The descendants of Dred Scott show the way

John Stonestreet John Stonestreet

March 17, 2017 (BreakPoint) -- Earlier this month, March 6th, marked the 160th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s infamous Dred Scott decision. Dred Scott v. Sanford, along with Plessy v. Ferguson (which enshrined the principle of “separate but equal”) and Roe v. Wade, form a kind of unholy trinity of Supreme Court rulings which legally declared entire classes of people non-persons.

Yet this infamous decision recently became the occasion for a remarkable act of grace.

First some historical background: For the decades preceding the 1857 decision, the country was torn over the issue of slavery. While actual abolitionists did form a small majority in the North (and ideas of racial equality were rare even among abolitionists), northern whites did not want to compete against slave labor in the territories west of the Mississippi river.

That brings me to Dred Scott the man. In 1830, his second master took him from Missouri, a slave state, to Illinois, where slavery was illegal. In 1836, both returned to Missouri. After several attempts to buy his and his family’s freedom, Scott sued his master’s estate, claiming that under what was known as the “Somerset Rule,” which could be summed up as “once free, always free,” his late master had, in effect, set him free by moving him to a free state.

And that brings me to Dred Scott the decision. Chief Justice Taney could have decided Scott’s case on narrow terms. But he had something far more ambitious in mind: He wanted to settle the slavery issue once and for all.

The least infamous part of his opinion ruled that Congress could not ban slavery in the territories, thus making the Civil War all but inevitable.

The most infamous part concerned the status of African Americans. He ruled that Blacks, enslaved or free, could not be citizens of the United States. He justified this by writing that, historically-speaking, Blacks had been “regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

Like I said, infamous.

All of this makes what happened last week on the 160th anniversary of the decision so remarkable. Standing before the Maryland State House, Charlie Taney, a descendant of Roger Taney, apologized on his family’s behalf, to Scott’s descendants and African Americans in general for the “terrible injustice of the Dred Scott decision.”

Then Scott’s great-great granddaughter, Lynne Jackson, accepted the apology on behalf of “all African Americans who have the love of God in their heart so that healing can begin.”

I’m guessing I know where Ms. Jackson spends her Sunday mornings.

Some people will no doubt dismiss this as a kind of theater. After all, Charlie Taney isn’t responsible for what his ancestor wrote. But that misses the point.

What’s going on here is the acknowledgment of an historical wrong followed by an act of grace which holds out the possibility of a new beginning–in other words, what the New Testament calls “reconciliation.”

Reconciliation comes from a Greek word whose principle meaning is “exchange.” In fact, it was principally used in reference to money-changing, where the parties exchanged coins of equal worth.

In this case something far more valuable than money is being exchanged: the acknowledgement of past wrongs for a restoration of relationships and the possibility of, to use another biblical term, shalom: peace, wholeness, and contentment.

Despite Justice Taney’s best efforts, Dred Scott died a free man. His first master’s family bought him back from the estate with the express purpose of freeing him. Many thanks to Mr. Scott’s and Justice Taney’s descendants for showing us the path to reconciliation in these divisive times.

Reprinted with permission from Break Point.

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Laurie Higgins

Opinion

Liberal mom’s harrowing account of a man in the women’s restroom at Disneyland

Laurie Higgins

March 17, 2017 (Illinois Family Institute) — Leftists smugly ask what they perceive to be THE “gotcha” question about trannies in restrooms: “So, are we going to have genital police?” To those smugsters, I ask, “How will you determine whether the burly, bearded, bulging-biceped person in the women’s restroom or locker room is a member of the “trans” cult or a predator pretending to be a member of the “trans” cult?”

Please read this short blog post from liberal California mom Kristen Quintrall whose eyes were (partially) opened by an experience in the women’s restroom at Disneyland:

I didn’t know if I was going to write this blog or not. A part of me was scared it’d be shared as some transgender hot piece about yet another homophobic mom lashing out at Disney and then I’d have to deal with the wrath of the internet telling me to kill myself. So let me be clear. This isn’t that story. This is a story about a biological man in the women’s restroom.

