All articles from September 12, 2017

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Mary Wagner is arrested in Toronto on December 12, 2016. Lianne Laurence / LifeSiteNews
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Pro-life activist faced 18 months in jail, but today the judge let her walk free

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By Lianne Laurence

TORONTO, September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — An Ontario judge sentenced pro-life activist Mary Wagner to 30 months probation and 50 hours of community service but stopped short of giving her more jail time, even though the Crown asked for a sentence of 18 months.

Justice Rick Libman of the Ontario Court of Justice cited letters attesting to Wagner’s character as well as her deeply held beliefs as mitigating factors when he sentenced her Tuesday for one conviction of mischief and two of breach of probation.

Libman found Wagner guilty August 15 of charges arising from her December 12, 2016, arrest at the Bloor West Village Women’s Clinic, where she tried to persuade women to choose life for their unborn children.

The 43-year-old pro-life activist spent almost six months in jail waiting for her trial because she refused to sign bail conditions requiring she stay away from abortion facilities.

Libman agreed June 9 to release Wagner on the sole condition she return for the remainder of her trial, which began May 25 but was delayed by the Crown’s extraordinary application for a publication ban.  

(Toronto lawyer Phil Horgan will be arguing LifeSiteNews’s application against the publication ban September 18.)

“I would not be here if it was not a matter of life and death,” Wagner told the Court at her sentencing hearing Tuesday.

Wagner read a letter to the court from a woman she met that December 12, who wrote she was “hopeless and helpless” and seven weeks pregnant.

After speaking with Wagner, who showed her “lots of love,” the woman decided against abortion, and is now the mother of an eight-week-old baby boy.

“If I had obeyed the law, that child would not be alive today,” Wagner told the court, packed with some 35 of her supporters.

The letter was just one of hundreds sent to the judge, who told Wagner after convicting her that she could submit character references at the sentencing hearing.

So Wagner asked the wider community to send letters of support, to show she was not alone in her desire to protect unborn children.

According to Campaign Life, where the letters were delivered, the response was “phenomenal.”

“In less than a month, Mary received more than 850 reference letters, 34,000 emails and 67,000 petition signatures in support of her character and unborn children,” Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition noted.

Particularly notable was the enthusiastic response from Poland, where Wagner is regarded as a heroine, and from Polish Canadians.

Letters also came from Japan, the U.K., Germany, and many were emailed directly to Libman and Crown counsel Craig Power, with a copy to Wagner care of CLC.

Libman told Wagner Tuesday he hadn’t contemplated “essentially a petition” seeking to exonerate her.

However, many glowing character references of Wagner from friends and family were mitigating factors in her sentencing, Libman said.

Her mother, Jane, and father, Frank, told the judge of their eldest daughter’s love and concern for her five adopted siblings, who suffer a range of physical and mental disabilities.

There were also letters from among Wagner’s seven biological siblings who spoke of their sister’s patience.

Indeed, even Crown lawyer Craig Power allowed that Wagner was “articulate, pleasant” and “an extremely kind person” who “has a potential for so much good.”

Nevertheless, Power asked Libman to send Wagner to jail for 18 months to deter her from further offences in the future.

Power also submitted Wagner’s criminal record as evidence.

Wagner, whose arrests date back to 2000 in her home province of British Columbia, has served a total of five years in jail because of her non-violent attempts to save women and children from the violence of abortion.

Libman ruled that Wagner’s “moral culpability” was “lessened” because of the reasons behind her actions.

The only reason for her criminal record was because she was acting upon her beliefs, he said.

But her “numerous previous convictions,” and her “planned, deliberate conduct” in attending the abortion facility were aggravating factors in Wagner’s sentencing, he ruled.

Moreover, at the time of her arrest, Wagner was bound by three court orders prohibiting her from being at the abortion facility, the judge said.

Libman also opined Wagner’s conviction for mischief “was not a victimless property offence.”

Witness testimony and video evidence showed staff and “patients” at the abortion facility “impacted by the disruption.”

Libman then quoted a 1994 judgment by Justice George Adams which stated that pro-life protestors “prey upon…emotionally vulnerable” women.

“I don’t understand why you have to break the law to show your beliefs,” the judge said to Wagner earlier in the hearing.

Wagner countered it wasn’t a question of beliefs, but of lives in immediate danger. She likened it to someone refusing to help a suicidal friend because the law said not to.

“If you really love your friend, you’re going to do all you can to help them through that moment of darkness,” she said.

Dr. Charles Lugosi, who argued Wagner’s constitutional challenge, appeared on her behalf early in the proceedings with an application for a stay of proceedings.

He told the Court that under common law, the judge could rule that while technically guilty, Wagner had no moral culpability because of her conviction that her intervention was necessary to save the lives of unborn children.

Libman dismissed Lugosi’s application, noting that the proportionality of the sentence to the gravity of the offence, and Wagner’s blameworthiness, were matter for the sentencing hearing.

His probation order prohibits Wagner from being within 250 meters of the Bloor West Village Woman’s Clinic, or to be in contact with the abortion facility employees or staff.

Wagner also remains under a previous probation order, issued by Justice Katrina Mulligan, until April 2019.

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Catholic hospital system defies Pope, vows to continue euthanizing patients

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By Lisa Bourne

BRUSSELS, Belgium, September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Belgian Brothers of Charity are insisting they will keep allowing euthanasia at their hospitals despite the Vatican’s order to reverse their policy.

The Brothers of Charity Group “continues to stand by its vision statement on euthanasia for mental suffering in a non-terminal situation,” its statement said.

The Group now faces possible canonical action, including potential excommunication from the Church, unless it complies.

The Board of Trustees for the Catholic charity said in April it would permit euthanasia to non-terminally-ill psychiatric patients who request it in the 15 psychiatric hospitals that it operates serving some 5,000 patients in its Belgian region.

The September 12 statement defending the policy allowing euthanasia for non-terminally ill psychiatric patients also said the Brothers of Charity “emphatically believe” the practice is compatible with Catholic teaching, the Catholic Herald reports.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that euthanasia “is morally unacceptable” and “constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator.”

The Group’s decision to defy the Vatican on Church teaching on the sanctity of human life had “come about starting from the Christian frame of thought,” they claim. But, they say, they “always take into account the shifts and evolutions within society.”

