All articles from May 16, 2017


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Blaine Adamson
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VICTORY: Court affirms Christian’s right to refuse in good faith to make ‘LGBT Pride’ shirts

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May 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Kentucky Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a previous court victory for a Christian who in 2012 declined to make a t-shirt for the Lexington homosexual “Pride Festival,” saying to do so would violate his faith.

Blaine Adamson's Lexington-based company, Hands On Originals Christian Outfitters, offers "high quality, customized Christian apparel," according to its website.

“The right of free speech does not guarantee to any person the right to use someone else’s property,” wrote Appeals Court Chief Judge Joy Kramer.  “The ‘conduct’ Hands On Originals chose not to promote was pure speech. … Nothing in the fairness ordinance prohibits Hands On Originals, a private business, from engaging in viewpoint or message censorship.”

In 2014, Adamson was found to be in violation of Lexington’s pro-LGBT “non-discrimination” ordinance by the city’s Human Rights Commission after politely turning down the “Lexington Pride Festival” design requested by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization, which is now called the Pride Community Services Organization.

With help from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Adamson appealed the decision and in 2015 Fayette Circuit Judge James Ishmael ruled that Adamson cannot be compelled to print a message he opposes “advocating sexual activity outside of a marriage between one man and one woman.”

The Appeals court victory upholds Ishmael’s ruling. Kramer ruled that there was no evidence demonstrating that Hands On Originals “refused any individual the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations it offered to everyone else because the individual in question had a specific sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Rather, Adamson objected to the pro-homosexuality message of the shirt. He accepts the historic biblical teaching that homosexual practice is sinful.

“Because of my Christian beliefs, I can’t promote that,” Adamson had told a Human Rights Commission hearing officer, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Specifically, it’s the Lexington Pride Festival, the name and that it’s advocating pride in being gay and being homosexual, and I can’t promote that message. It’s something that goes against my belief system.”

Adamson does business with homosexuals

ADF said in a press release celebrating the Appeals Court win: “In fact, Adamson regularly does business with and employs people who identify as LGBT.” 

Adamson stressed in a promotional video that he was not singling out homosexuals and that he has turned down other messages because he was adhering to his Christian conscience.

"We've had to turn down several jobs because of whatever the message may have been, even from customers whom we've worked with for years … When they present a message that conflicts with my convictions, it's not something that I can print — that's the line for me," he said.

Important victory for people of faith

Christian legal experts and pro-family advocates hailed the Appeals Court decision as an important affirmation of the First Amendment liberty of Americans not to be forced by the government to violate their faith.

“Americans should always have the freedom to believe, the freedom to express those beliefs, and the freedom to not express ideas that would violate their conscience,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Jim Campbell, who argued on behalf of Adamson before the appeals court in December.

Campbell said the May 12 decision “is a victory for printers and other creative professionals who serve all people but cannot promote all messages. It is also a victory for all Americans because it reassures us all that, no matter what you believe, the law can’t force you to express a message in conflict with your deepest convictions.”

“Protecting Blaine’s freedom affirms everyone’s freedom, no matter the nature of their beliefs or convictions,” Campell said. “The government shouldn’t be able to force citizens to create speech that conflicts with their deepest convictions, and the trial court’s decision rightly affirmed that.”

Mario Diaz, legal counsel to Concerned Women for America, praised the decision as “a great win for freedom and liberty, and a loss only to those seeking to impose their personal beliefs on those around them.”

“Christians should not be forced to violate their consciences in order to make a living,” Diaz told LifeSiteNews. “It is way past time we as a society recognize the oxymoronic nature of demanding conformity to a particular worldview in the name of diversity.”

He said such pro-homosexual discrimination against Christians “is in no way demanded by our Constitution and indeed to require this sort of homogenizing of belief under threat of law is itself a grave violation of the First Amendment.”  

Adamson’s case is among dozens in the United States and beyond in a battle of “rights” pitting committed Christians against LGBT advocates. In several of those cases, citizens who morally object to homosexuality or “gay marriage” have lost, as happened in 2013 in New Mexico, where husband-and-wife Christian photographers lost in the state’s highest court over their faith-based denial of a request to take photos at a lesbian “commitment ceremony.”

Homosexual small business owners agree

As LifeSiteNews reported in 2015, two lesbians owning their own t-shirt company supported Adamson’s conscience-based right of refusal, comparing his case hypothetically to their being compelled in the name of “nondiscrimination” to print a shirt for the Westboro Baptist Church of “God Hates Fags” notoriety.

"This isn't a gay or straight issue. This is a human issue,” said Diane DiGeloromo, one of two lesbians who owns BMP T-shirts, which sells t-shirts with “gay pride” designs. 

"You put your blood and your sweat and your tears into [your business]" and "it's very personal. ... When I put myself in [Mr. Adamson's] shoes, I could see it from his side," said DiGeloromo’s lesbian partner and co-owner, Kathy Trautvetter.

The Herald-Leader reported that in his dissenting opinion, Judge Jeff S. Taylor said refusing service due to a person objecting to homosexuality is “deliberate and intentional discriminatory conduct … in violation of the fairness ordinance.”

Taylor argued that the Appeals decision undermined the Lexington pro-LGBT ordinance by failing to protect the free speech of minority groups, according to the Herald-Leader.

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Bishop praises pro-life prayer warriors after abortion center shuts down

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SACRAMENTO, California, May 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – After operating in Sacramento for 42 years, the Women’s Health Specialists abortion clinic closed for good.

Bishop Jaime Soto expressed his gratitude to all in the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento who played a role in the shuttering of the abortion facility.

In a letter to the faithful of the diocese, Bishop Soto said, "I want to offer my thanks to everyone who has ever stood, even once, in peaceful prayer in front of any abortion facility."

Bishop Soto continued, “Year after year, on the sidewalk in front of this facility, there has been a steadfast presence of faith-filled people peacefully praying and offering a testimony of hope."

“Whether or to what extent this witness led to the closing of this facility should not be part of our Christian calculation. What matters is that those involved through these many years were patient. They persevered and they trusted that God would bring about His saving work in His own time. Paraphrasing a well-known dictum of St. Teresa of Kolkata, God does not ask us to be successful, only faithful."

“It is clear, though, that whenever there is any prayerful sidewalk presence of even one person, the no-show rates at an abortion center will tend to increase. This presence, portrayed as a threat by pro-abortion proponents, is in fact a light of friendship and hope leading women away from the shadows of fear and desperation.”

Bishop Soto is widely recognized for his strong commitment to pro-life, pro-family causes. In the past, he has led prayerful processions to abortion facilities. In 2008, he essentially crashed a meeting of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries by boldly delivering a speech on the sinfulness of homosexuality — far from what event organizers who invited him expected. He even urged the attendees to support California’s Proposition 8, a measure which sought to protect marriage as a sacred covenant between a man and a woman.

In 2010, Bishop Soto was selected by the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) to head the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).

Most recently, in December, he called for the clergy and laity of the Sacramento diocese to “join him in cooperating with God’s merciful grace” by fasting, praying, doing penance, and performing works of mercy on January 23, the official observance of the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

“May our prayers, acts of penance, public witness, and works of charity on these days help restore a culture of life and a civilization of love to our country, so marred by the Court decision of Roe v. Wade and other assaults on human dignity,” he said.

In his letter of gratitude, Bishop Soto noted that quite wonderfully, as the Women’s Health Specialists abortion facility shut down permanently, “the Sacramento Life Center expanded to a new facility, ‘offering a life-saving alternative for women, children, and men, many of whom were referred to the Center by the sidewalk witnesses.’”

