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Governor Kim Reynolds
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Iowa Gov. Reynolds defends signing ban on aborting babies with beating hearts

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DES MOINES, Iowa, May 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- On Tuesday, Pro-life Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds defended her decision to sign legislation banning abortion once a heartbeat can be detected, despite fierce condemnation from abortion advocates.

“I think that I have made it very clear that I am pro-life and, as a governor, I would do everything that I could to protect the life of the unborn,” Reynolds said at a press conference in response to a question about potential economic boycotts of the state, the Des Moines Register reports.

“I have had very positive feedback. But as you know, there is feedback on both sides,” the Republican governor continued. “There are very, very strong and passionate feelings on both sides of this issue. I believe [...] we need to do everything that we can to protect life and that is what I did when I signed the bill."

Reynolds signed SF 359 into law last week. It is expected to stop most abortions, starting between 6-8 weeks, and is slated to take effect on July 1. It allows exceptions for babies conceived in rape if reported within 45 days, babies conceived in incest if the incest is reported within 140 days, or fetal abnormalities deemed “incompatible with life,” and for physical threats to the mother’s life.

“Let us extend heartfelt thanks to our legislators and Governor Kim Reynolds for the passage of the Heartbeat Bill,” Iowans for Life head Maggie DeWitte said. “The Governor and our legislators took a lot of heat for standing up for the little guy in the womb.”

With SF 359, Iowa joins Mississippi as the two states with the strongest pro-life laws in America. Pro-life Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed Mississippi’s heartbeat abortion ban last month, but a federal judge has temporarily blocked its enforcement following a lawsuit by the pro-abortion Center of Reproductive Rights on behalf of the controversial Women’s Health Organization (WHO) abortion facility. Planned Parenthood has threatened to sue Iowa, as well.

Lawmakers who supported the bill acknowledge that the bill conflicts with Roe v. Wade’s mandate that abortions be allowed prior to viability, but say inviting such a challenge was part of the point.

“This law, if signed, I believe could very well be the very bill that overturns Roe v. Wade,” Republican Sen. Jake Chapman said. U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-IA, the lead sponsor of federal heartbeat legislation, has argued that the time is now to enact such laws, anticipating that President Donald Trump will have nominated at least one additional pro-life justice by the time the case reaches the Supreme Court.

Abortion advocates have fiercely attacked Reynolds and Iowa over the law, with talking points ranging from comparing Iowa to countries such as Saudi Arabia, to suggesting the law will cost taxpayers too much to defend in court. The Des Moines Register’s editorial board denounced their female governor for “sen[ding] a message that every woman [...] is nothing more than a reproductive vessel.” More than 100 pro-abortion protesters gathered outside the state Capital to protest the law.

However, a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll from February suggests Iowans will side with Reynolds, finding that 55% would support officially defining life as beginning at conception, with only 34% opposed and 11% undecided.

As the conference was coming to a close, Reynolds declined to answer a question about whether legislation defining life at conception would come next. "I signed a bill to protect life and that is the bill I signed” she said. “Thank you very much."

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Mr Trevor Hayes is a respected pro-life obstetrician in Ireland.
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Irish ‘Obstetrician of the Year’ strongly defends the pro-life Eighth Amendment

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DUBLIN, Ireland, May 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — An honored Irish OB/GYN has defended the endangered Eighth Amendment, saying it has never threatened the life and health of pregnant Irish women.

Mr Trevor Hayes, the consultant named Ireland’s “Obstetrician of the Year” by Maternity & Infant magazine in 2009 and 2013, spoke earlier this month at a Dublin press conference called by the pro-Eighth Amendment “Love Both Project”.

In Ireland, as in the United Kingdom, a specialist uses “Mr” and not “Dr” as a courtesy title.

The veteran of a 20-year career in medicine, Hayes attacked the false narrative that the Eighth Amendment endangers Irish women:

“In my many years of medical practice, I have never been prevented by the Eighth Amendment from doing everything necessary to fully care for women and to fully protect them in my practice,” he said.  

“Any suggestion that Irish doctors cannot intervene to protect women is deliberately misinforming the Irish public and creating unnecessary fears,” Hayes continued. “I’ve never gambled with the lives of my patients. I’ve never lost a mother. The Eighth Amendment has never prevented me from doing my job to the best of my ability.”

Hayes said professional guidelines for obstetricians are very clear that they may “intervene” to protect the life of a mother. Doctors do not even have to wait until the threat to life is imminent. Meanwhile, he is “concerned” about the untruths being reported about the state of mother’s health services in Ireland.

“I am very concerned that recent weeks have seen significant and untrue public statements about the practice of maternal healthcare in this country,” he said. “No doctor doing their job properly would wait until there is an immediate and critical threat to a pregnant woman’s life before acting to protect the woman, the Eighth Amendment does not stop me from doing my job. Never has and never will.”

The veteran consultant stated that if the Eighth Amendment were to be abolished, 99 percent of the ensuing abortions would not be done to preserve the mother’s life.

“If repeal were to happen, 99 percent of abortions would take place for any reason at all or on supposed mental health grounds. That’s the reality based on what has happened in other countries, but you wouldn’t think it based on how the present debate is being conducted,” he said.

The Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution guarantees the right to life of the unborn child. After years of criticism by the UN for Ireland’s pro-life stand, the Irish government is holding a national referendum vote on May in an attempt to abolish the Eighth Amendment.

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Minnesota Republican state Senator Dan Hall introduced a bill that would permit schools to display 'In God We Trust.'
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State senator says motto ‘In God We Trust’ is offensive to place in schools

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SAINT PAUL, Minnesota, May 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The words “In God We Trust” triggered a battle last week in the Minnesota Senate, as legislators wrangled over an amendment to a bill that would allow schools to display the well-known national motto. Some Democrats condemned the proposal as “offensive.” 