Euthanasia has been legal in Belgium since 2002. It is already being committed on psychiatric patients there, and nursing homes and hospitals resisting euthanasia have been under pressure since a court fined a Catholic nursing home €6,000 last year for preventing a resident from accessing euthanasia.

The Brothers of Charity Board’s decision will make euthanasia easier to get now for people with schizophrenia, personality disorders, depression, autism or loneliness. And it will in fact result in more difficulty finding an institution in Belgium that does not conduct euthanasia.

After the Board of Trustees April announcement allowing euthanasia in its facilities, the superior general of the Brothers of Charity, Brother René Stockman, informed the entire congregation the Board’s decision violated the order’s charism and was unacceptable.

The Board is made up mostly of lay people and is connected to the Brothers of Charity religious congregation though it is still separate.

Brother Stockman also notified the Belgian Bishops Conference, Belgium’s nuncio and the Vatican regarding the Board’s contravening Church teaching on euthanasia.

In May the Vatican began an investigation and the Belgian Bishops Conference made a statement against euthanasia.

Pope Francis gave the Brothers of Charity until the end of August to stop making euthanasia available to psychiatric patients.

Brothers who serve on the Board of the Brothers of Charity Group were to each sign a joint letter to their superior general affirming they "fully support the vision of the magisterium of the Catholic Church, which has always confirmed that human life must be respected and protected in absolute terms, from the moment of conception till its natural end."

Brothers refusing to sign the letter are supposed to face canonical sanctions, according to the decree approved by Pope Francis, and the Brothers of Charity Group should face legal action up to and including being expelled from the Church if it fails to change the policy.

The former head of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, who serves on the Brothers of Charity Group board, took an apparent swipe last month at Pope Francis, tweeting “The time of ‘Roma locuta causa finita’ has long been over.”

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U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein questions Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett at a confirmation hearing.
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Princeton president defends Trump nominee attacked for being Catholic

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By Claire Chretien

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September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The President of Princeton University asked the Democratic senator who aggressively questioned a Trump judicial nominee about her Catholic faith to cease from "interrogating" nominees about their religion.

Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber wrote to Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-California, and her colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee explaining that it was unconstitutional to force Amy Coney Barrett to explain her religious beliefs as part of her vetting to be a judge on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Barrett is a University of Notre Dame law professor.

"When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you," Feinstein told Barrett during her confirmation hearing. "And that's of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for, for years in this country."

Pro-abortion Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin asked Barrett if she considers herself an "orthodox Catholic." 

Eisgruber's letter urged the Committee to "refrain from interrogating nominees about the religious or spiritual foundations of their jurisprudential views."

"Article VI of the United States Constitution provides explicitly that 'no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States,'" Eisgruber noted. 

"The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Torcaso v. Watkins (1961), holding that the First and Fourteenth Amendments render this principle applicable to state offices and that it protects non-believers along with believers of all kinds, is among the greatest landmarks in America’s jurisprudence of religious freedom," he continued.

A person's religion is "constitutionally irrelevant to the qualifications for a federal judgeship," wrote Eisgruber, and "the questions directed to Professor Barrett about her faith were not consistent with the principle set forth in the Constitution’s 'no religious test' clause."

It's possible to ask judicial nominees about their judicial philosophies without bringing up their religious beliefs, he wrote, "and Article VI insists that the Senate observe that restriction."

Barrett's Catholicism came under scrutiny partly because she wrote an article about ethical dilemnas for Catholic judges who oppose the death penalty in certain cases.  

"I have read that article, and I believe that the views expressed in it are fully consistent with a judge’s obligation to uphold the law and the Constitution," wrote Eisgruber. "As a university president committed to free speech, academic freedom, and religious pluralism, I must add that, in my view, Professor Barrett’s qualifications become stronger by virtue of her willingness to write candidly and intelligently about difficult and sensitive ethical questions."

Universities, the judiciary, and "our country will be the poorer if the Senate prefers nominees who remain silent on such topics," he continued. "I am deeply concerned by the harsh and often unfair criticisms that are now routinely leveled from both sides of the political spectrum against distinguished judicial nominees who would serve this country honorably and well. On the basis of her accomplishments and scholarly writing, I believe that Professor Barrett is in that category."

"Every Senator and every American should cherish and safeguard vigorously" the constitutional protections against religious discrimination against public officials. 

Father John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the President of Notre Dame, also wrote Feinstein to express "deep concern at your line of questioning."

"I am not a legal scholar, but I have heard no one seriously challenge her impeccable legal credentials," wrote Jenkins. "I am one in whose heart 'dogma lives loudly,' as it has for centuries in the lives of many Americans, some of whom have given their lives in service to this nation. Indeed, it lived loudly in the hearts of those who founded our nation as one where citizens could practice their faith freely and without apology."

Jenkins noted Barrett said she'd follow legal precedent and "in rare cases in which her conscience would not allow her to do so, she would recuse herself."

"It is chilling to hear from a United States Senator that this might now disqualify someone from service as a federal judge," he concluded. "I ask you and your colleagues to respect those in whom 'dogma lives loudly' — which is a condition we call faith. For the attempt to live such faith while one upholds the law should command respect, not evoke concern." 

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Deceased dubia Cardinal: ‘The Lord will not abandon His Church’

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By Pete Baklinski

Pray for the souls of the deceased dubia Cardinals. Sign the pledge here.

September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- A priest and personal friend of the late Cardinal Carlo Caffarra revealed that just days before death, the Cardinal shed tears over the confusion in the Catholic Church under Pope Francis while stating his unshakeable faith in the Lord who he said would not abandon His Church. 

Italian journalist Antonio Socci related the priest’s story on his blog, published in translation at OnePeterFive.

A priest confided to me that in the past few days, he went to tell the Cardinal of his distress over the disasters that he endures in the Church every day, mentioning some incidents to him.

The cardinal burst into tears, saying:

“The Lord will not abandon His Church. There were twelve apostles, so the Lord will start again with a few. Imagine the suffering of Saint Athanasius, who was left alone to defend the truth for the love of Christ, of the Church and of men. We must have faith, hope and fortitude.”

The priest related to Socci that the Cardinal was “very sorrowful, but he conveyed to me so much courage and love for the Church.”

Socci explained that Caffarra’s reference to St. Athanasius was significant given that it was almost alone that Bishop Athanasius defended the truth of the Catholic faith against the Arian heresy in the early fourth century. 