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German cardinal: John Paul II yielded to pressure from advisers not to name Russia in consecration

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KARAGANDA, Kazakhstan, May 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A German cardinal has independently confirmed the contention of late exorcist Fr. Gabriel Amorth that John Paul II wanted to mention Russia by name when he consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1984 but was persuaded not to by his Vatican advisers.

Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes spoke about the consecration during his homily at the concluding Mass for a Marian Congress at Karaganda, Kazakhstan, on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima and in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Fatima, writes Maike Hickson in OnePeterFive.

May 13 is the first day the Virgin Mary appeared to the three shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal, 100 years ago.

In subsequent apparitions, one each month until October, Mary warned Russia would fall into evil ways and “scatter her errors throughout the world” if not consecrated to her Immaculate Heart.

Cordes, former president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, said he spoke to John Paul after the 1984 consecration, or “entrustment," which took place March 25, when the statue of Our Lady of Fatima was in Rome.

“Obviously, for a long time [the pope] had dealt with that significant mission which the Mother of God had given to the seer children there,” Cordes said.

“However, he held back to mention Russia explicitly, because the Vatican diplomats had urgently asked him not to mention this country because otherwise political conflicts might perhaps arise.”

Cordes related that during a lunch with the pope and several others after the consecration, Pope John Paul related “with joy” that some Orthodox bishops had gone ahead and consecrated Russia to Mary.

Hickson writes that Cordes described the occasion thus:

He talked in a small circle about how he felt this urge inside also to mention Russia at that Consecration, but that he then gave way to his counselors. And he then told us with a glowing face: What he renounced for himself, had nevertheless been fulfilled, he said. Through friends he heard something for him important and consoling, namely that some Orthodox Russian bishops had taken his own consecration of the world to the Mother of God as an occasion also to consecrate Russia in a special way to Mary. When he spoke about this story, I could see his joy – surely also about the fact that they had fulfilled his urgent yearning; but also because he had himself in his own intuition guessed the Will of God.

Hickson emphasized Cordes’ statement: “What he renounced for himself, had nevertheless been fulfilled, he said …. When he spoke about this story, I could see his joy.”

This account aligns with that of Fr. Gabriel Amorth, the chief exorcist in Rome who died in September 2016 at age 91.

The December before he died, Amorth told LifeSiteNews that “John Paul II wanted to consecrate Russia, but his entourage did not, fearing that the Orthodox would be antagonized, and they almost thwarted him.”

Father Amorth said “the consecration has not yet been made,” but he also said Pope John Paul II had consecrated Russia “indirectly.”

According to Amorth:

Therefore, when His Holiness consecrated the world on his knees, he added a sentence not included in the distributed version that instead said to consecrate “especially those nations of which you yourself have asked for their consecration.”

So, indirectly, this included Russia. However, a specific consecration has not yet been made. You can always do it. Indeed, it will certainly be done.

In 2001, Sister Lucia dos Santos, the oldest of the three children who saw Our Lady, reputedly told Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, then-secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, that Pope John Paul II’s 1984 consecration “has been accepted in heaven.”

But skeptics have countered that while the consecration may have been accepted in heaven, it still has not been done as specified by Our Lady.

Kazakhstan Bishop Athanasius Schneider told Rorate Caeli in a 2016 interview that Catholics must “pray that the Pope may soon consecrate explicitly Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

When that is done, Mary “will win, as the Church prayed since the old times: ‘Rejoice O Virgin Mary, for thou alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.’”

The Fatima apparitions were declared “worthy of belief” by the bishop of Leiria-Fatima in 1930. Six popes have since publicly honored them.

Pope Francis canonized the two youngest seers, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, on May 13 in Fatima as the 100th anniversary celebrations began.

The Catholic Church teaches that apparitions are private revelations and not part of public revelation, which ended with the death of the last apostle, and as such, Catholics are not obliged to believe them as part of the deposit of the faith.

According to the Catechism, approved private revelations may help Catholics live their faith “more fully” in “a certain period of history.”

RELATED

Exclusive: Interview with Rome chief exorcist Fr. Gabriele Amorth
Catholic historian: We need consecration of Russia to save the Church
Confirmed: Pope will canonize Fatima visionaries in May

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Skirts for boys: Prestigious school will allow 3-year-olds to switch uniforms… and gender

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LONDON, England, May 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — One of England’s most prestigious private schools is considering allowing boys to wear girls’ uniforms in the wake of student demands for so-called “gender neutrality.”

Highgate School’s principal, Adam Pettitt, told the Sunday Times that if the children are happier and more secure in who they are, it must be a good thing. “This generation is really questioning being binary in the way we look at things,” he said.

Highgate School was founded more than 400 years ago by a royal charter of Queen Elizabeth I. It first admitted girls in 2004. The primary school, middle school and high school include students between the ages of 3 and 18. Expressing pride in its Christian heritage, Highgate is “equally proud … of welcoming pupils, teachers, and support staff from other faiths or none.” Fees are between £5, 880 ($7,579 US) and £6, 790 ($8,752 US) a term. Famous alumni include the priest-poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

The school, which already has a cross-dressing male student, accedes to requests by students to be called by opposite-gender names. Also in London, St. Paul’s Girls School made headlines in February when it decided to allow its pupils to use boys’ names and wear boys’ clothes.  Girls age 16 and over may apply for a formal process after which they will be acknowledged as boys or gender-neutral. They will nevertheless be permitted to stay on at the school.

Why does my child feel this way?

The United Kingdom’s publically-funded National Health Service has eight Gender Identity Clinics, including one for children, and an online Gender Identity Development Service.

Established in 1989, the GIDS is a clinic for young people “presenting with difficulties with their gender identity.” To the question, “Why does my child feel this way?” it responds,  “The honest answer is we do not know exactly why any particular child or young person develops cross-gender or gender variant feelings or behavior. Nor can we pinpoint why any one individual might develop a transgender identity.” However, the GIDS claims it knows “that how people express or experience their gender, and how people respond to gender non-conformity, is linked to the culture and the time in which they live.”

The Tavistock Centre, where children as young as three seek gender reassignment therapy, received 97 referrals in 2009-10, but 2,016 referrals in 2016-17. Although in the past, the majority of children seeking sex reassignment were boys, 1,400 of these referrals were for children born girls.

“There is no single explanation for the increase in referral figures,” said GIDS director Dr. Polly Carmichael, “but we do know in recent years that there has been significant progress towards the acceptance and recognition of transgender and gender diverse people in our society. There is also greater knowledge about specialist gender clinics and the pathways into them, and an increased awareness of the possibilities around physical treatments for younger adolescents.”

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Whoopi gushes about Kardashians’ visit to Planned Parenthood: ‘Good on them!’

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NEW YORK, May 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Three members of the Kardashian media enterprise visited the Los Angeles headquarters of Planned Parenthood last week, apparently offering their assistance to the abortion chain.

And the visit received a “huge bravo” from the women hosts of The View television program.

Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian stopped by Planned Parenthood Los Angeles on Thursday, according to several news outlets, and the women praised the abortion giant on social media.

Much of the coverage suggests the reality TV personalities are getting political, with one report indicating they plan to work with Planned Parenthood in the future. The visit was taped for a future episode of their Keeping Up with the Kardashians television program.

After the visit, Kim Kardashian was critical on Instagram of the proposed American Healthcare Act (AHCA) before the U.S. Senate that would divest Planned Parenthood of most of its millions in federal funding for the next year.