I’ve lived in Los Angeles for over a decade and have seen my fair share of transgender/gender fluid people. They in no way offend me. I’d consider myself pretty progressive and tolerant of most things….But how transgender people feel, how they choose to dress or any surgeries they get, don’t infringe on any parts of my life, so I support their decision to live as they see fit. I’ve also seen my fair share of transgender women in the women’s restroom before. Not ALL the time. But over the past few years, I’d say 4-5 that I noticed. Men…who were in some stage of transition and making every attempt to be a woman from mascara to heels. Transgenders who certainly felt comfortable in the women’s room and probably frightened to go into the men’s. At these times, I smiled…I peed…and life went on. But 2 weeks ago something very different happened. 

I was at Disneyland with my son, my friend and her son. We were over in California Adventure in the food court area. We’d just finished eating and decided to pee before we headed out to The Little Mermaid. I went to the bathroom while she watched our boys in their strollers, and then I did the same…. 

I was off to the side waiting with the two boys, when I noticed a man walk into the restroom. My first thought was “Oh sh*t, he’s walked in the wrong restroom by mistake. lol” He took a few more steps, at which point he would’ve definitely noticed all the women lined up and still kept walking. My next thought was, “Maybe he’s looking for his wife…or child and they’ve been in here a while.” But he didn’t call out any names or look around. He just stood off to the side and leaned up against the wall. At this point I’m like, “[ ] Ok there is definitely a very manly hispanic man in a Lakers jersey who just walked in here. Am I the only one seeing this?” I surveyed the room and saw roughly 12 women, children in tow…staring at him with the exact same look on their faces. Everyone was visibly uncomfortable. We were all trading looks and motioning our eyes over to him…like “what is he doing in here?” Yet every single one of us was silent. And this is the reason I wrote this blog. 

If this had been 5 years ago, you bet you’re a*s every woman in there would’ve been like, “Ummm what are you doing in here?”, but in 2017? the mood has shifted. We had been culturally bullied into silenced. Women were mid-changing their baby’s diapers on the changing tables and I could see them shifting to block his view. But they remained silent. I stayed silent. We all did. Every woman who exited a stall and immediately zeroed right in on him…said nothing. And why? B/c I…and I’m sure all the others were scared of that “what if”. What if I say something and he says he “identifies as a woman” and then I come off as the intolerant a*shole….? So we all stood there, shifting in our uncomfortableness…trading looks. I saw two women leave the line with their children. Still nothing was said. An older lady said to me out loud, “What is he doing in here?” I’m ashamed to admit I silently shrugged and mouthed, “I don’t know.” She immediately walked out…from a bathroom she had every right to use without fear.

So there lingered this unspoken doubt everyone had….that .00001% chance this wasn’t a man. Let me be clear. This was totally a man. If this wasn’t a man, this was a woman who had fully transitioned via surgery and hormones into a man and had also gotten an adam’s apple implant, chest hair and size 9-10 shoes ….and at that point, what are you doing in the women’s restroom?

And let me be clear, my problem wasn’t JUST that there was a man in the restroom. Its that he wasn’t even peeing, washing his hands or doing anything else that you’d do in a restroom. He was just standing off to the side looking smug…untouchable… doing absolutely nothing. He had to of noticed that every woman in the long line was staring at him. He didn’t care. He then did a lap around the restroom walking by all the stalls. You know, the stalls that have 1 inch gaps by all the doors hinges so you can most definitely see everyone with their pants around their ankles…..

So here I am…writing this blog, because honestly I need answers. We can’t leave this situation ambiguous any more. The gender debate needs to be addressed….and quickly. There have to be guidelines. It can’t just be a feeling. I’m sorry. I wish it could, but it can’t. I’m fine going by “if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck…it’s a duck.”…But this notion that we’re shamed into silence b/c we might offend someone, has gone too far.

There was a man in the bathroom. Not transgender. There was a man who felt entitled to be in the woman restroom, because he knew no one would say anything. There were 20-25 people by the time I left, who were scared and uncomfortable by his ominous presence. And the only thing stopping us, was our fear of political correctness and that the media has told us we don’t know what gender is anymore. I never want to be in the position again. Im not asking for permission to tell transgender people to get out my bathroom. I need to know it’s ok to tell a man, who looks like a man, to get [ ] out. Gender just can’t be a feeling. There has to be science to it. DNA, genitals, amount of Sephora make up on your face, pick your poison, but as a very progressive woman…I’m sorry it can’t just be a feeling when theres but a mere suggestion of a door with a peep hole separating your eyes from my vagina or my children’s genitals.

