All articles from September 11, 2017

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Susan Yoshihara


U.S. blasts lead UN agency for supporting China’s one-child policy

Susan Yoshihara
By Susan Yoshihara

NEW YORK, September 11, (C-Fam) -- The United States blasted the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) on Thursday (Sept. 8) for supporting China’s four decades-long birth control policy, which has led to human rights abuses such as forced abortions. The censure came as the agency unveiled its new three-year plan which promoted policies on sexuality which UN member States have expressly rejected in negotiations.

“As long as UNFPA supports or participates in any program of coercive birth limitation, the United States will not fund UNFPA,” U.S. deputy ECOSOC ambassador Stephanie Amadeo said.

The United States withdrew $32.5 million in funding from UNFPA earlier this year, but continues to spend about $600 million a year on family planning and remains on the UNFPA’s executive board. Amadeo said the $32 million will be transferred to the U.S. Agency for International Development’s family planning, maternal, and reproductive health activities.

The strategic plan—meant to guide the agency’s spending, programs, partnerships and advocacy in the next three years—calls for giving children as young as ten years of age “comprehensive” and “integrated” access to “youth-friendly” “sexual and reproductive health services,” a term that some UN staff use to include abortion and sex change therapy.

The plan uses the terms “sexual and reproductive health and rights” and “sexual and reproductive health services” thirteen times in the thirty-page document. Delegations have rejected the phrases on the grounds that they include abortion and special rights on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Western nations like Norway and New Zealand used Thursday’s meeting to endorse greater emphasis on sexual and reproductive health and pledged to fund it. Norway said it “fully endorsed” the plan.

The plan includes “comprehensive sexuality education” for adolescents and children, though it falls outside UNFPA’s mandate. The UN General Assembly has rejected the term in negotiations because it promotes curricula approving sexual activity for children as young as five years old, as well as endorsing abortion and homosexual behaviors irrespective of national laws and without parental consent.

In fact, UNFPA’s mandate, as set out in the outcome document from the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994, is limited to advancing “age-appropriate sex-education” with “appropriate direction and guidance from parents and legal guardians.”

The new plan sets forth UNFPA’s goal to “eliminate barriers” that limit access to services, including for adolescents and youth. It does not specify what these barriers are, nor does it safeguard parental rights.

The plan says UNFPA aims to “end preventable maternal deaths.” It does not list abortion even though complications from induced abortion are often classified as a cause of maternal deaths.  Because “unsafe” abortions are often linked to “illegal abortions” by UN agencies, countries are frequently pressured to liberalize their abortion laws in order to prevent maternal deaths.

To the contrary, nations agreed in 1994 that abortion was a scourge to be healed, calling on countries to help women avoid it, get treatment from its complications, and never use it as a method of family planning. They also agreed that countries have the right to determine their own standards on abortion.

Almost all countries commended UNFPA’s plan, praising the “transparent” and “collaborative” process that led to this draft, without criticism. Most urged more prudent spending. Several called on UNFPA to give greater respect to the principle of state ownership of programs. They called for national implementations of the plan that are consistent with, and respectful of state specificities, priorities, and sovereignty.

China revised its statement after the U.S. delegate spoke, adding to its original text that the U.S. was making “unwarranted accusations” and “just finding excuses.”

Editor's note: This article has been reprinted by permission of the author. 

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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Chinese gov’t bans kids from attending church services

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges
By Fr. Mark Hodges

ZHEJIANG, China, September 11, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- China’s communist authorities are cracking down on Christianity, telling more than a hundred Christian churches that children are now forbidden from attending church services and joining Christian groups.

In August over a hundred churches in Wenzhou, within the largely Christian Zhejiang province, received official "notices" that children will be banned from entering any church. Church leaders were told that minors would be turned away at the doors, even if accompanied by their parents.  

The notices threaten Christians caught taking their child to services, stating that they "will be dealt with severely."

Chinese authorities claim that church attendance thwarts minors from "develop(ing) a correct worldview and set of values.” 

"Minors receiving religious education and formation too early in churches would seriously affect the normal implementation of the education system," the Ouhai district's notice explained.

Officials warned that government inspectors will “launch open and undercover investigations” on Sundays in both state-sanctioned churches and underground congregations to enforce the ban. 

“There have also been attacks on Sunday school,” a pastor told the Vision Times. “It is very serious... This is very disrespectful to human rights, and we are firmly opposed... We really don’t know why authorities are doing this.”