She stated in her post of Planned Parenthood, “They are such an amazing place that provides so much to so many! #istandwithpp

Kim Kardashian said with a tearful emoji: “My sisters and I visited Planned Parenthood recently and learned that the House of Representatives forced through a bill that strips healthcare coverage from millions of people and raises healthcare costs, including Planned Parenthood patients.”

Khloe Kardashian had shared a photo of the visit on Instagram with the caption, "Visited @PPLosAngeles yesterday and learned so much. 2.5MM rely on PP for care -birth control, cancer-screenings, STD testing and so much more! #IStandWithPP."

She also tweeted, “So great to meet the amazing doctors and nurses @PPFA in Los Angeles. Proud to #StandWithPP #Planned Parenthood

On Monday, The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg praised the Kardashians’ abortion facility visit and their pro-Planned Parenthood message while granting it might have been a headline grab by the ubiquitous media siblings.

“Now some say it’s a publicity stunt,’ Goldberg enthused, “but even if it is, you know, good on them! Good on them, you know?” Goldberg’s statement was applauded by the audience.

The View women went on to talk about how the Kardashians’ promotion of Planned Parenthood could be a good thing, and how they were women moguls with an overall network of $300 million.

Co-host Sara Haines congratulated Kim Kardashian for announcing during the 2016 presidential campaign she was trying to research the candidates because she was going to vote.

Haines said of the Kardashians’ abortion visit, “So I don’t care what it was, I think the fact that they did it deserves, you know, a huge bravo.”

Joy Behar kidded about the family’s fame being derived from their self-promotion.

“When it comes to the Kardashians,” Behar said, “what good is it if it’s not on TV?”

This opened the door for Goldberg to imply that the Kermit Gosnell abortion “House of Horrors” narrative needed to be debunked. And the Kardashians’ Planned Parenthood trip might have served to shed positive light on the abortion industry, she suggested, without naming Gosnell.

“If it’s on TV with them walking through that, so that people see that there are not bottles of babies floating around, I think it’s a good idea,” Goldberg stated. “Because that will be the only time someone will see this, who is watching, who will say, 'Oh, my gosh, they’re in there. Oh, there’s nothing in there, nothing’s floating around, no one’s walking around like this (her arm up) with a knife.'”

Co-host Jedediah Bila concurred, adding that people need to go and visit places like Planned Parenthood “and see what they’re about” before being critical.

“So I think by them taking pictures with the representatives of the organization it shows that before you critique something – Go!” said Bila. “Figure out what it’s about, take a visit, sit with people.”

Bila has clearly missed all of the Live Action exposes, the many Center for Medical Progress videos, endless 40 Days for Life accounts and thousands of reports from sidewalk counselors across the U.S., all of whom can attest to what goes on inside Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities.

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Feminist criticizes transgender bill: ‘If you were born a female, you are doomed’

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OTTAWA, May 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Two feminists have charged that Liberal transgender “rights” bill will jeopardize women’s rights if it allows biological men into spaces that are for “female-born” women only.

Hilla Kerner, who spoke on behalf of a Vancouver rape crisis centre, and Meghan Murphy told the senate committee studying Bill C-16 that men who choose to be women are not the same as women.

Bill C-16 adds “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the Human Rights Code as prohibited grounds of discrimination, and to the hate crime section in the Criminal Code.

The Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter is “worried that well-intentioned legislation will be used to undermine the rights of women and the crucial work of women’s groups to serve and organize with female-born women,” Kerner said.

She told the committee that the shelter, run by a feminist collective that is pro-abortion and pro-lesbianism, has been subject to a “witch hunt” because it doesn’t take in men who identify as women.

It won the right to do so after a 12-year legal battle with Kimberly Nixon, a man who identifies as a woman and has had sex reassignment surgery.

Nixon brought a human rights complaint against Vancouver Rape Relief after it refused to let him volunteer as a crisis counsellor.

The B.C. appeals court threw the case out in 2005, and the Supreme Court declined to hear it two years later.

But even though the court “agreed that we are allowed to work only with female-born women, we are deemed to be transphobic,” Kerner told the senate committee.

The BC Federation of Labour has directed its affiliates to boycott the shelter, which is “the oldest rape crisis centre in Canada,” she said.

“And that’s the danger of the legislation: it is not explicitly expressing the rights of women to organize.”

Murphy, who founded the Feminist Current website but testified before the committee as an individual, echoed this.

“Once we start writing into legislation things like gender identity and gender expression, it has the potential to trump women’s rights,” she said.

“We can’t organize as a class of people, as women, as an oppressed class of people if we can’t meet with only other women. And this is a right that all marginalized groups should have,” she said.

Both Kerns and Murphy skewered the bill for not defining “gender expression” and “gender identity.”

Indeed, according to Murphy, the idea of “gender expression” and “gender identity” enforce the very stereotypes of masculinity and femininity that patriarchy came up with and feminism is trying to eradicate.

“Dissolving the categories of man and woman to allow for fluidity may sound progressive but is no more progressive under the current circumstances than saying race doesn’t exist and that white people don’t hold privilege in this world if they don’t feel white, or if they take on racist stereotypes attached to people of colour,” she told the senate committee.

“If a white person did this, we would rightly call it co-optation and denounce the behaviour. Why do we accept that if a man takes on sexist stereotypes traditionally associated with women, he can magically change sex and shed his status as male in this world?”

Kerner said there’s no “consensus in society” as to what the terms mean.

“From our understanding, gender expression describes the behaviours that oppress and control women. That includes men’s violence against women,” she said. “In this context, rape is a gender expression.”

Moreover, “female-born women and people who were born male and self-identify as women have different life experience,” she said.

“We know the embarrassment of having our clothes stained with blood from our period, the anxiety of facing an unwanted pregnancy and the fear of being raped. We know the horror of being raped and we know the comfort of grouping with other women.”

Nor do men who choose to be women have the experience of dealing with patriarchy all their lives.

“What we are saying is: If you were born a female, you are doomed. You are doomed in our society to be second-class. You do not have the privilege of growing as a male and have a choice to choose to be a woman,” she told the committee. “Surely, you cannot say these are the same thing.”

The Vancouver Rape Relief centre has been facing backlash since the CBC ran the story, with a Twitter war erupting between Murphy and the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, in which the latter called on the shelter to close its doors.

The Native Youth  Sexual Health Network also dismissed Murphy and Kerns as “TERFs” -- “trans-exclusionary radical feminists.”

Tanya Granic Allen, the executive of Parents As First Educators and a mother of four, has been campaigning against C-16.

“Women's rights have advanced so far, and yet in 2017 our government is totally ready to throw these right away in favour of a few citizens who identify as transgender?” she told LifesiteNews.

“Is this what Trudeau meant when he declared himself a feminist? If so, his government is actually the biggest threat to feminism today,” added Granic Allen.

“The dignity and rights of women are inherent, and not subject to cultural fads.”

The senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs will hear further public testimony Wednesday on Bill C-16. Dr. Jordan Peterson, who has criticized the bill as a threat to free speech, is among those scheduled to speak.

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Over 3 million sign petition to reinforce Romania’s marriage law

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May 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The people of Romania have spoken.  

In a country of approximately 20 million people, more than 3 million have signed a petition to enshrine in their constitution marriage between a man and a woman. In this way, the definition of marriage could be neither bent nor broken to accommodate homosexual partnerships, essentially banning same-sex "marriages" in the Christian country.