Cardinal Caffarra was one of the four Cardinals who sent Pope Francis the dubia asking for clarity on the Pope’s 2016 Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. He died September 6 at the age of 79. 

A few months before he died, Caffarra begged Pope Francis in a letter made public in June to end the “confusion and disorientation” within the Church after the publication of the Pope’s Exhortation. 

But Pope Francis never answered the Cardinal’s April 25 plea, just as he never answered the September 19, 2016 plea of Caffarra along with three other cardinals to confirm that his Exhortation conformed to perennial Catholic teaching. 

The Cardinal clearly outlined the devastation the Exhortation was already causing in the Church in the first year of its publication. 

“During this time, interpretations of some objectively ambiguous passages of the post-synodal Exhortation have publicly been given that are not divergent from but contrary to the permanent Magisterium of the Church,” he wrote. 

“Despite the fact that the Prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith has repeatedly declared that the doctrine of the Church has not changed, numerous statements have appeared from individual Bishops, Cardinals, and even Episcopal Conferences, approving what the Magisterium of the Church has never approved,” he added. 

Caffarra wrote that it was “painful” for him to witness the Exhortation’s effect upon the Church. 

“Not only access to the Holy Eucharist for those who objectively and publicly live in a situation of grave sin, and intend to remain in it, but also a conception of moral conscience contrary to the Tradition of the Church,” he wrote. 

“And so it is happening — how painful it is to see this! — that what is sin in Poland is good in Germany, that what is prohibited in the archdiocese of Philadelphia is permitted in Malta,” he added. 

Socci suspects that along with the illness Caffarra “died of a broken heart.”

“Certainly in the secrecy of prayer, he had offered God his life for this poor, lost Christianity,” he wrote. 

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Pro-gay Vatican adviser gets Catholic group suspended from Twitter

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By Lisa Bourne

Urge Pope Francis to remove Fr. James Martin as a Vatican adviser. Sign the petition!

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A faithful Catholic lay apostolate was suspended by Twitter last week after Vatican adviser Father James Martin complained about a tweet that teasingly stated the pro-gay Jesuit had been bested in a theological debate on the social media platform.

Father Martin claims that a Catholic Vote tweet urged violence against him and reported CV to Twitter, resulting in the group’s suspension.

"Enough,” the Jesuit tweeted. “When you urge violence against me, even in a supposedly joking way, you cross the line. You’ve been reported to Twitter. Enough.”

The now-deleted tweet to which he was replying said, “And then this Dominican showed up and started beating @JamesMartinSJ like a rented mule. The crowd went wild.”

Father Martin did not respond to LifeSiteNews’ inquiry about his perception of the tweet or specifics of how additional reaction has played out.

Catholic Vote confirmed for LifeSiteNews the group was suspended from Twitter for 12 hours as a result of the priest’s complaint.

CV disputes Father Martin’s assertion that the tweet called for violence and says the high-profile priest was just trying to shut them down.

“Any reasonable person would realize that the tweet in question was a figure of speech,” CV communications director Joshua Mercer told LifeSiteNews. “If someone were to say he totally burned him, should we call the fire department?”

“To suggest that our tweet was an incitement to violence is total garbage and can't be taken seriously,” Mercer said. “That Fr. Jim Martin called on Twitter to suspend our account over a figure of speech suggests that he's not really interested in building bridges, but in shutting people down.” 

Mercer’s reference to building bridges stems from the title of Father Martin’s latest book that calls for dialogue between the Catholic Church and LGBT-identifying Catholics.

The book, based in part upon an award he received last fall for the Vatican-censured, dissident New Ways Ministry homosexual advocacy group, also calls for the Church to change its Catechism language in regard to Catholics who experience or act upon same-sex attraction or gender confusion to be more welcoming.

It also calls for an end to firing employees of Catholic institutions who publicly dissent from Church teaching on sexual morality -- even though that is an established expectation of Catholic employees.

Reaction to Father Martin getting Catholic Vote kicked off Twitter included C-Fam President Austin Ruse calling the Jesuit out for his handling of the CV tweet.

Ruse charged Father Martin with bearing false witness against Catholic Vote, and in doing so propelled the debate into high gear.

"@jamesmartinsj 's response to a figure of speech is so pansified. I do believe he's out of the closet,” Ruse said in the now-deleted tweet.

“He reacted like a snowflake would,” Ruse told LifeSiteNews. “He took something that bothered him and he ran to teacher for protection.”

Father Martin typically doesn’t respond on social media to criticism he receives. His followers do, though, on his behalf, often harshly and without deterrence from him.

Ruse’s response, as with Catholic Vote’s tweet, did generate reaction from the celebrity priest.

The narrative in Father Martin’s response was that Ruse called him a pansy outright when Ruse’s response referenced the priest’s reporting CV to Twitter and the way in which he did so as "pansified."

Father Martin also called attention on Twitter to the fact Ruse writes a column for Crisis Magazine and is a member of two Catholic fraternal organizations. And he took the opportunity to say Ruse’s tweet was example of hatred and evidence that real homophobia is alive in “high echelons” of the Church.

“Insults like "pansy" are what LGBT people hear, even from Catholics (a columnist @Crisis) Hatred strengthen my desire to advocate for them,” he tweeted, and, “The man who uses the word "pansy" on Twitter is both a Knight of Malta and of the Holy Sepulchre. So homophobia exists in high echelons.”

Significant back and forth was ongoing on social media in the days after the Twitter suspension. Ruse insisted throughout that Father Martin slandered Catholic Vote, lying in the process, and that Father Martin lied about the specifics of Ruse’s response.

Ruse repeatedly challenged the priest on this and also his approach to homosexuality and the Church. Father Martin’s response began and ended with his claim of CV’s purported encouragement of violence and assertion that Ruse used a homophobic slur against him, and that this was a “teachable moment” on homophobia in the Church.

Ruse drew the expected extreme pushback from the Jesuit’s followers, but also had one or two critics on his side saying he was insufficiently charitable in his choice of language.

Ruse told LifeSiteNews regarding the use of politically incorrect speech in the debate that different people use different language in the fight and that some aren’t willing to take the gloves off.

“You’ve got to tell home truths about what these people are doing,” he said.

Ruse also pointed out that some of Father Martin’s supporters have called for Ruse’s firing from Crisis, and that at least two of Father Martin’s social media followers advocated violence against him. And he noted that Father Martin seems to have no problem with that response.