In June, the Hunan capital of Changsha hosted an "emergency" meeting to "stabilize" Chinese schools.  Education Bureau Director Liang Guochao said the government is going to "prevent religions infiltrating into schools and guide students to consciously resist religious cults."

On top of forbidding children from attending church service, the new crackdown also forbids minors from joining any Christian group, from taking part in any religious activities, and from listening to sermons.

Teachers in schools are also banned from church attendance. The Yonglin district instructed schools that “the higher authorities strictly forbid all secondary and primary school teachers, students and toddlers to join Catholic or Protestant churches.”

“China is in the midst of a religious revival, and the current government seems concerned that religion could be a means through which foreign values may ‘penetrate’ into China and ultimately affect" the communist status quo, William Nee of Amnesty International explained about the bad.

“At this point, it is unclear how widespread the bans on children attending church services are in China, but these alarming reports seem to be coming in from fairly diverse areas throughout the country,” Nee cautioned.

Communist authorities have also dictated that Christians may no longer put on summer camps for children.  

"Maria," a Catholic mother, shared how a church camp in the Bameng Diocese of Wuhai was shut down. "A woman official asked lay people about the summer camp there without revealing her identity but she said she would like her son to join it. The Catholics did not know it was a trap and told her all the details," she said. "Officials then questioned the priest...and forced (him) to disband the camp."

"Even if they are not allowed to go to church, we parents can pass on our religious belief to our kids at home,” she said.  She noted that many children participated in the procession for the feast of the Assumption of Mary on Aug. 15.

The persecution against Christians in China became more intense in 2014 when the government banned crosses in Zhejiang. By 2016, the plan to eradicate Christianity was official and open.  Chinese leader Xi Jinping started a formal campaign to "sinicize" (make more Chinese) religion by enforcing atheism throughout the nation.

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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges


U.S. judge tells Christian churches they must cover abortion in insurance plan

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges
By Fr. Mark Hodges

SACRAMENTO, California, September 11, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- A federal judge told three Christian congregations in California that they have no case in wanting to opt out of the state’s requirement that they cover abortions through their health insurance plans.

U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller upheld a 2014 requirement of the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) that all employers throughout the state must pay for abortion insurance for their employees. She told the three churches that they failed to state an adequate claim.

The churches — Foothill Church in Glendora, Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Chino, and The Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch — sued the state in 2014 after being informed that they could not prohibit or restrict coverage for elective abortions.

The churches "believe and teach that abortion destroys an innocent human life" and "participation in, facilitation of, or payment for an elective abortion is a grave sin," according to court documents.

The DMHC reclassified abortion as “a basic health care service” in 2014 under ObamaCare, making abortion insurance a mandatory provision for all business, regardless of the employer’s sincerely held beliefs.  

DMHC Director Michelle Rouillard explained in a letter to the Churches at that time that abortion must be legally equated with maternity care. Her decree noted that the state constitution criminalizes “discriminating against women who choose to terminate a pregnancy.”

Rouillard’s decree came after Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount Universities took abortion off their employee insurance plans, while still allowing employees to purchase the insurance on their own.  

The Catholic universities later wrote to Rouillard about her DMHC decree conflicting with their religious convictions, but Rouillard refused to back down.

Under President Obama in 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services rejected Christian complaints that California required churches to pay for abortion insurance.

So far, seven churches have joined the two Christian universities in filing complaints with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, saying the decree violates the constitutional rights of faith-based employers to religious freedom and equal protection.

The Life Legal Defense Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom assisted the churches in filing the complaint. The churches are: Skyline Church in La Mesa, Foothill Church and School in Glendora, Alpine Christian Fellowship in El Cajon, Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch, City View Church in San Diego, Faith Baptist Church in Santa Barbara, and Calvary Chapel Chino Hills.

“If the state can force a church to pay for the very thing they counsel against...then no American is secure,” ADF’s Jeremiah Galus said.  “The court’s decision ignores the longstanding freedom of faith communities to act consistently with their religious mission.”

The churches’ based their lawsuit on the ground of the Weldon Amendment, a federal statute that protects the conscience rights of health care providers, doctors, and insurers, from being forced to "provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions." The amendment states that federal subsidies will be cut off from any agency, program, or state or local government that discriminates against such health care entities. 

“The state has no authority to dictate to the consciences of churches or religious organizations about abortion,” Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore told the Baptist Press. “Forcing citizens to subsidize the destruction of human life and the exploitation of families and communities is a moral and political tragedy.  I pray that this mandate would be struck down quickly (as) yet another attempt to trample religious conscience.”