The petition, a project of Romania’s Coalition for Family, seeks to clarify the definition of marriage by stating ‘the family is founded on the freely consented marriage between a man and a woman, their equality, and the right and duty of parents to ensure the upbringing, education, and instruction of children.’

The clarification is necessary because Romania’s Constitution as it now stands speaks of “marriage between spouses,” written during an earlier period in history when “spouses” always implied marital relationships as between one man and one woman. To withstand current social and political forces that seek to exploit the now insufficiently descriptive language, an amendment to the constitution is required.

The expressed will of the people is now in the hands of legislators. As of May 9, legislation is advancing. Romania’s lower house — the Chamber of Deputies — voted overwhelmingly to change the constitution, with 232 votes in favor, 22 against, and 13 abstentions.

The measure moves to Romania’s Senate, where as with the lower house, a two-thirds majority is required for passage.

If the Senate gives its approval, a national referendum must be held within 30 days, requiring a minimum of nearly five million votes from the citizenry to clarify the law.

Strong statements have come from supporters on both sides of the issue.

Vlad Viski, president of Romania’s LGBTI group MozaiQ, told Gay Star News that he blames “the Orthodox Church and the American-sponsored neo-protestant groups,” and that it is “shameful ... to approve [this] initiative to change the Romanian Constitution.”  

Speaking on behalf of the measure, National Liberal Party deputy Daniel Gheorghe told Adevarul News, “The identity and values of the society we live in have lately been under attack around the world. Family has become a target. The relativization of morals aims to achieve the relativization of the family. No rights are curtailed by this measure. It is only a clarification of legislation, and a strengthening of what family means in Romania.”

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West Virginia’s Supreme Court of Appeals justices, from left, are Robin Jean Davis, Menis E. Ketchum II, Allen H. Loughry II, Elizabeth D. Walker and Margaret L. Workman.
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West Virginia court excludes ‘sexual orientation’ from anti-discrimination laws

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CHARLESTON, West Virginia, May 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The West Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that laws against discrimination on the basis of a person's sex do not include "sexual orientation."

The 3-2 decision upholds an originalist view of legislation whereby the judicial system interprets the intent of law and does not legislate from the bench.

Chief Justice Allen H. Loughry II delivered the ruling Saturday, which determined that “where the language of a statute is clear and without ambiguity, the plain meaning is to be accepted.” The ruling takes a strict constructionist view of law, which strikes at the heart of attempts to expand old laws to create a special class of “hate crimes.”

At issue was a 1987 state civil rights law (WV Code 61-6-21b) that prohibited discrimination on the basis of various characteristics, including “sex.”

“The West Virginia Supreme Court’s decision yesterday was a victory for common sense,” the Family Council of West Virginia (FCWV) posted on Facebook. “It will halt some of the biological heresy that left-leaning legislators have been attempting to pass that would give legal status to more than two genders.”

“George Orwell’s dystopian novel titled ‘1984’ depicts a world full of fear and intimidation where the government can permanently redact its citizens for merely thinking the wrong thing,” the FCWV continued. “Congress was frighteningly misguided when they codified the concept that some illegal acts, now labeled ‘hate crimes,’ should be punished more severely because of what the criminal may have been thinking at the time. This politically correct Group-Think has always been wrong-headed, and threatens commonsense liberties of West Virginia citizens exactly the same way that Orwell’s thought police punished people in his novel.”

The State of West Virginia v. Butler came about after Steward Butler punched two men openly kissing in public in 2015. He was charged and convicted of two counts of assault and battery, but he was also charged and convicted of two counts of violating the homosexuals’ civil rights under the 1987 law.

Butler accepted his punishment for punching the men but appealed the special civil rights discrimination convictions.

That the 1987 law intended “sex” discrimination to mean the binary genders male and female was not disputed. The State instead argued that the court should disregard the “literal sense of the words” in the statute and apply “sex” to include sexual orientation.

Republican West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a “friend of the court” brief supporting the constructionist view. Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund submitted a brief supporting the state’s view.

In the end, the state Supreme Court affirmed a circuit court’s ruling that the 1987 anti-discrimination law was “unambiguous.” Noting that sex and sexual orientation have quite different meanings, the court verified that justices are “bound to apply the law as it stands” and “cannot expand the word ‘sex’ to include ‘sexual orientation’ within West Virginia Code § 61-6-21(b).”

Citing several previous rulings, the state Supreme Court affirmed:

  • “This Court does not sit as a super-legislature, commissioned to pass upon the political, social, economic or scientific merits of statutes pertaining to proper subjects of legislation.” (from a 2009 ruling)

  • “Courts must presume that a legislature says in a statute what it means and means in a statute what it says.” (2017 ruling)

  • “It is not for this Court arbitrarily to read into a statute that which it does not say. Just as courts are not to eliminate through judicial interpretation words that were purposely included, we are obliged not to add to statutes something the Legislature purposely omitted.” (1994 and 2013 rulings)

  • “Courts are not free to read into the language what is not there, but rather should apply the statute as written.” (2015)

  • “Judicial challenge ‘is not a license for [this Court] to judge the wisdom, fairness, or logic of legislative choices.’“ (2011)

The majority opinion also included references that tempered its ruling as one against judicial activism and not against anti-discrimination laws:

  • This decision is “not to be construed as a final adjudication of the questions presented” (from a 1937 state ruling)

  • This ruling “is neither an express nor an implicit ruling on the merits of the legal issue presented.”

  • “We do not comment on whether it would be good or bad policy for the Legislature to amend West Virginia Code § 61-6-21 to include sexual orientation.”

The court left Butler’s two battery convictions standing.

This West Virginia ruling is the exact opposite of a Chicago appeals court ruling on April 4 that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin, also covers homosexuality.

Two of the three women on the five-member West Virginia Supreme Court, Justices Robin Jean Davis and Margaret L. Workman, dissented. Their written dissent extensively quoted the Chicago appellate court’s redefining of “sex” not as one’s binary gender but as including expected gender roles versus homosexual activity.

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STEM Academy assistant principal Zachary Ruff shouts at two pro-life demonstrators.
Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

News

High school assistant principal who harassed pro-life teens resigns

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

DOWNINGTOWN, Pennsylvania, May 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A school administrator who lashed out at pro-life teens has resigned over his actions.

Zachary Ruff became upset with two teens holding pro-life signs at the Downingtown STEM Academy on April 21 and tried to force them off a public sidewalk in front of the school.

The 40-year-old assistant principal and dean of academics and student life was recorded harassing 16-year-old Connor Haines and his sister Lauren, 19, on a cell phone camera and the school’s surveillance camera.

Ruff was put on administrative leave without pay after a May 5 school board hearing and he stepped down Thursday.

He had accused the teens during the confrontation of having a “twisted, perverted agenda” and told them, “You and Trump can go to Hell.”

When the Haines siblings, who were not students at the school, calmly pointed out that they had a right to stand on a public sidewalk, Ruff grew more agitated. He shouted, sang show tunes, and danced to draw attention away from the teens’ pro-life signs.

“I’m as gay as the day is long,” he said.  “I don’t give a (bleep) what you think Jesus tells me.”

At one point, he both denied and affirmed the personhood of pre-born children.

To Ruff’s objection of a picture of an aborted baby, Connor replied, “These children are being murdered in our society.” Ruff angrily and repeatedly yelled, “They’re not children, they are cells.”

Moments later, Ruff told Connor, “You can go to hell, where they are, too.”

After the confrontation, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) sent a letter to STEM Academy on behalf of the two teens to demand an apology and a public acknowledgment that they had the right to be on the public sidewalk.