I commend Quintrall for her courage and partial insight, but she doesn’t see the intellectual and moral incoherence that yet animate her new position.

She says this man wasn’t transgender. He was a “biological male.” She says there “has to be science to it.” Well, science tells us that the sex of persons can never change. Men who identify as “trans” remain always biological males. So, the man who through castration and cross-sex hormone-doping looks like a woman and talks like a woman remains forever a man. And women should be no more comfortable with the frock-wearing, Sephora-painted man sashaying past women doing their business in stalls than they would be if a construction worker in Carhartts lumbered past the stall door.

Objective sex either matters in private spaces or doesn’t matter. And if it doesn’t matter—if biological sex has no intrinsic meaning—we should eradicate all single-sex contexts everywhere. That would include restrooms, dressing rooms, locker rooms, showers, saunas, steam rooms, and semi-private hospital rooms.

Quintrall suggests that if this man-appearing person were actually a fully-“transitioned” “transman” (i.e., a woman), she should be using the men’s restroom. Wrong. Women cannot become men, and no women—not even women in disguise—belong in men’s restrooms.

And this brings us to the thorny problem of where these confused people should go to do their private business. Not to be unkind, but that’s a problem of their own creation. With regard to restrooms, most places of public accommodation have single-occupancy family restrooms that fully-disguised men and women can use. With regard to locker rooms, they’re out of luck. They should change and shower at home.

If people would bother to read more deeply on this critical cultural issue—that is, the meaning of sexual differentiation—they would learn that sexual anarchists seek to obliterate any and all public recognition of and respect for sexual differentiation.

The ignorant among us do not yet know that the “gender” eradication movement believes that “identifying” as the opposite sex requires nothing more than a verbal assertion. No diagnosis, no cross-dressing, no cross-sex hormone-doping, no surgery needed. Don’t misunderstand me. None of those can transmute men into women or vice versa. Unfortunately, I hear even from some purported conservatives that they’re fine with men who wish they were women using women’s restrooms as long as they’ve been castrated. But such a statement implies that the only issue with trannies in private spaces is the risk of physical predation in the form of peeping or assault. It’s not.

The central issue is the meaning of objective, immutable biological sex.

This article was 0riginally published on the Illionois Family Institute website and is re-published with permission.

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Lori Handrahan

Opinion

Child porn crisis has reached ‘epidemic proportions’ in North America

Lori Handrahan

March 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The illegal trade in children being raped and violently abused is at “a level of epidemic proportions” according to an internal Canadian government memo obtained last summer by The Canadian Press.

It was the fourth major statement by North American senior government staff warning of a crisis that too few in the media seem prepared to recognize much less report on.

— In 2015, FBI Assistant Director Joseph Campbell announced, in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), there is an epidemic of child sex trafficking and pedophilia sweeping America.

— At a June press conference, Special Agent John Reynolds with U.S. Department of Homeland Security said “the incidence of child sexual exploitation has reached staggering proportions.”

— Last May, then director of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Service, Daniel Payne told reporters the “amount of child porn” on government computers is just “unbelievable.”

As a leading child pornography researcher, I asked for clarification from Payne’s office and was told, “Director Payne was speaking from his 34 years of experience in the field of counterintelligence and security, and involvement in the Inspector General community. His remarks were not Agency specific; rather, he was speaking in terms of the government as a whole.”

In 2015, the U.S. State Department’s Director of Counter-terrorism, Daniel Rosen, was arrested for computer solicit of a child under 15 years old for sex/sodomy. Journalists reported this was the3rd U.S. Official Hit With Child Sex and Porn Charges” when, in fact, far more than three U.S. government employees had been arrested on child sex abuse-related charges.

The United States may be producing and distributing an estimated half of the world’s child rape and torture videos and images. According to Europol, the Europe-wide police investigative agency, half of all servers distributing child sex abuse are located in the U.S.

In the first quarter of 2014 alone, there were some 2,048 sites in the U.S. trading in child rape and torture. In 2015, Europol reported that U.S. child sex abuse sites increased from 516 to 2,617 — far greater than any other country.