Ruse stressed that the real issue is Father Martin’s lie about both Catholic Vote and his response - and more so that Father Martin consistently does so about the issue of homosexuality and the Church changing its teaching in that regard.

“He lies to thousands of young men and women about their condition in life,” Ruse stated. “And he’s leading those men and women to perdition.”

He maintains the real matter is the Jesuit priest leading people astray in matters of faith and morals.

“I don’t regret characterizing Father Martin as a liar or saying that he acted like a snowflake,” Ruse told LifeSiteNews. “The opportunity it has afforded us is to show he’s a liar on a much larger issue.”

The Twitter suspension came amid growing concern that big tech and media companies led by progressives are censoring conservative, pro-life and other traditional or faith-related voices.

Twitter suppressed Live Action’s pro-life ads this past summer because they were critical of Planned Parenthood or showed images of unborn children in the womb. Last month, Twitter banned an ad for a book titled “One Man One Woman: God’s Original Design for Marriage” because the ad violated Twitter’s “Hate” policy.   

Twitter’s suspension of Catholic Vote also reflects a growing concern that dissenters from Church teaching are more emboldened to speak out during the Pope Francis pontificate.

Pope Francis appointed Father Martin as a consultor to the Vatican's Secretariat for Communications in April.

The Jesuit is one of 13 consultants chosen from across the world to advise the Vatican on its communications operations.

The pope had created the new dicastery in June 2015, consolidating all of the Vatican’s communications entities under one department. The secretariat is responsible for several Vatican communication offices, including Holy See Press Office, Vatican Radio, the Holy See's website and the pope's Twitter account @Pontifex.

Father Martin has been an advocate for LGBT issues for some time, vocally affirming those who experience and act upon LGBT inclinations.

He has been criticized for misleading people by giving the impression that Church teaching on homosexuality may change in the future – when that is not a possibility. And he has sparked controversy for neglecting to speak the truths taught by the Church to individuals who act upon LGBT inclinations and commit sexual sins while doing so.

He has tweeted support for gender-confused persons to have access to restrooms of the opposite sex and criticism for those who spoke out against the Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalizing gay “marriage.”

Editor-at-large for Jesuit-run America Magazine, Father Martin is continually given a speaking platform in Catholic venues and uses his extremely large high-profile social media accounts to champion his stances.

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Catholic leaders defend Trump after Pope challenges his pro-life views

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By Doug Mainwaring

September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life Catholic leaders are defending President Trump against Pope Francis after the Pontiff questioned Trump’s pro-life views, despite the fact that Trump has racked up major pro-life accomplishments during his short time in office.

“If Pope Francis is so concerned with the commitment of others to the defense of preborn children, he should consider his own words and actions, as well,” said Michael Hichborn, founder and president of the Lepanto Institute.

The Pope questions the President’s pro-life credentials

On the return flight from his visit to Colombia, Pope Francis criticized Trump 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.”

Hichborn points out a dichotomy present in the Pope’s statement. “One has to ask why Pope Francis, who was silent about President Obama's full support of the abortion industry, is questioning President Trump's commitment to the pro-life cause,” Hichborn wondered. “Since ‘the family is the cradle of life and you must defend its unity,’ as Pope Francis says, perhaps he will now clarify that permitting sacrilegious confessions and Communions to divorced and 'remarried' Catholics is a direct assault on the unity of the family.”

Hichborn doesn’t stop there. “Pope Francis has caused great confusion and concern for Catholics since he took office. He called Emma Bonino, an Italian abortionist, one of Italy’s ‘lost greats.’ He suggested that contraception might be justifiable in light of the Zika outbreak. He has hosted population control enthusiasts in the Vatican. He is collaborating with population control enthusiast Jeffrey Sachs. He gutted the Pontifical Academy for Life and actually appointed a pro-abortion theologian to the academy.”

Deal Wyatt Hudson, president of the Morley Institute for Church and Culture and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine, expressed a similar sentiment. “It saddens me that the Holy Father refuses to recognize President Trump's convictions and actions to protect the unborn in our nation. He does the Church a huge disservice by doubting the president's commitment to protect life because of his views on immigration, as if persons cannot be called ‘pro-life’ unless they agree with Pope Francis on that issue.”

Austin Ruse, president of the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam), recounted a short litany of pro-life actions already taken by the new White House. “President Trump has appointed a pro-life constitutionalist to the Supreme Court. He has appointed pro-life constitutionalist to the lower benches. He has defunded the rapaciously pro-abortion UN Population Fund. He has taken pro-life positions at the UN. He has staffed the Department of Health and Human Services stem to stern with pro-life Catholics and Evangelicals.”

The Pope’s seamless garment vs. the President’s protection for the unborn

Some pro-life church leaders questioned the Pope’s conflation of immigration policy with protections for the unborn. “I think it is problematic to merge of all these issues together into one,” said Mallory Quigley, communications director the for pro-life Susan B. Anthony List.

Quigley feels that stacking the two issues together unfairly obscures the president’s major pro-life achievements. “The United States has some of the most permissive, pro-abortion laws on the books and President Trump made four key promises to change that. He has absolutely governed as a president who values the sanctity of life from the moment of conception.”

Like C-fam’s Ruse, Quigley noted that President Trump “has appointed pro-life judges and others to key offices. His administration took immediate action to enact and expand the Mexico City Policy stopping taxpayer dollar from funding abortion overseas. He’s also signed legislation allowing states to defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s number one abortion business, through Title X.”

Does Pope Francis not understand how America works?

Robert Royal, founder and president of the Faith and Reason Institute, suggested that perhaps the Pope fails to understand how the American system of government works:  “DACA was unconstitutional - as even President Obama conceded, until he decided to do it anyway  ... I don’t think he understands that President Trump has thrown the problem to Congress, where it belongs, to develop - constitutionally - the right response to the situation.”

“We in America admit over one million legal immigrants each year. So America is not the xenophobic nation that the media and some of our religious leaders seem to believe,” Royal added.

Judie Brown, President of the American Life League, also wonders if “Pope Francis has misunderstood President Trump.” She continued, “Pope Francis has failed to see a fundamental difference between respect for the integrity of the human person and President Trump's effort to mainstream undocumented aliens in a way that comports with the laws of the United States of America.”

Not all important issues facing the church and the world today carry the same weight.  