The Christians are seeking a permanent injunction stopping enforcement of Rouillard’s DMHC mandatory abortion coverage decree. They explain that insurance companies will not offer plans without abortion coverage because of the DMHC decree.

“California has no right to dictate what pastors or churches believe on moral and cultural issues,” Galus added.  “Churches should be free to serve their communities according to their religious beliefs without unjust government edicts that force them to violate those beliefs.”

Additionally, the churches and Christian institutions note that Rouillard gave a religious exemption to a group that opposes abortion except in cases of rape or incest, but refused to give the same exemption to those who believe abortion is always wrong.  This inconsistency proves the DMHC director used her own personal “discretion in a way that prefers some religious beliefs to others.”

Judge Mueller has given the churches twenty-one days to file an amended complaint.  Galus said the churches and universities are weighing their appeal options.

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Bishop Philip Egan Philip Egan / Twitter
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Catholic Bishop: Gay activists are bashing Catholic UK politician ‘like…a drunk’

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By Lisa Bourne

PORTSMOUTH, England, September 11, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Another British bishop has come to the defense of Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg who received strong backlash last week after saying on national TV that he took “seriously” Catholic teaching on homosexuality and abortion. 

Portsmouth Bishop Philip Egan said it wasn’t surprising that Rees-Mogg was the target of backlash from those who despise Catholic sexual teaching. When their lifestyle is challenged, he told the Catholic Herald, they “lash out, full of rage” as a way of justifying their situation. 

“Like with a drunk, you can’t reason with them,” he said. 

Bishop Egan went on to describe how the rejection of sexual morality opens one up to demonic influence.

“When on matters of sexual morality, people do not espouse chastity, they open themselves to deep-seated forces within. They can even unwittingly allow the Evil One to bind himself like a serpent tightly around their hearts,” he said. 

The bishop added that often when this point is reached people miss out on the beauty of Church teaching and its path to human fulfillment.

“Sadly, as a consequence, they never hear how much Christ and His Church loves them and wants to lift them up to nobler, more beautiful and more fulfilling way of life,” he said.

Rees-Mogg was attacked in the media after his comments on Good Morning Britain on Thursday. He said that marriage was a sacrament, that life was “sacrosanct,” and that he took the teachings of the Catholic Church “seriously.”

The Catholic MP said that life begins at conception, that abortion was “morally indefensible” and he was personally opposed to it even in cases of rape and incest. 

Abortion supporters and gay “marriage” advocates jumped on the Member of Parliament with charges of bigotry and extremism, saying he had abhorrent views.

But Shrewsbury Bishop Mark Davies and others defended Rees-Mogg and praised his statements. 

“I think we should all be grateful for the integrity of politicians like Jacob Rees-Mogg who fearlessly speak of those Christian convictions on which our society was built,” Bishop Davies said.

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Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire


Pope Francis questions Trump’s pro-life values

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By Claire Chretien

September 11, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis challenged President Trump on his pro-life views in a new interview, questioning whether Trump is actually pro-life because of his immigration stances. 

Aboard the papal plane on September 10, Pope Francis criticized the U.S. president over his plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA allows children of illegal immigrants who were illegally brought into the country to remain and apply for work permits.

"I have heard the President of the United States speak," said Pope Francis as translated and reported by the National Catholic Reporter. "He presents himself as a pro-life man. If he is a good pro-lifer, he should understand that the family is the cradle of life and you must defend its unity."

He was answering a Mexican journalist's question. 

"Removing young people from their family is not a thing that bears good fruit, neither for the young person nor the family," the pope continued, admitting "he has not studied the specifics of the DACA program," according to NCR

"Young people today need to re-find their roots," Pope Francis continued. "And anything that goes against this robs them of hope."

According to NCR, Pope Francis suggested "young people who become detached from their roots and lose hope in the future" might choose suicide. It's unclear whether he was implying that the "roots" of those benefitting from DACA are their home countries or the United States.

During the same press conference, Pope Francis said there's a "moral responsibility" for people to do what they can to halt "climate change."

"If someone is a bit doubtful ... ask the scientists," he said. "They are very clear. They are not opinions on the fly. They are very clear. Then, decide and history will judge the decisions."

Some of the scientists and "experts" with whom the pope closely collaborates are abortion supporters.