None of this was covered by U.S. media outlets.

In 2014, the Australian Communications and Media Authority reported a 500 percent increase, in one reporting year, of child sex abuse images/videos, of which 64 percent were hosted on USA-based internet servers. Australian authorities estimated 80,000 children had been trafficked for rape and torture to produce these images/videos and said the majority were girls under 13 years old.

Again, this was all but ignored by North American media outlets.

Why does it seem so difficult for journalists report on the full scale of child rape and torture occurring to thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of children in North America?

The Boston Globe won recognition with the award-winning film Spotlight, depicting how Globe reporters investigated the systematic child rape and its cover-up by Catholic Church. Yet while journalists heaped praise on the Globe, the media has simultaneously ignored bomb-shell statements from top government officials about “epidemic” and “unbelievable” child rape and torture, often called child pornography, that is washing over North America.

The current crisis in the brutal abuse and rape of children, often of very young children including infants and toddlers, is destroying an entire generation of children. It has all but been ignored by the media. Journalists and editors must start connecting the dots and reporting on the wider context of child sex abuse in North America, rather than one-off reports of individual arrests.

All of our futures depends on better journalism focused on this staggering epidemic destroying so many of our children.

Dr. Lori Handrahan is a leading expert on child pornography in America. She has created a start-up building the first database of child pornography arrests at www.data4justice. She can be reached on her website: www.LoriHandrahan.com

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Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Blogs

5 things Christians need to be wary of in the Trump era

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March 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) - As the mainstream media implodes and our political paradigms radically shift, Christians face a media landscape that is evolving nearly daily and littered with new outfits clamoring for our attention. This comes with opportunities and perils alike—when the old institutions start to crumble, they are not necessarily replaced with anything more desirable.

Amid all of the shouting, I’d like to make five brief points and observations, all of which I plan to write full columns on in the coming months.

1. We need to stop getting sucked in by fake news stories. I see these getting posted in my Facebook newsfeed, and it makes me cringe. Christians have a responsibility to truth, and posting fictitious conspiracy theories makes us look both deceitful and gullible. It’s pretty easy to tell if something is fake news or not—just look at the URL. If it’s something like screaminglibertyfreedomeagle.com, it’s probably run by some kid in Ukraine. If you need to check further, a quick poke around the Internet will let you know if anyone else is reporting the same story.

2. In addition to truth, goodness and beauty also seem to be getting lost in the noise. Much of the political debate now seems fueled by rage—which has its place—to the exclusion of all other sentiments. The enemy must be destroyed, not persuaded. The opposition must be crushed, not convinced. Yes, the progressive Left created this climate. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t responsible to remain true to our principles and our beliefs. Relativism is their thing, not ours.

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3. We have to remember that while there are many different factions on the right-wing of the political spectrum that may be co-belligerents in the fight against secular progressivism, we need to be discerning. Anti-Semitic alt-righters, for example, can have no place within any movement identifying as Christian. The vicious meme trolls, cyber lynch mobs, and other online commentators passing off objectively racist remarks as mischievousness and trying to hijack conservatism with their libertine nihilism should not be defended, much less humored or courted by those who make the mistake of seeing them as edgy.

4. Some conservative outlets must get over their instinctive compulsion to defend each and every thing Donald Trump says or does. To view any politician as uncritically as much of conservative media (with many notable exceptions) is doing is dangerous, much less a man as unpredictable as Trump is. Nothing in his past dealings or in his campaign gave any indication that he was the sort of solid, dependable, and principled man deserving of such trust. Gleeful celebration each time Trump smashes the media may feel cathartic, but it’s eliminating the ability to see things clearly and objectively.

5. The same goes for celebrity culture. The “enemy of my enemy is my friend” mentality is beginning to create ridiculous scenarios, such as Catholic bloggers describing flamboyant provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos as one of the best representatives of Catholicism today. This is a man who brags about his promiscuous behavior with scores of men, regularly dresses in drag, refers to women as the c-word, and represents Catholics by posting pictures on his Instagram page featuring men kissing in front of a Bible with the slogan “Gay 4 God.” But because Milo can really take it to the lefties and drive them insane, Christians strain themselves to find ways of defending his behavior. The obvious hypocrisy must have previous generations spinning in their graves.