“The United States has exponentially more foreign-born citizens than any other country,”  Ruse observed. “With all due respect, DACA is a prudential matter best left to lay experts.”

Hudson added, “Pope Francis is effectively using a prudential matter -- immigration -- to judge a settled matter of Church teaching -- the prohibition of abortion. He's got the thing backward.”

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Pregnant mom of 6 declines cancer treatment, dies to save baby girl’s life

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By Fr. Mark Hodges

ANN ARBOR, Michigan, September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- A Christian mother of five gave up her only chance for life to give life to her sixth child.

Carrie and Nick DeKlyen were stunned in April by tests that showed Carrie’s headaches were caused by a brain tumor. “You think you are going in for migraine headaches,” Nick shared. “The doctors came back and said, ‘You have a mass on your brain, but it doesn’t look like cancer.’“

The full-time homemaker known for her loving and generous spirit immediately underwent surgery to remove the tumor at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Campus in Grand Rapids.

The DeKlyens’ hopes were dashed yet again when tests showed the tumor was cancerous. Within weeks, the tumor grew back. Worse, the type of cancer she had, Glioblastoma, spreads rapidly and is terminal.

Glioblastoma multiforme cells grow quickly, but Carrie qualified and was accepted into a promising clinical trial that could prolong her life for a decade or more.

Then an unexpected complication came: Carrie was found to be eight weeks’ pregnant.

Doctors told Carrie that if she went ahead with the clinical trial, her preborn baby would have to be aborted. The only other option was chemotherapy, which might give Carrie a few years but would certainly kill her baby.

“We talked about it and prayed about it,” Nick said. “Even with everything on the table, my wife chose the baby.”

That fateful May, Carrie was resolute. She and Nick are pro-life believers, not just in words but in deeds. Married 17 years, they met in church when Carrie was 10 and Nick was 12.

After a second surgery to remove as much as possible of the recurrent tumor, Carrie cancelled plans for the potentially life-saving clinical trial and life-prolonging chemotherapy.

Carrie reportedly said, “All the treatments, I’m not doing any of them.”

The surgeon replied, “If you choose to do this, you will not live another 10 months. I promise, you will die.”

“We love the Lord. We’re pro-life,” the DeKlyens explained. “We believe that God gave us this baby.”

Carrie decided to forgo her own treatment and hold out as long as possible to give her baby a chance at life. Thirty-two weeks is all she wanted, she said. Family members supported her decision.

By June, the tumor was back but inoperable. Carrie was taken to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The only thing doctors could do was drain the fluid buildup that was pressuring Carrie’s brain.

In July at 19 weeks’ gestation, the pain was so great that Carrie went back to Ann Arbor in convulsions. She suffered a stroke in the emergency room and went into a coma.

“They said that she had a massive stroke,” Nick related. “They said the fluid built up so much the cranium had no place to go.”

Nick followed his wife’s deepest wishes and authorized a feeding tube and respirator to keep Carrie alive so their daughter could grow strong enough to deliver.

By August, Carrie’s brain was under such pressure that the surgeons had to remove her skull to keep her going.

At 22 weeks, the baby’s growth slowed. Two weeks later, the preborn girl had grown sufficiently but had stopped moving. Doctors told Nick that he could do nothing and hope for the best, or he could authorize an emergency C-section delivery. They said they felt it was the baby’s only chance of survival.

Life Lynn DeKlyen was born at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, at one pound, four ounces. The couple chose the baby’s name before Carrie’s tumor was discovered.

“I went to the surgeon and said my wife had had enough,” Nick said. “She chose to have the baby. That’s what she wanted, and I supported her. She had the baby, and now it’s time to go home. She’s going to heaven. She’s going to be healed.”

Doctors disconnected Carrie’s feeding tube and respirator. Elijah, 18, Isaiah, 16, Nevaeh, 11, and Dad spent Thursday sitting with their mom at her death bed. “I sat by her the whole time,” Nick said tenderly. He held her hand, kissed her and told her, “You did good.”

“I told her, ‘I love you, and I’ll see you in heaven.’”

In the wee hours of Friday morning, Carrie opened her eyes and then closed them. She squeezed her hands, then let go and stopped breathing at 4:30 a.m.

“She gave up her life for the baby,” Nick told The Washington Post. “I just want people to know that my wife loved the Lord. She loved her kids. She put anybody in front of her needs … above herself.”

“Carrie, we love you and we will miss you, but your legacy will live on,” the DeKlyens’ Facebook page reads. “You have touched so many lives and your love for Jesus was evident in the way you lived your life ... We know we will see you again!”

Life DeKlyen is now in intensive care doing well. “The baby is doing better than anyone expected,” Nick said the day after Life’s birth. “She is healthy, and she’s almost breathing on her own.”

“I want people to know Carrie gave of herself for everybody. In her last days, she gave of herself for her own child,” Nick’s sister, Sonya, said. “We are proud of her.”

Nick stays at the Ann Arbor Ronald McDonald House between frequent trips home to the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming to check on their children, Elijah, Isaiah, Neaveh, Lelia, 3, and baby Jez, 1.

Nick sold his stake in a vending business months ago to care for Carrie, and now his family’s only means of support is GoFundMe page donations.

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16.

“This life is so quick,” Nick commented. “I’m going to pass away, and I’m going to see her again. I understand that. That gives me peace.”

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Rebekah Buell with her two sons. The youngest, Zechariah, was rescued from abortion through Abortion Pill Reversal.
Jay Hobbs


Pro-life group ordered to stop teaching nurses how to ‘reverse’ abortions

Jay Hobbs

September 12, 2017 (PregnancyHelpNews) — If there was any doubt about California’s status as the nation’s standard-bearer for abortion, a letter sent September 5 by the state’s Board of Registered Nursing should clear that up in a jiffy.

Acting at the behest of abortion activists in the state legislature and online media, the Board of Nursing reversed its decision from just a month prior, sending Heartbeat International a letter to demand that the pro-life pregnancy help network “cease and desist” offering nurses continuing education units (CEUs) for Abortion Pill Reversal classes.

Over 350 doctors nationally have joined the Abortion Pill Reversal network, while 300 mothers have successfully rescued their children from abortion through the medical intervention (see here and here for examples), which introduces an emergency and ongoing progesterone treatment to counteract the first of two pills in the chemical abortion (RU-486) process.

The Board’s sudden reversal seems a direct effort to deny a woman access to her own choice during an unexpected pregnancy, Heartbeat International president Jor-El Godsey said Monday.