In April 2017, President Trump signed into law the first piece of federal pro-life legislation in more than a decade. It prevents states from being forced to fund abortion giant Planned Parenthood. It allows states to exclude Planned Parenthood from its Title X money.

Shortly after being inaugurated, Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits U.S. funding from going to abortion-committing and committing groups like International Planned Parenthood. 

Also in April 2017, Trump withdrew U.S. funding from the United Nations Population Fund because of its participation in China's forced abortion regime.

Pope Francis questioned Trump's faith during his campaign. Trump called this comment, which was also seemingly prompted by his immigration stances, "disgraceful."

The pope's comments about protecting "the family," which he called "the cradle of life" are interesting because in a new book-length interview, he signaled support for legal recognition of same-sex "civil unions," which the Church officially says must be met with "clear and emphatic opposition."

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Camille Paglia
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Lesbian feminist scholar: transgendering kids is ‘child abuse’ and ‘wrong’

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By Claire Chretien

September 11, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A 2015 video of feminist scholar Camille Paglia calling transgender hormone treatments for young children and teens "child abuse" has re-surfaced on the internet.

"I think that the transgender propagandists make wildly inflated claims about the multiplicity of gender. Sex re-assignment surgery, even today, with all of its...advances, cannot in fact, change anyone's sex," said Paglia.

"You can define yourself as a trans man or a trans woman [or] one of these new gradations along the scale, but ultimately every single cell in the human body – the DNA in that cell remains coded for your biological birth [sex]," she continued.

"There are a lot of lies being propagated at the present moment, which I think is not in anyone's best interest," she added.

Paglia made these comments to Roda Viva Internacional in 2015 (comments occur at 12:40 in linked video). Conservative media recently highlighted them. 

The open lesbian and feminist is a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Her views on political correctness, due process at universities, and the reality of biological sex put her at odds with many in the modern feminist movement. She is a prevalent writer and cultural critic.

Paglia says her feminism is the result of her "childhood experience as a fractious rebel against the suffocating conformism of the 1950s." She said that universities and the mainstream media are the new centers of conformism that are "patrolled by well-meaning but ruthless thought police."

Paglia said in the video that she is concerned by the "popularity" and "availability" of sex reassignment surgeries. 

"Parents are now encouraged to subject the child to procedures that I think are a form of child abuse," she said. These include "hormones to slow puberty" and "actual surgical manipulations" of children and teenagers.

"I think that this is wrong," she said. "People should wait until they're of an informed age of consent. Parents should not be doing this to their children. And I think that even in the teenage years it's too soon to be making this leap. People change, people grow, and people adapt."

Paglia said she suffered "gender dysfunction" as a child, dressing in men's clothing "as often as I could."

"But I still believe that there are fundamentally two sexes that are biologically determined," said Paglia. She wrote her dissertation on androgyny. 

Reproductive biology is clear that there are only two sexes, Paglia said, and only a "very small," "minute" number of people are born with genetic abnormalities that make their "gender...ambiguous." It seems she is referring to hermaphrodites. 

On another occasion, she called the subjection of children to puberty blockers "a criminal violation of human rights."

Paglia has acknowledged that "abortion is murder" but said she still supports it. 

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Fr. Shenan Boquet

Opinion, ,

Spiritual sterility versus spiritual fruitfulness

Fr. Shenan Boquet
By Fr. Shenan Boquet

Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart the desire to know truth – in a word, to know himself – so that by knowing and loving God, men and women can come to the fullness of the truth about themselves.
– St. Pope John Paul II, Fides et Ratio, ¶ 1

September 11, 2017 (Human Life International) – Truth is known through a combination of faith and reason. The absence of either one diminishes the ability to know oneself, the world, and God. Human reason seeks truth; however, the ultimate truth about the meaning of life cannot be found by reason alone.

Sadly, the philosophy of relativism has poisoned our culture, which holds that all points of view are equally valid, and that all truth is relative to the individual. All moral positions, religious systems, political movements, etc., are truths that are relative to the individual. According to this philosophy, no system of truth is more valid than another. It rejects God – particularly Christianity – as well as objective truth and ethics (right and wrong).

Our pluralistic society wants us to abandon any idea of right and wrong. Those things once considered morally unacceptable – fornication, infidelity, pornography, and homosexual behavior – are now deemed permissible and even virtuous.

Skepticism about one’s ability to know truth has dire consequences both to the individual and society. The human person, left to human weakness and unbridled passions, inevitably walks down a path of tragedy – left adrift in a turbulent sea of uncertainty and hopelessness. The alternative is to walk in accordance with a moral compass, which guides, counsels, and provides shape to one’s behavior in daily life.