The school posted an apology on Facebook:  “His conduct does not represent the values of the school district. … We truly apologize to all for the actions of this employee.”

An acknowledgement of the right to demonstrate on public property came in a public statement from the district.

“Dr. Ruff has acknowledged that the demonstrators had a right to be on a public sidewalk," the school said. "He acknowledged that his conduct cannot be defended or condoned and he deeply regretted his actions as displayed on the video. This school district will not interfere with the rights of anyone to express themselves."

The ADF letter also requested an opportunity to address interested students after school.

“People of faith shouldn’t be discriminated against for expressing their beliefs,” senior counsel Kevin Theriot said. “That’s exactly what happened here.”

Even some pro-abortion residents expressed support for the peaceful students.

“I personally am pro-choice, but what I really am pro-First Amendment,” one school board meeting attendee told CBS Philadelphia. “Those kids weren’t hurting anybody.”

Many STEM students backed Ruff and delivered a petition to the school board with 50,000 signatures in support of the history teacher and assistant principal. Zach Ng, a 15-year-old sophomore, described Ruff as “the heart and soul of our school.”

Lauren and Connor told Philly.com that they have been threatened online since the incident.

The Haines siblings were also falsely accused of banging on cars, but the school’s surveillance video proved they were nothing but peaceful.

The incident can be seen here and here.

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Bishop Scott McCaig delivers a homily during a morning pass prior to the National March for Life, May 11, 2017. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
Peter Baklinski

News

Canada could start killing off the sick to ‘save money,’ warns bishop

Peter Baklinski

OTTAWA, May 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- A Catholic bishop is warning Canadians that legalizing assisted suicide last year has put the country on a path to a “new version of the horrible crimes we saw in the last century.” Specifically, he warned that the government will now take an interest in forcing euthanasia on citizens, especially the poor and the sick, as a way of saving healthcare dollars. 

“By passing assisted suicide laws, the state takes an interest in promoting the suicide of its citizens in order to save money,” said Bishop Scott McCaig, the Roman Catholic Military Ordinariate of Canada, in a May 11 homily delivered in Ottawa on the morning of the National March for Life. 

Canada’s law prohibiting euthanasia and assisted suicide was struck down by the country’s highest court in 2015. A law was passed last year that outlined the circumstances in which Canadians can be legally assisted to kill themselves or be euthanized by a doctor. 

McCaig said that every country that has allowed doctors to kill their patients has seen its safeguards, meant to protect the weak and vulnerable, become “inadequate, watered down, or eliminated over time.”

The same will inevitably happen in Canada, he warned.

“Legislation which allows people to end their lives automatically creates incentives to seek death as a cost saving option. The elderly, the sick, the infirm, are seen as burdens that can be easily disposed of. Suicide becomes a convenient solution and an easy way out of problems,” he said. 

“‘Not being a burden’ becomes a very powerful coercion to end one's life,” he added.

The bishop said that at first euthanasia to save healthcare dollars will be voluntary. Then it will become a duty. Then it will be forced. And it will especially affect the poor who have no financial resources. 

“Assisted suicide puts the poor at risk. Without those financial resources, the poor are the most at risk. Suicide becomes the cheap alternative for the poor who cannot afford treatment or medication. By passing assisted suicide laws, the state takes an interest in promoting the suicide of its citizens in order to save money. In fact, many insurance companies favor and push assisted suicide because it saves them money,” he said. 

McCaig quoted Dr. Herbert Hendin, who wrote in the Psychiatric Times about the slippery slope that ensued in the Netherlands when legalizing euthanasia became the solution to problems of illness. 

“The Netherlands has moved from assisted suicide to euthanasia, from euthanasia for the terminally ill to euthanasia for the chronically ill, from euthanasia for physical illness to euthanasia for psychological distress, and from voluntary euthanasia to involuntary euthanasia called ‘termination of the patient without explicit request,’” quoted McCaig of Hendin.

McCaig said that Canadian soldiers gave their lives in previous wars to protect the country from the same kind of infringement to liberty that is currently happening in Ontario, where objecting doctors are not allowed to opt out of killing their patients.

“In Ontario, doctors and nurses may have no protection, no rights of conscience. Think carefully about that. Think about the men and women who put their lives in harm's way to protect our country from the kind of regimes that enforced this sort of thing,” he said. 

The bishop said that the government has “no right to approve laws contrary to natural law and divine law.”

“Assisted suicide goes against the laws of God and simple right reason. The practice of suicide is contrary to the fifth Commandment, ‘Thou shall not kill’ which prohibits the murder of one’s self, and the murder of others.”

He urged believers and non-believers alike to “firmly reject assisted suicide and euthanasia and stand up for morality and right reason.”

“As history demonstrates, the gap between assisted suicide and mandatory killing [by] euthanasia and suicide is very, very narrow,” he said. 

He called the National March for Life an event where people “witness peacefully, joyfully, and lovingly to the beauty, the value, and the dignity of every life, from conception to natural death.” 

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Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug

News,

Trump drastically expands order defunding International Planned Parenthood

Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – President Trump on Monday expanded the Mexico City Policy that bans funding for abortions outside U.S. borders to include a broader range of international aid programs.

The policy applies to approximately $8.8 billion in funds appropriated to the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense. Under previous administrations, the ban was applied on a more limited basis to $60 million in foreign aid programming.

The “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” policy widens the scope of the Mexico City Policy to block a broader range of foreign aid to non-governmental organizations that promote or support abortion and also mention of abortion in connection with family planning.

“The United States remains deeply committed to supporting health programs around the world. Foreign NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] that agree not to perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning will remain eligible to receive global health assistance through the standard U.S. Government processes that govern the award of federal funds,” the White House announced in a press release.

In January, President Trump reinstituted the Mexico City Policy, established by President Reagan in 1984, to halt funding for any group providing or promoting abortions, The policy, which was rescinded by President Obama in 2009, stipulates that “U.S. taxpayer money should not be used to support foreign organizations that perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.”

The president’s action was praised by pro-life activists.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, tweeted, “We have officially ceased exporting abortion to foreign nations. [President Donald Trump] is continuing Ronald Reagan’s pro-life legacy by ensuring tax dollars don't go to entities that promote & perform abortion.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council said, “President Trump fulfilled another campaign promise as the State Department began implementing the President's January 23 executive order barring U.S. funds from subsidizing foreign groups that perform or promote abortion. We applaud the Trump administration for not just stopping the pro-abortion policies of the Obama era, but putting in place policies that will reverse the destructive and immoral trends of the last eight years.”

Lila Rose, Founder of Live Action, commented, “Now that the president has put a stop to our tax dollars subsidizing foreign abortion providers and promoters, it’s time for Congress to finish the job here in the United States and stop the hundreds of millions of tax dollars going to the biggest abortion chain in America, Planned Parenthood. The federal government’s most important duty is to protect human life, so it is unthinkable that our tax dollars fund a corporation that destroys the lives of over 320,000 preborn children each year right here at home.”

Steve Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, earlier this year told LifeSiteNews that by expanding the Mexico City Policy to include all international “health assistance” programs it becomes easier to stop funding of international groups pushing abortion and sterilization, and that the Trump policy will save more lives than past Mexico City Policies.

On January 23, President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum “reinstating the 2001 Presidential Memorandum on the ‘Mexico City Policy,’ and directed the Secretary of State to implement a plan to extend, to the extent allowable by law, the ‘Mexico City Policy’ to “global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.”