In the clash of the culture war and the din of the frenetic political chaos, Christians need to remember that our responsibilities transcend petty political loyalties and the corresponding destruction of political opponents. The enemy of our enemy is not always our friend—sometimes they merely threaten the moral fabric of society from a different angle or on a different front.

Goodness, truth, and beauty cannot be ignored, our principles cannot be ignored, and our responsibility to represent what we believe in fraught times only grows. 

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The Pulse

Tomi Lahren defended abortion. She’s wrong, and it matters.

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Tomi Lahren styles herself a “young, conservative woman”—and her sharp rise as a TV show host, she says, is an indication that there is an audience hungry for her message, which she’s described in the past as “anti-feminist.” Her show Tomi on The Blaze is wildly popular, mainly for her consistent defences of Donald Trump, and her young audience loves her for her willingness to face off with left-wing commentators like Trevor Noah of the Daily Show.

Considering her growing influence in conservative circles, especially women, it was very disappointing to hear Lahren defend abortion during her debut appearance on The View.

“I’m pro-choice and here is why,” she said. “I am someone that loves the Constitution, I am someone that is for limited government, so I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government but I think the government should decide what women do with their bodies. Stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well.”

Lahren may be a fresh voice on many issues, but on abortion she trots out the same stale, debunked talking points the abortion movement has been using out for years. For starters, there is no constitutional right to abortion. The creators of Roe v. Wade produced a ruling so terrible—even from the legal perspective—that even many abortion supporters have admitted it. Legal scholar John Hart Ely, a supporter or abortion, wrote in the Yale Law Journal that Roe v. Wade is “bad constitutional law, or rather…it is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.”

Lahren’s appeal to limited government is also ridiculous. Whatever one’s opinion on government, from the left end of the spectrum to the right, the one thing we should all be able to agree on is that the government’s duty is to protect people from one another. At a bare minimum, the government should uphold the simple right of human beings not to be killed by other human beings. Even the smallest of governments have an obligation to defend fundamental human rights, the right to life being first among them.

Which brings us to Lahren’s final point on abortion, the assertion that women should have the right to do what they want with their bodies. Well, sure. But that’s not the point. The human being developing in the womb is not part of the mother’s body. This is a simple scientific fact. What Tomi Lahren is advocating for here is a procedure in which someone actually has to force open the woman’s cervix in order to use tools to either suction the tiny girl or boy into bloody slurry, or actually dismember the baby piece by piece, reassembling the shattered child on a tray afterwards to ensure that all body parts have been evicted from the uterus.

It's a shame when young commentators with growing audiences choose to use their influence this way. It’s a shame when the same tired but still lethally dangerous ideas are promoted to huge numbers of people who need to know the truth about abortion. I can only hope that Tomi Lahren will realize that her point of view has nothing to do with limited government or women’s rights, and everything to do with the threatened lives of human beings in the womb.

Reprinted with permission from EndTheKilling.ca.

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Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

The Pulse

Google ‘review teams’ to flag ‘upsetting’ search results about ‘sexual orientation’

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March 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Google "review teams" will begin to flag "upsetting-offensive" content in search results, meaning "better" content will rank higher. 

Google "hopes this will prevent such content from crowding out factual, accurate and trustworthy information in the top search results," according to Search Engine Land. The new guidelines say offensive content includes "content that promotes hate or violence against a group of people based on criteria including (but not limited to) race or ethnicity, religion, gender, nationality or citizenship, disability, age, sexual orientation, or veteran status."

The examples Search Engine Land reported indicate websites promoting racism and Holocaust denial would be flagged. So would a website titled "Proof that Islam is Evil, Violent, and Intolerant – Straight from the Koran." 

"Being flagged as 'Upsetting-Offensive' by a quality rater does not actually mean that a page or site will be identified this way in Google’s actual search engine," Search Engine Land reported. "Instead, it’s data that Google uses so that its search algorithms can automatically spot pages generally that should be flagged."

One wonders how pro-life websites will fair under this new system, and what will happen to websites that promote Catholic or orthodox Christian teaching on marriage and human sexuality. 

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