The unprecedented and relentless assault on the sanctity of human life, on marriage and human sexuality, and religious freedom will continue unless there is a genuine spiritual resurgence – faith and reason working in perfect harmony.

Christianity is not just about social action, or feeling good about one’s life, or working out one’s own salvation, or practicing one’s faith when convenient or opportunistic. Faith in Christ is about an unwavering commitment to Jesus, His mission, commands, and Church – to the truth about the human person.

Faith, then, must make a more substantial effort to become the “helper of reason”, so that reason can fully recover its own nature and competence.

Our Lord, in the parable of the Ten Bridesmaids, stresses to His disciples the need for greater vigilance and intensity of faith in response to the Christian vocation, as well as the sort of attitude we should have towards His coming – our posture remaining ever watchful, our love alert, and our daily lives filled with His Spirit.

It is not enough just to have started out on the journey that leads to Christ; we must be constant in our desire to remain on the narrow path and vigilant because the natural tendency of every person, due to a wounded nature, is to lower the level of self-giving that the Christian vocation demands.

Almost without realizing it, the disciple gradually – if he is unwatchful – gives way to the pressures of daily life and has the tendency to make Christ’s call compatible with a comfortable existence.

Saint Paul exhorted the early Church to be on guard against such a tendency:

I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:1-2

In the midst of this great campaign for life and family, it is easy to forget that the battle is primarily a spiritual one waged between principalities – with two diametrically opposing views about human life.

The spirit of the Culture of Death does not discriminate. It has set its will against the Heavenly Father and His eternal plan for humanity. The unborn, family, elderly, handicapped, sick, and poor are of no concern and are easily discarded. The Christian view of the human person and his eternal vocation is readily rejected and replaced with the modern day golden isms ­– materialism, hedonism, individualism, secularism, and relativism. The vile and profane are welcomed guests at this banquet, but all who forsake these self-made gods are banished and labeled as judgmental, intolerant, and discriminatory.

Even predominantly Catholic/Christian cultures – Western and Central Europe – having compromised their heritage in Christ, are suffering and are on the verge of collapse. Our families are victimized by ideologies and political agendas and aggrieved by a litany of afflictions: separation, divorce, pornography, infidelity, drug and alcohol abuse, suicides, domestic and societal violence, poverty, religious persecution and secularism – to name but a few.

A soul that chooses the comfortable path becomes lazy and weary, ignoring the call to pick up your cross and follow Me. Spiritual blindness is thus the only outcome for a soul that loses the attitude of vigilance, giving way instead to vice (sin) – allowing the flame of friendship with the Lord to flicker and die.

There is no doubt, therefore, that a ‘Kingdom of God’ accomplished without God — a kingdom therefore of man alone — inevitably ends up on the perverse end. – Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, ¶ 23

History has taught us repeatedly that no civilization or nation has survived a moral collapse. Because of compromise, complacency, and the rejection of truth there is widespread spiritual blindness. After all, how can we not see the unborn child as a human being? How can we not see the plight of the elderly, poor, and persecuted? How can we not see the flagrant assault upon marriage? How can we not see our youth victimized and stalked by a perverse sex-saturated culture?

Simple. Spiritual blindness! Diminished faith! Rejection of truth!

What then is our response to such evil, hardheartedness, and spiritual blindness? The answer is holiness, vigilance, and perseverance. As we hear in the parable of the Ten Bridesmaids, five of the maidens were sterile – ill prepared and caught off guard – while; in contrast, the foresightedness of the five prepared maidens produced a far different outcome. With flasks of oil and with their lamps lit they welcomed the groom and entered the wedding feast.

The decision to follow Christ is born from being loved first and responding generously in Love. In Love one finds comfort, consolation, nourishment, assurance, guidance, and fortitude – a steady readiness to do all He tells you to do.

If we are to combat the Culture of Death and its self-serving ploys, we must be sincere with our Savior and remain close to Him at all times – we must be vigilant, faith-filled, and seek truth crying out, strengthen my faith, O Lord!

Being transformed by Christ is the fulcrum for a radical transformation of our cultures. To the extent to which we answer the call to personal holiness, to the extent to which it is the Holy Spirit living the Life of Christ in us, we will transform the world around us and build a Culture of Life.

Reprinted with permission from Human Life International.