“Secretary Tillerson has approved a plan to implement the manner in which U.S. Government Departments and Agencies will apply the provisions of the “Mexico City Policy” to foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. funding for global health assistance.”

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Tim Bradley

Opinion

Canada might start helping mentally ill kill themselves

Tim Bradley

May 16, 2017 (Lozier Institute) -- Just two years ago, Canada’s Supreme Court decriminalized physician-assisted suicide (PAS) and euthanasia in its decision in Carter v. Canada. In that February 6, 2015, ruling, the Court allotted a one-year window to Parliament within which to pass legislation regulating the practices. The result was Bill C-14, passed on June 17, 2016, which permits adults with a “serious and incurable illness, disease or disability” who are enduring “physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them” to request PAS or euthanasia if their natural death is “reasonably foreseeable.”

Now Canada is considering explicitly creating eligibility for PAS and euthanasia to those suffering from mental illnesses. In December, the government tasked the Council of Canadian Academies with conducting a review of several issues related to the law—whether regulations should be relaxed so as to allow for advance requests for PAS and euthanasia, whether minors should be eligible, and whether those suffering from mental illnesses should be eligible. The Council is expected to report back to Parliament by the end of 2018 with its recommendations.

Even before C-14 was originally passed, the Parliament considered looser requirements for eligibility. The Senate amended the bill to delete the stipulation that a person’s natural death must be “reasonably foreseeable,” but the House rejected that amendment during the bill’s final passage. The stipulation—that a person’s natural death must be reasonably foreseeable to be eligible for PAS and euthanasia—is unclear on its own, but the proceedings leading to C-14’s passage establish that Parliament already had in mind an extension of eligibility beyond those whose deaths are “reasonably foreseeable,” whatever that language might mean.

The extension of eligibility for PAS and euthanasia to the mentally ill carries the air of inevitability about it—because it was already countenanced by half of the Canadian parliament during the bill’s original passage, yes, but also because of the logical implications of a society committing itself to the premise that an acceptable response to human suffering for anyone is PAS or euthanasia.

One can easily experience a sense of déjà vu while following the evolution of PAS and euthanasia in countries that have decriminalized the practices. Richard Doerflinger captured the familiar track in an interview with Charlotte Lozier Institute earlier this year: “In the Netherlands, Belgium, and other countries with longer experience of this agenda, the killing has moved steadily from assisted suicide to euthanasia; from terminally ill patients to those with chronic illness, mental illness, or simple weariness of life; and from voluntary to nonvoluntary euthanasia.”

These developments give the impression of a steady, unstoppable march towards full access to—and perhaps even forced—PAS and euthanasia, but the history has not been written yet. This evolution is not inevitable.

Both in Canada and other countries that have decriminalized the practices, and in the U.S. where states are beginning to normalize them piecemeal, the arguments of proponents of PAS and euthanasia should be met head-on. Some will paint the expansion of the law in Canada as an extension of freedom and choice to a larger group of people. In truth, it represents the government signaling to another group of people that their lives are not worth living. Doerflinger argues that

allowing assisted suicide for one vulnerable class of people actually subjects them to the will of others – from greedy or uncaring relatives, to ethically challenged doctors, to society itself. When we exempt a whole class of people from the usual laws protecting life, that’s not about freedom – it’s about the government’s decision that some people are worth protecting, but other people are not, when they are tempted to make self-destructive choices.

In addition to the harms that will be done to those suffering from mental illnesses should Canada expand its law, the integrity of the medical profession in that country will be further vitiated. Already in one Canadian province, all physicians are mandated to provide “effective referrals” for patients seeking PAS or euthanasia. Ontario is unique in this transparent disregard for the religious integrity and conscience rights of its physicians for now, but it may not be so for long.

Wesley Smith notes in First Things that medical elites are abandoning respect for conscience and adopting a more coercive outlook. “Bioethicists and other medical elites have launched a frontal assault against doctors seeking to practice their professions under the values established by the Hippocratic Oath,” Smith writes. “In the last year, these efforts have moved from the relative hinterlands of professional discussions into the center of establishment medical discourse.”

Smith details a recent attack on conscience written by prominent bioethicists Ezekiel Emanuel and Ronit Y. Stahl in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. In their piece, they argue that health care professionals must provide, at the least, timely referrals to ensure patients receive access to procedures the professional objects to on conscience grounds, if the requested service is “professionally accepted” as an appropriate medical intervention. Emanuel and Stahl consider the provision of contraceptives and abortions to fall within this sphere, but exclude PAS and euthanasia because they are not generally accepted within the medically community. But, Smith notes, that could change rather quickly.

The upshot of this increase in contempt for conscientious objection in the professional medical arena is that it threatens to run pro-life health care professionals out of the metaphorical town. Smith observes

When doctors refuse to abort a fetus, participate in assisted suicide, excise healthy organs, or otherwise follow their conscience about morally contentious matters, they send a powerful message: Just because a medical act is legal doesn’t make it right. Such a clarion witness is intolerable to those who want to weaponize medicine to impose secular individualistic and utilitarian values on all of society.

The environment for physicians in Ontario is indicative of what can happen when respect for the conscience rights of health care professionals is discarded. More patients (and conscientious health care professionals) may soon be at risk if Canada extends PAS and euthanasia to the mentally ill. Those in the U.S. who do not wish to see those practices normalized in their own society would do well to take realistic stock of what is happening—and how quickly it has happened—in Canada, to renew their efforts to prevent the further spread of these practices across the country, and ultimately to reverse them and restore the ethical mandate to “do no harm.”

Reprinted with permission from Charlotte Lozier Institute.

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Jess OConnell, official new CEO for Democratic National Committee
Dave Andrusko

Opinion,

Democrats hire abortion lobbyist as new CEO

Dave Andrusko

May 16, 2017 (National Right to Life News) -- You might call it the multiplier effect in reverse or doubling down on disaster. Instead of a small amount of input creating a much larger increase in output, Democrats are working to hollow out the party by compounding the error of excluding all pro-lifers from the party and embracing the abortion industry with both arms.

At the end of last week, CNN tells us,

The Democratic National Committee has hired a new CEO as it gears up for the 2018 midterms, the organization announced Friday.

Jess O’Connell, executive director of EMILY’s List, will head the group that is the governing body of the Democratic Party and will be the DNC’s first openly LGBT chief executive.

Both O’Connell and DNC chair Tom Perez put out rah-rah statements, vowing to win, win, win in the 2018 off-year elections. A more sober take would be that prospective have been weakened because Democrats can’t help themselves. Three quick points.

First, EMILY’s List is not some run-of-the-mill PAC. It is loaded to the gills with money. It only supports female Democrats; only female Democrats who support abortion on demand; only female Democrats who embrace abortion uber alles.

In news stories we’re told how wonderfully well O’Connell fared as executive director. And how “O’Connell, who was previously executive director of EMILY’s List, will help lead day-to-day operations for the party and oversee political strategy.”

Truth be told, in spite of a massive disparity in resources, National Right to Life’s political action committees continue year in and year out to beat EMILY List-endorsed candidates in competitive races.

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Second, the Democratic Party continues to moves further and further and further away from the political center, both out of momentum and out of fear from “progressives.” The fierce pro-abortion backlash against a candidate for Mayor of Omaha who’d cast a few pro-life votes while in the Nebraska legislature contributed to Heath Mello’s defeat. According to the Huffington Post’s Daniel Marans

[A]fter Mello lost his race on Tuesday, some of his supporters accused national reproductive rights groups of having inappropriately injecting national politics into a local race, and blamed Perez for backing away from Mello in response to the uproar.