“This is a naked political assault on a procedure that is the very essence of choice,” Godsey said. “To oppose Abortion Pill Reversal is not only to deny the science and reality that there are children living today because of it, but it’s to materially keep a woman from even so much as knowing she has the option to potentially stop a chemical abortion once it has begun. This is the abortion lobby taking choices away from women.”

Playing politics with women, children and nurses

The letter, postmarked September 5 and received September 11, gives Heartbeat International five days from receipt of the letter to remove CEU credit from its online courses, offered online through the Heartbeat Academy. 

It also marks a 180-degree shift from a letter the same Board sent Heartbeat International and sister pro-life network, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), approving both organizations’ status as a continuing education providers. 

The original letter, sent July 28, 2017, followed a 17-month period where the Board reviewed hundreds of pages of submitted documentation starting in February 2016. No subsequent paperwork or filing of any kind was requested prior to or cited in the most recent letter.

The Board had originally questioned Heartbeat International’s inclusion of Abortion Pill Reversal courses during the audit process, but then agreed to reinstate the courses after Heartbeat International responded with a multi-point statement demonstrating the courses’ relevance to nursing practices. 

While Heartbeat International is complying with the letter’s demand to remove CEU credit from its online Abortion Pill Reversal courses, the courses will still be activated while the organization appeals the Board’s latest decree.

“How the Board of Nursing can play politics with the lives of women and children is beyond me,” Godsey said. “If there were any hint of noncompliance on our part, it’s clear a 17-month audit would have uncovered it. What could possibly have changed in one month’s time? 

“Meanwhile, nurses across California and the nation could be presented with patients who want to reverse their abortion decision before it is too late, and this new mandate prevents nurses from being prepared to serve their own patients.”

A hunt for non-compliance 

Meanwhile, radically pro-abortion media source reported September 8 — three days before Heartbeat International received the letter — that the letter had been sent. The site had originally influenced San Francisco Bay Area state senator Jerry Hill to call for the audit of Heartbeat International and others in early 2016.

After pushing the Board to audit Heartbeat International — a nonprofit that serves 2,200 affiliates worldwide and operates a 24-7 pregnancy helpline, Option Line — Hill then proposed legislation that was eventually adopted by the state and signed into law in 2016 by Gov. Jerry Brown that beefed up the requirements for nursing CEU providers.

That law, however — which mandated that courses rely only on “generally accepted scientific principles” — was insufficient to wield against the Abortion Pill Reversal courses. Instead, the Board cited California Code of Regulations (CCR) Section 1456 in its demand letter to Heartbeat International.

Curiously, the section cited by the Board pertains only to the need for courses to be “relevant to the practice of nursing,” differentiating between courses that deal with patient care (direct and indirect) and those which, “deal with self-improvement, changes in attitude, financial gain, and those courses designed for lay people … ”

Fitting that definition, Heartbeat International only offers CEU credit to nurses for Abortion Pill Reversal courses it offers online and at its annual conference. 

Heartbeat International has been a California-approved CEU provider since 2012, opting to go through California because the state’s CEUs are generally accepted throughout the U.S. Since 2015, Heartbeat International has issued nursing CEUs to well over 400 nurses.

A coordinated effort to steal choices

The Board’s flip-flop fits into a larger pattern of the state of California’s targeting of political opponents who pose an alternative to abortion or otherwise threaten the abortion industry’s marketplace stranglehold.

In addition to pursuing charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt in response to their three-year undercover work of exposing Planned Parenthood and others’ complicity in the trafficking of body parts harvested from aborted babies, the state of California also launched an assault on community-funded pro-life pregnancy centers and medical clinics with a 2015 law that could be challenged at the Supreme Court as early as this month.

Earlier this month, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by several California churches that are challenging the state’s Department of Managed Health Care requirement that all insurance companies cover the cost of their employees’ abortions.

“At this point, it’s hard to say we’re surprised by any effort to prop up the failing abortion industry,” Godsey said. “But this is a direct effort to steal a mother’s choice right out from under her. Women and men become nurses to help and serve others, but politically driven moves like this keep them from accomplishing their compassionate, God-given mission.”

​Reprinted with permission from Pregnancy Help News.

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Homosexual activist Dan Savage
Peter LaBarbera Peter LaBarbera Follow Peter


‘Gay’ journalist group backed by Fox News gives award to vicious homosexual activist

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By Peter LaBarbera

September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A "gay journalists association" heavily backed by Fox News and other major media placed homosexual activist and X-rated, anti-Christian author Dan Savage in its "LGBT Journalists Hall of Fame" — despite Savage's record of vicious anti-conservative antics and statements, such as wishing Republicans dead.

The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NJLGA) receives tens of thousands of dollars in grants from major media, lending legitimacy to its claim that it is merely a “professional association.” The media money poured in again this year at the group’s annual convention in Philadelphia that just concluded.

But the NLGJA’s “spin” is belied by its obvious activism — whether it is politicizing the English language to accommodate the latest LGBTQ fad or celebrating a man who represents the very worst of in-your-face “gay” activism.

In that profane world, Savage is in a league of his own, gaining notoriety through such wicked stunts and advocacy as:

  • "redefining" then-Sen. Rick Santorum's last name as the vile byproduct of rectal sodomy, to create a “Google bomb” against him because he was upset at something Santorum said. (2008)
  • launching an “Impeach the Mother F—ker Already” (ITMFA) campaign against President Donald Trump (2017)
  • crusading for married straight couples to be as NON-monogamous as homosexual male couples;
  • saying on national late-night TV (Bill Maher’s HBO show that he wished that all Republicans “were [f---king] dead” (2011; Savage later apologized for that one);
  • creepily licked GOP evangelical presidential candidate Gary Bauer’s doorknobs at his Iowa campaign office in a bizarre attempt to give him a cold (2000).

The list goes on and on. It is a sad testimony of the atheist Savage’s dedication to serving evil and perversion (like his “amateur porn” festivals) that this excellent 2012 Family Research Council Action video on Savage as Obama’s “bully-in-chief” only skims the surface of his prodigious record of championing sexual sin and maligning his foes (including yours truly).