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Brian Jean
Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon


Christians must not allow this man to lead Alberta’s new conservative party

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By Jonathon van Maren

September 11, 2017 (The Bridgehead) -- So true to form, United Conservative Party leadership candidate Brian Jean has decided to make public his commitment to choice in education for Alberta parents, once he realized that his opponent Jason Kenney had received popular support for doing the same thing. “From what we have seen in the social studies curriculum,” Jean announced, bravely echoing others, “there is far more emphasis on ideological social change than in preserving what makes Alberta one of the best places to live in human history.”

As the leadership race in Alberta heats up, it is important for social conservatives to realize what the stakes are. Brian Jean, the leader of the Wildrose Party prior to its merger with the Progressive Conservative Party, is conservative in much the same way that Ontario’s Patrick Brown is—he’s a former Member of Parliament who decided to take a crack at provincial politics, but doesn’t have any specific principles or passions beyond utter contempt for social conservatives. Jean didn’t accomplish much during his time in Ottawa besides discovering his current wife, who was then his Parliamentary Assistant, and after leaving federal politics in 2014, he successfully ran for the leadership of the Wildrose Party in 2015.

While Jean is now attempting to underplay his hostility to a significant number of Alberta conservatives by copycatting Jason Kenney on policies like school choice, Jean loathes social conservatives and has made no secret of that. During the race for the Wildrose leadership in 2015, for example, Jean made it crystal clear that he wanted social conservatives to get booted out of any party he ended up leading. In fact, when the Calgary Sun asked him if he was a social conservative, he fell all over himself to get on the record:

“No,” says Jean, in a nanosecond.

“I’m a fiscal conservative and I’m more of a libertarian. It’s none of my business what people do behind closed doors in their personal life. It’s absolutely none of my business. It’s not any of their business what I do either.”

Still, there is the fear the Wildrose will be painted as a refuge for political whack jobs.

Remember the last week of the 2012 election when defeat was snatched from the jaws of an expected Wildrose victory.

Jean is quick to comment.

“There are nuts in every party. Everybody has these people in their party who others would classify as nutbars.”

“What do we do with them? Well, at first, we can try to manage them and then we get rid of them. That’s the truth of it.

“Albertans need to be able to trust us. When they see our reaction it will be quick. It will be ruthless. It will make sure Albertans know they can continue to trust us and know we’re not some little gang of crazies.

Right. Is that clear? For any social conservative—or conservative who believes that the United Conservative Party should be a coalition of conservative factions rather than those that suit Jean’s preferences—Jean’s response leaves no room for doubt. He wants to manage social conservatives, and then kick them out of the party. In fact, he plans to deal with them ruthlessly—he may promise a few policies that he hopes will garner him a few votes from them, but then the “gang of crazies” will promptly get the boot.

Jean, after all, doesn’t think that anyone who doesn’t hold the same libertine views that he does should be allowed to engage in politics in the first place. When a few comments showed up underneath a Wildrose staffer’s Facebook status announcing his plans to attend Pride, Jean was apoplectic, even though the comments simply expressed the views of plenty of Christians—that Pride showcases a lot of exhibitionism, that the government shouldn’t be involved in the promotion of sexual lifestyles (that used to be a good liberal position), and that, as one commenter noted, “You certainly may do whatever you wish in your own private time. But do not give viewers the impression that this is Wildrose-approved.”

Jean, the supposed conservative or libertarian or whatever he calls himself at the moment, called these comments “hate and abuse,” announced that he would investigate them immediately, and went on TV to assure everyone that anybody who held the traditional Christian view of sexuality had no place in politics, no place in the Wildrose Party, and “no place in any party.” He then made a lazy nod to “freedom of speech” and “freedom of religion,” apparently oblivious to the fact that a few comments disapproving of Pride had triggered him into advocating for the disenfranchising of several religious groups.

So the stakes could not be higher for social conservatives, Christians, and others who hold traditionalist views in the upcoming United Conservative Party leadership race. Brian Jean has made himself perfectly clear: If you hold to Christian views, he doesn’t want you in his party. He may lie and pander a bit over the next several weeks, but he’s already said that you need to be “managed” and then dealt with “ruthlessly.” Jean doesn’t want a United Conservative Party, he wants a party that only contains people who agree with him on libertinism, and his libertarianism flies out the door the moment his own orthodoxies are questioned.

The choice for Christians and social conservatives is clear: If you want to make sure that you have a place in the new United Conservative Party, then make sure that Brian Jean doesn’t.

Editor’s note: Reprinted by permission of the author.

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