Perez didn’t “back away.” He sprinted away after NARAL raised a ruckus.

“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” DNC Chair Tom Perez said in a statement. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”

Third, and more evidence of the internal fighting, “The day after the rally for Mello, O’Connell criticized those who do not view abortion rights as an integral part of the economic populist agenda,” Marans wrote. “Her comments on Twitter appeared to be a veiled dig at Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who spoke at the rally for Mello, and who has been targeted by some feminist writers for taking an uncompromising approach on more standard economic issues but not on a woman’s right to choose.”

There is a kind of sense of inevitability that the DNC would turn to EMILY’s List. The organization has access to bundles of money and has taken the logic of the Democratic Party’s position on abortion to its logical end point.

The problem, however, is that end point is a million miles away from where the majority of the America public is on abortion.

Reprinted with permission from National Right to Life News.

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Abortionist Willie Parker
Albert Mohler

Opinion,

Notorious abortionist says he’s doing ‘God’s work.’ Here’s the rest of the story

Albert Mohler

May 16, 2017 (Albert Mohler) -- To the utter consternation of the abortion rights movement, the issue simply will not go away. Decades after they thought they had put the matter to rest with the Roe v. Wade decision, America’s conscience is more troubled than ever, and near panic appears regularly to break out among abortion activists. Such a panic is now underway, and the defenders of abortion are trotting out some of their most dishonest arguments. One of the worst is the claim that Christians have only quite recently become concerned about the sanctity of human life and the evil of abortion.

In fact, one of America’s most infamous abortion doctors, Dr. Willie Parker of Mississippi, has made such a claim in his new book, Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice. Parker, who refers to himself as a Christian, writes: “If you take anti-abortion rhetoric at face value, without knowing much about the Bible, you might assume that the antis have Scripture on their side. That’s how dominant and pervasive their righteous rhetoric has become. but they do not. The Bible does not contain the word ‘abortion’ anywhere in it.”

This is the same argument we so often confront on sexuality issues. We are told that Jesus never said anything against same-sex marriage. The disingenuous nature of this argument is fully apparent when we look to a text like Matthew 19:3-6. Jesus makes abundantly clear that God’s intention “from the beginning” is that humanity, made male and female, should united in marriage and “the two shall become one flesh.” As Jesus continued, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” That should settle the matter.

Similarly, Dr. Parker claims that the Bible does not even mention abortion as a word, which is quite true but irrelevant. The Bible consistently reveals life as God’s gift and mandates the protection of human life, made in God’s image, at every stage of life and development.

As you might expect, Dr. Parker would not change his argument even if the Bible did condemn abortion by name. Why do I say this? Dr. Parker’s words speak better for themselves: “As an inspired document, the Bible is full of guidance for me about justice and love. But as a historical document, the Bible is a ruthless, unsparing record of the historic misogyny of the early Jewish and Christian people.” Later in his book he attributes the pro-life position to preoccupation with regulating sexual behavior and “a rigid reading of Scripture that invites no questioning or interpretive consideration.” It is only by undermining the Bible’s authority that he can make his pro-abortion argument.

Even more recently, Nicholas Kristof, an influential columnist for The New York Times, affirmed Dr. Willie Parker in his column, approvingly quoting Parker as he states, quite astoundingly: “I believe that as an abortion provider, I am doing God’s work.” Kristof is well known as a humanitarian, a defender of human rights and human dignity. The great tragedy is that his humanitarian vision does not extend to unborn human beings. He celebrates Parker as a doctor who had a “come to Jesus moment,” turning from pro-life conviction to performing abortions. He now believes it is “morally right” to perform abortions.

“If that seems incongruous,” Kristof writes, “let’s remember that conservative Christianity’s ferocious opposition to abortion is relatively new in historical terms.” He goes on to make Parker’s argument that the Bible “does not explicitly discuss abortion” and proceeds to states “there’s no evidence that Christians traditionally believed that life begins at conception.”

What is the truth? Let’s begin with where Kristof’s punch lands with force. He makes the case that America’s evangelical Christians came late to a consistently pro-life position. On this he is absolutely right. He is able to document the equivocation and confusion that abounded within evangelicalism, from the annual meetings of the Southern Baptist Convention in the early 1970s to the pages of Christianity Today. An embarrassing number of prominent evangelical preachers held to “moderate” views on abortion and speculated about when life begins and thus deserves protection. That did not begin to change until the latter years of that decade, when the biblical and theological logic of the pro-life position began to take hold of the evangelical mind and heart.

At this point we need to separate two issues that are confused in both Parker’s and Kristof’s argument. The first is the historic Christian understanding of the morality of abortion. The second is the question of when what some theologians have called “ensoulment” takes place. As for the second question, though it was a matter of intense speculation in late antiquity and the medieval age, it is not a helpful theological question, nor is it answerable. The only consistent biblical logic is to affirm the sanctity and dignity of every human life from the moment of fertilization.

As for the first question, the evidence is irrefutable. The early church was decidedly, vocally, and courageously pro-life and opposed to abortion. One of the earliest documents of Christianity after the New Testament is the Didache, dated to around A.D. 80-120. The teaching describes two ways: the way of life and the way of death. The way of life demands that Christians “shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, … you shall not murder a child by abortion nor commit infanticide.” Both abortion and infanticide were common in the Roman Empire. Christians were forbidden to murder any child, born or unborn. The way of life honors the sanctity of life.

Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 150-215) made clear the sin of women who “in order to hide their immorality, use abortive drugs which expel the matter completely dead, abort at the same time their human feelings.” Tertullian (A.D. 160-240) taught even more comprehensively: “For us, we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is just a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter when you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to birth. That is a man which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in the seed.” These two are just examples of a pro-life position rejecting abortion that included — at the very least — Athenagoras, Hippolytus, Basil the Great, Ambrose, Jerome, John Chrysostom, and Augustine.

As ethicist Ronald Sider commented, “Eight different authors in eleven different writings mention abortion. In every case, the writing unequivocally rejects abortion.” The most comprehensive survey of early Christianity on the question of abortion comes from Michael J. Gorman in Abortion and the Early Church. As Gorman states, “all Christian writers opposed abortion.” Every mention of abortion in the early church rejects it, forcefully.

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The Apostolic Constitutions, a document from the fourth century, asserts: “Thou shalt not slay thy child by causing abortion, nor kill that which is begotten. For every thing that is shaped, and hath received a soul from God, if it be slain, shall be avenged, as being unjustly destroyed.”

Gorman writes: “Writers of the first three Christian centuries laid the theological and literary foundation for all subsequent early Christian writing on abortion. We will see that three important themes emerged during these centuries: the fetus is the creation of God; abortion is murder; and the judgment of God falls on those guilty of abortion.” Those three convictions lie at the heart of the Christian pro-life consensus that came together after the shock of the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

The shame is not that evangelicals hold these pro-life convictions now. The shame is that there was ever any evangelical equivocation on such a matter of life and death and human dignity. Furthermore, there can be no question that historic Christianity condemned abortion and affirmed the sanctity of human life, born and not yet born.

Let there be no confusion on this question. The Bible reveals the sanctity of all human life; the early church affirmed the sanctity of every human life; and anyone who performs an abortion is not “doing God’s work.” Rather, he is undoing it. As the Didache, echoing Deuteronomy, reminds us from so long ago — we are to choose the way of life, and never the way of death.