And yet the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) gave Savage the hero treatment in its September 5 press release, which conveniently left out Savage’s notorious history of salacious, mean-spirited and reckless activism. Here is the NLGJA’s whitewashed description of Savage:

Dan Savage is an award-winning journalist and author, TV personality, and activist best known for his political and social commentary, as well as his honest approach to sex, love and relationships. His sex advice column, “Savage Love,” introduced over 25 years ago, is now syndicated throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia. He is the Editorial Director of The Stranger, and his byline has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Rolling Stone, The Onion and on Savage is also the author of several books spurring Publishers’ Weekly to name him, “America’s most in-your-face sex columnist and gay rights activist.” In September 2010, Savage created a YouTube video with his husband Terry Miller to inspire hope for LGBTQ young people facing harassment and especially to let LGBTQ youth know that ,“it gets better”. Today, the It Gets Better Project ( has become a global movement, inspiring more than 50,000 It Gets Better videos viewed over 50 million times.

A modern redundancy

Over the years, I have interacted with the NLGJA as a pro-family critic, going back to when it was founded in 1990 by the late Leroy Aarons, who knew the power that “out and proud” homosexuals could have in changing (I would say corrupting) America’s newsrooms.

The NLGJA bills itself “an organization of journalists, news executives, media professionals, educators and students working from within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBTQ issues.” Strange then, that the same group papered over its honoree Dan Savage’s history of anti-Christian bigotry, callous web bullying, physical harassment of foes and promotion of pornography—to celebrate this misguided soul.

Below is a portion of a letter I sent to NLGJA spokesman Dillon Lewis and the group’s president, Jen Christensen:

Dillon, this is Peter LaBarbera. I'm a writer for the conservative news site LifeSiteNews and a longtime pro-family (socially conservative) advocate, who, incidentally, has been allowed to attend NLGJA events as a critic and even spoke at one of your organization's panels many years back. 

I noticed that the NLGJA just honored Dan Savage by inducting him into their LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame….

What is missing from the release (and I understand why) is any mention of Savage's caustic rhetoric and sometimes vicious actions against Christians and conservatives — e.g., his creation of "," which seeks to "redefine" former Sen. Rick Santorum's last name as a byproduct of anal sex. Savage, of course, is well known for being over the top in his activism — it's his calling card — and stunts like the Santorum smear and his "ITMFA" campaign against Trump have led conservatives, some liberals and even some gay advocates to label him as hateful and hypocritical. (After all, Dan crusades against "bullying.")

I have disagreed with NLGJA's characterization of itself as a mere professional association, and I think here again we see evidence of your organization letting its "LGBT activist" hair down. Your release conveniently fails to mention or illustrate the highly controversial nature of Dan's protests and how he has come to personify the polarizing brand of leftist LGBT radicalism that many Americans abhor.

Can you or Ms. Christensen give me any comment on:

1) Why did you as a *journalistic* organization omit the more unsavory (many would say hateful) aspects of Savage's record in your description of him?;

2) How honoring Savage as a "journalist" affects the image that the NLGJA has cultivated for itself as a professional journalists’ group--as opposed to an LGBTQ advocacy organization? (Savage also celebrates amateur porn — another fact left out in your cheerleading bio of him.)

3) Certainly Dan is prolific. But how does honoring a man whose idea of acceptable political discourse is to launch an "Impeach the Mother [F—ker] Already" campaign against a president he dislikes actually serve the cause of journalism, civility or national healing in any way?”

In my letter, I offered to share the “gay journalist”’ group’s response to my questions, but I’m not expecting much if anything from them. The NLGJA is about as relevant these days as specialty homosexual bookstores and “gay” magazines. You see, the “gay journalism” movement, like the rest of the Gay Lobby, has been so successful it has become a redundancy.

Who needs a “gay journalists” group when so many in the so-called “mainstream media” are such passionate pro-gay and pro-transgender advocates that they no longer believe there is a legitimate, conservative “other side” in LGBTQ-related stories? (And don’t forget “out” homosexual journalists like Fox News’ Shep Smith, who hardly hides his antipathy toward Christians.)

On the other hand, it’s hard to come down too hard on “gay” journalists who honor a vulgar sex rebel like Savage when the rest of the media (e.g., Katie Couric) similarly lionize Savage, while they dutifully push the Left’s “fake hate” narrative to demonize moral-minded Christians as being on a par with the KKK.

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Canadian lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos with Hamilton parent Steve Tourloukis Lianne Laurence / LifeSiteNews
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Lawyer skillfully fights for rights of Christians in Canada

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By Jonathon van Maren

September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — In 2016, the Court of Appeal for Ontario called Albertos Polizogopoulos “forceful and eloquent” in his defence of Trinity Western University’s right to run a law school according to their Christian beliefs — a rare and singular shout-out to a lawyer from the bench. Earlier this year, the Catholic Register referred to him as the “bearded and energetic” defender of Christian physicians, as he argued on behalf of the Christian Medical and Dental Society in Canada and asserted their right to freedom of conscience in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. And Don Hutchinson, a lawyer and author of Religious Freedom and the Church in Canada at 150 (1867-2017) called Polizogopoulos “simply one of the country’s best courtroom litigators.”

One reason many Canadian Christians may not have heard of Polizogopoulos is that he is self-deprecating and tends to downplay his many achievements. But it is also due to the fact that Christians in Canada have not yet woken up to the reality that religious freedom, conscience rights, and parental rights in education have been under fierce attack for the better part of the last decade. While many Christian communities slumber on, those rights have been defended through the tireless work of overworked lawyers like Polizogopoulos, who do not receive the recognition they deserve from the Christian communities they serve. Because so few lawyers have the skill set necessary to take on these cases, Polizogopoulos does nearly all of these cases pro-bono or at a reduced fee, at significant personal financial cost.

Polizogopoulos did not enter law school at the University of Ottawa with plans to become, as one newspaper called him, a specialist “in religious freedom litigation.” But in his first year of law school, he met the woman who would become his wife — Faye Sonier, who now serves as executive director and legal counsel for the Canadian Physicians for Life. She was a Christian, and he was not. In order to understand her, he had to understand her faith, and so he set to work exploring Christianity. “That first year was tough,” he told Faith Today in 2013. “While everyone else was reading about the law, I was reading the Bible and studying things like predestination and free will and trying to understand those issues.”