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Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa

Blogs

A Mother’s Day reflection: Life is a beautiful gift at any stage

Lisa Bourne Lisa Bourne Follow Lisa

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa, May 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – LifeSiteNews published a story on Monday with the photo of a miscarried child in his mother’s arms that she recently shared on social media.

It is at once beautiful and heartbreaking. It clearly conveys life, but at the same time it starkly and poignantly depicts its loss.

Images of miscarried children, especially in their mother’s arms, when they can be captured, are important for their ability to demonstrate that unborn life is in fact human life. This is especially true in a culture where there are those who deny that fact, and also those who don’t bother to deny it but simply don’t care.

Lexi, the young mother, was roughly halfway along in her pregnancy when she went into labor too soon with Walter. She walked readers through the loss and bravely shared the accompanying pain.

We often see the terms “perfectly formed” or “fully formed” to underscore that a child who may not have yet been viable outside the womb was well on the way to being so.

These terms are necessary because of that persistent denial of the humanity of unborn life, even though science is continually better able to confirm it.

But what constitutes “perfectly formed”?

Many women know the reality of Jeremiah 1:5 within their heart and soul: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.”

Still, not everyone will get the chance to hold their children before they must let them go.

Like Lexi, I have miscarried twice, though earlier in pregnancy than her.

Depending on how you look at things, one might say I was fortunate to not have been as far along as women who deliver a fully formed child.

At times, on some level I might be inclined to agree. But because I wasn’t as far into pregnancy, even though I experienced labor, I didn’t get to hold either child. They were simply gone.

It makes me wonder about other mothers who have lost children and never got to hold them, especially mothers who have lost them to abortion. Were any of them able to hold them before letting them go?

As Lexi shared in her account, I don’t know why it happened to me. I don’t why it had to happen that I would lose them, and I’ll likely not ever know on this side of eternity.

But I do know that no matter how young they were, even though I never held them, they were alive, they were real, and they were — they are — my children, perfectly formed by God.

I know this because I knew both times in my heart when they were gone, even before it was confirmed medically.

And I also know that they were a gift from God, even without having had the chance to hold them in my arms. It’s often through pain that our faith is strengthened.

We, those of us who have conceived — because that’s when it happens, when God puts that soul in that tiny little body and creates a life — get to share very directly in the same miracle Our Blessed Mother did when she carried Our Lord. And just as she experienced, it entails some pain.

But what a gift that is, under any circumstances.

We just celebrated Mother’s Day. Every day that we carry our mother’s DNA forth in life is Mother’s Day. It’s not always greeting card-perfect, but it’s still a beautiful thing.

A belated Happy Mother’s Day to all moms, those who are still with us and those who have died. And also to those moms who gave their children life in difficult circumstances and chose the life-affirming option of adoption. Happy Mother’s Day to moms who have adopted children.

Happy Mother’s Day to women who haven’t conceived children but who still “mother” others.

And Happy Mother’s Day to moms who have children they will never get to hold in this life, for whatever reason. You can bet those babies are in God’s arms.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

The Pulse

Ouch: Actor James Woods’ brutal tweet to Planned Parenthood pres. goes viral

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

May 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- America’s abortion giant Planned Parenthood tweeted out support for Mother’s Day on Sunday, telling supporters that the best way to say ‘I love you, Mom’ is by standing up for abortion. 

Some thought it a crude joke. Others thought it shameful. Cecile Richards, who is the CEO of Planned Parenthood, had her tweet liked 2,500 times and retweeted 808 times as of this writing. 

But American actor and producer James Woods immediately saw the colossal irony. 

His tweet went viral, being liked 16,000 times and being retweeted 7,800 times as of this writing. 

It seems that people are finally beginning to see through Planned Parenthood’s web of lies: Abortion has nothing to do with healthcare. It’s not a ‘choice’ that involves the woman’s body. And it is certainly not pro-mother.

And when Planned Parenthood thinks it can tweet out support for the evil it peddles on a day celebrating motherhood, it is completely appropriate for every life-loving citizen to expose their lie. 

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LiveActionNews

The Pulse

‘It’s a fetus… not dead babies:’ man carries mutilated bodies out of abortion clinic

LiveActionNews
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10 weeks

May 15, 2017 (LiveActionNews) -- A pro-lifer outside LeRoy Carhart’s abortion facility in Bellevue, Nebraska, confronted a man leaving the facility with a small biohazard bag on May 4, 2017, in an interaction that leaves more questions than answers.

Operation Rescue reports that sidewalk advocate Ashley Riddle spoke to the man, asking him, “Don’t these babies deserve a proper funeral?” The man insisted that Carhart’s facility was “a normal health clinic,” and that they don’t just do abortions there.

“But you’re taking out dead babies, sir,” Riddle tells the man.

“It’s a fetus,” he replies.

Then, stunningly, the man decides to enlighten the pro-life advocate with his lack of knowledge on fetal development. “Did you know a baby isn’t formed until, like, six to eight months?” he tells Riddle.

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Obviously, this is not the case. By ten weeks after fertilization (still in the first trimester), all of a preborn baby’s major organs have formed.

Operation Rescue notes that the pickup of biohazardous material “was not indicative of usual biohazard waste disposal pick-up methods often witnessed by pro-life activists at abortion facilities across the country.” OR also notes the fact that Carhart was recently questioned by a congressional panel regarding fetal body parts trafficking

LeRoy Carhart was recently under investigation by the House Select Panel on Infant Lives for suspected trafficking in aborted baby organs and tissue. He was also being investigated for the possibility that he had killed babies born alive at a very late-term abortion facility in Germantown, Maryland.

Carhart has killed at least two patients and continues to put women at risk with his shoddy practices.

Reprinted with permission from Live Action News.

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Phil Lawler

The Pulse, , , ,

The Pope just spoke on Catholic officials who betray the faith. Can you make out what he thinks?

Phil Lawler

May 16, 2017 (CatholicCulture) -- During his latest in-flight press conference, on his return flight from Portugal, Pope Francis made important statements on several hot topics: Medjugorje, sexual abuse, his meeting with President Trump, the prospects for regularization of the Society of St. Pius X. Those comments have deservedly commanded top billing in news coverage of the interview. So you might have missed the Pope’s response to another hot-button issue.

As the question-and-answer session was coming to a close, a Portuguese journalist was given the opportunity for a final question. He asked the Holy Father to comment on the fact that in Portugal, an overwhelmingly Catholic country, the political trend is favorable to recognition of same-sex marriage, acceptance of abortion, and now perhaps even euthanasia. Here is the Pope’s reply:

I think it’s a political problem. And that also the Catholic conscience isn’t a catholic one of total belonging to the Church and that behind that there isn’t a nuanced catechesis, a human catechesis. That is, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is an example of what is a serious and nuanced thing. I think that there is a lack of formation and also of culture. Because it’s curious, in some other regions, I think of the south of Italy, some in Latin America, they are very Catholic but they are anti-clerical and ‘priest-eaters’, that … there is a phenomenon that exists. It concerns me. That’s why I tell priests, you will have read it, to flee from clericalism because clericalism distances people. May they flee from clericalism and I add: it’s a plague in the Church. But here there is a work also of catechesis, of raising awareness, of dialogue, also of human values.

So, given an opportunity to comment on the collapse of Catholic moral principles in a Catholic society—it could easily be described as a softball question—the Pope said... What?

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Read that answer again, and tell me what the Pope thinks of Catholics who, in public life, betray Catholic principles. Good luck.

Reprinted with permission from Catholic Culture.

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