Polizogopoulos’ investigation into Christianity did not culminate in quite the manner that he anticipated: He ended up believing that it was true, and it changed his life. That, in turn, became the catalyst for his entry into the legal fray on behalf of Canada’s Christians. It didn’t take long, either. Polizogopoulos was called to the bar in June 2008, and he was at the Supreme Court representing the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and the Christian Legal Fellowship only four months later, arguing that freedom of religion extended not only to individuals but to religious groups and communities. The Supreme Court accepted these arguments in their 2009 Alberta v. Hutterian Brethren of Wilson Colony ruling, setting an essential precedent for future religious liberty cases.

Don Hutchinson, who was then heading up the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s Centre for Faith and Public Life, remembers clearly how it all began. “I first met Albertos about a decade ago,” he recalled. “His biggest fan is his wife, Faye, a lawyer who I had hired as my associate at the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. The EFC and the Christian Legal Fellowship were hosting about two dozen lawyers to have a conversation about a vital religious freedom case for religious institutions in Canada. I decided to add some young talent to the usual cast of suspects. One of the requirements for participation was the advance submission of thoughts on the case. Faye encouraged me to give Albertos a chance to submit a paper.”

While Polizogopoulos didn’t end up working on that case, Hutchinson noted that the paper he submitted “presented original, outside-the-box legal thinking that was on point and demonstrated a comprehensive knowledge and application of the relevant law.” When the Hutterian Brethren case came up, Hutchinson “made an arrangement with the managing partner at the firm where Albertos was an associate and is now a partner” to become part of the legal team, and Polizogopoulos ended up sitting next to his wife before the Supreme Court of Canada on October 7, 2008.

Since then, Polizogopoulos has been counsel in 10 Supreme Court of Canada cases, representing the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Christian Higher Education Canada, the Christian Legal Fellowship, the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada, the Association for Reformed Political Action, and the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physician’s Societies. In that case, the Supreme Court ended up quoting his Factum, accepting the argument of his clients that doctors should not be forced to engage in assisted suicide if doing so would violate their religious or moral convictions. It is no exaggeration to note that this is an exceptional track record for someone of only 35 years of age.

Hutchinson agrees. “Few lawyers earn that reputation in Canada, fewer still a decade into their practice of law,” he noted. “Albertos has appeared before trial and appeal courts across the country. … He has been a keen student of the courtroom and the process, quickly building a rapport with senior litigators and judges. Albertos is a litigator who is quick on his feet, and trusts his written argument to make note of questions asked by the court that have not been answered by others or would benefit from clarification, helpfully offering those answers during his presentation.” This has resulted, Hutchinson says, in great respect from clients, lawyers, and judges alike — although Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin often has trouble with his hefty Greek surname, experimenting with various pronunciations during their numerous court interactions.

It's not hard to see why Polizogopoulos builds an easy rapport with lawyers and judges alike — his courtroom demeanour is an exceptionally effective combination of well-researched submissions and unpretentious verbal arguments. In a recent conscience rights case, he handed the judges “a single binder containing more than 1,000 pages of legal references, precedents, and arguments” — and then told the court that his case was not a complicated one. “I’m a simple guy and I’m going to keep it simple,” he said. “(The arguments in this case) are about whether the government can compel people to do things that they think are wrong.” To illustrate why many physicians would view referring for assisted suicide as cooperation with evil, he used a simple example: “If, during the break, someone comes up to me and says I’m looking to buy cocaine and I sell them cocaine, I’ve broken the law. We recognize that. But if I say, ‘I don’t sell cocaine but go see Diana’ and she sells him cocaine, I’ve facilitated that. And that’s a crime.”

It’s remarkable to consider that a man who entered law school as a non-Christian would begin his legal career fighting for the rights of Christians, just as those rights come under heightened threat with the legalization of same-sex “marriage” and assisted suicide and renewed attacks on freedom of speech. There is almost no issue important to Christians where he has not left his mark. Polizogopoulos has defended pro-life students arrested in Ottawa for attempting to set up an abortion victim photography display on their own campus, and represented pro-life blogger Pat Maloney in a case that resulted in an Ontario Superior Court judge striking down a section of Ontario law that banned the release of abortion statistics.

His work on parental rights in education has also been both essential and precedent-setting. Last year, Polizogopoulos successfully defended a private Christian school against a human rights complaint by a same-sex couple that attempted to enroll their child, resulting in a ruling that explicitly noted the school’s legal rights to define its community and the parents they serve. “The school has a well-defined and specific set of creedal beliefs, mission statement, and mandate,” the ruling noted. “The [school’s] evidence was clear that the school requires all parents to share these values if they are considering the school for their family.”

“A judgment against the school would potentially have had negative implications for all provincial Christian schools, Christian camps, para-church ministries, and even for churches,” noted Mark Kennedy of the Association for Christian Schools International. “In light of recent Canadian social trends and media prejudices, we were not confident that the Ontario Human Rights Commission would uphold that relevant section of the Ontario Human Rights Code which allows religious organization to teach their beliefs. But Albertos shares our conviction that the only thing worse than losing a fight for a just cause is not to fight for it, and so he prepared a thorough, well-thought out defence for a tiny school with fewer than 50 students. And he won, the school won, and the Ontario evangelical community won as well.”

In the coming years, Canadian Christians can expect a sustained and relentless attack on all fronts — and many battles are now won and lost in the court of law. Freedom of speech, parental rights in education, conscience rights, and freedom of association are often on the chopping block, and Christian schools and churches and community groups are just starting to notice that they can’t simply keep their heads down and live their lives — because radical activists are taking the fight to them whether they like it or not. We won’t win every one of these fights, but Polizogopoulos believes that it is essential we push back to defend our rights wherever we are challenged — and it is men like him, men with both the will and the skill to fight back, that will be in desperate demand as Canadian Christians begin to wake up.

Don Hutchinson, who quite literally wrote the book on the threats to religious freedom in Canada, puts it this way. “We read stories of ancient England in which royalty select a standard bearer to represent them in jousting competitions,” he said. “The Canadian courtroom is the contemporary jousting arena. Albertos Polizogopoulos has become one of the standard bearers for religious freedom and other interests of Christ’s Church.”

He may often stand alone in front of the courtroom, but he is there on behalf of all of us, our communities, our families, and our children. “His two young children watch on livestream when their daddy appears before the Supreme Court of Canada,” Hutchinson agreed, “not understanding what he’s up to but knowing that at home, he’s the best dad in the world — so he’s worth watching in court.”

All Canadian Christians should be watching a lot closer.

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