“I’ve seen a growing lack of respect,” said Republican Senator Dan Hall as he introduced the bill on the floor of the upper chamber. “It seems like ‘God and Country’ are no longer lifted in places of honor.”  

“Too often, ‘God and country’ are seen as subjects of jokes or ridicule,’” Hall said. “The piece of history that our national motto represents has been removed over the years. Our national motto can bring us back to a freedom of faith, even in our schools.”

“This amendment allows our U.S. national motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ back on the walls of our schools, as a reminder of hope and tolerance,” explained Hall.

A backlash by Democrats followed immediately on the heels of Hall’s presentation.

“I’m afraid that this proposal would actually accomplish the opposite” of respect and tolerance, said Senate Democrat Scott Dibble. “I think it would send a fairly strong and unmistakable signal to young people of a variety of different religious perspectives and beliefs,” that “when they are greeted by a sign like this” their beliefs are neither tolerated nor respected.

Dibble offered a string of alternative amendments that would replace the word “God” in the national motto displayed in public schools, with “Yahweh” (Judaism’s term for God), “Om” (Hinduism’s sacred mantra), “Gitche Manitou” (American Indian for “Great Spirit”), or “Allah” (Islam’s word for God).  

“I oppose the posting of that motto in our schools. … I even would strongly make the case that we ought not to have that motto, something we can’t change, on our money,” said Senate Democrat John Marty. “The money in my wallet has to say ‘In God We Trust.’ I think that's offensive.”

Other Democrats stated their opposition as well.

The bill’s author, Sen. Hall, told Fox News that “There seems to be an ‘anti-faith movement’ in our country” that aims “to suppress anything that is religious.”

In the end, the Senate bill passed 42-25, with the “In God We Trust” amendment passing on a 38-29 vote.

The omnibus education bill, SF 3086, has now been handed over to the Minnesota House of Representatives’ Education Finance Committee.

The entire floor debate, including Sen. Dibble’s long litany of alternatives, can be watched here.

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Delaware introduces ban on abortions at 20 weeks

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DOVER, Delaware, May 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- Pro-life lawmakers in Delaware introduced legislation Tuesday that would prohibit aborting babies at or after 20 weeks, or five months, of pregnancy.

The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would make it a felony for abortionists to perform an abortion at 20 weeks, Delaware Online reports, punishable by up to eight years in prison. Delaware 105.9 FM adds that “well over a hundred” pro-lifers gathered outside the state’s Legislative Hall for the bill’s announcement.

The bill would permit exceptions only for a "serious health risk to the unborn child's mother," which are defined solely as physical threats and specifically exclude “psychological or emotional” claims, which the Supreme Court has defined broadly enough to to render laws with mental health exceptions toothless.

"I believe that most of the people in our nation care about the life of the unborn child, especially when it reaches the age where it could survive outside the womb," state Sen. Bryant Richardson, one of the bill’s Republican sponsors, said at the event. “If the general public was aware of how horrendous this is, and that's what we hope to do through introducing this legislation, they would want it to stop."

Supporters also called attention to the fact that a variety of medical literature suggests preborn babies are capable of feeling pain by 20 weeks. “Fetuses who are victims of abortion react to painful stimuli with the same physiological responses as any other human being would display,” Dr. Donna Harrison of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists said at the event, such as “an increase in heart rate, an increase in stress hormones in the blood stream and a withdrawal from painful stimuli.”

Harrison also explained that five-month-old preborn babies can potentially survive outside the womb, and that aborting them is never necessary to save their mothers’ lives.

"If an obstetrician, gynecologist needs to separate a mom and a fetus to save the mom's life, that OBGYN doctor takes her into the hospital, puts her under supervision, takes her to the operating room, does a caesarean section, all of this to preserve her life and the life of her baby," Harrison continued. "Babies after 20 weeks can live outside the mom, especially if they're given good care immediately on separation, but an abortionist on the other hand intends to kill the baby.”

She also highlighted the violent nature of the dilation and extraction (D&E) abortion procedure most commonly used that late in pregnancy. “The mother’s womb is opened to allow a forceps to be introduced. Then the living baby is pulled apart in pieces,” she said. "It is hard to imagine a more gruesome way to die.”

“If veterinarians ripped apart living dogs or cats to kill them in the same way that living human unborn children are ripped apart in the D&E procedure, the outcry would be deafening,” Harrison declared.

Planned Parenthood of Delaware CEO Ruth Lytle-Barnaby denounced the bill as “absolutely unacceptable,” and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) denies that preborn babies can feel pain at 20 weeks.

However, rather than a neutral medical arbiter, the ACOG is a pro-abortion organization that advocates for forcing medical professionals to participate in abortions, and in the 1960s redefined conception to mean implantation rather than fertilization, for the purpose of making contraception more culturally acceptable.

Richardson wants the state Senate to vote on the measure by the end of the current session. Democrats currently control both chambers of Delaware’s legislature as well as the governorship, making its success unlikely. Last year, the legislature passed a bill enshrining a state “right” to abortion even if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

17 states currently ban abortions at 20 weeks, while legislation protecting babies earlier in pregnancy has gained momentum in recent months. Last month, Mississippi banned abortions at 15 weeks (though a legal challenge is currently preventing it from taking effect), and Louisiana is likely to pass a similar law. Last week, Iowa enacted a law banning abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

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23 Major League Baseball teams to host pro-homosexual ‘Pride’ nights

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May 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) -- Twenty-three of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams are slated to host LGBT “pride nights” in 2018, leaving just two teams that have never officially celebrated homosexuality.

Most of the events are slated to occur in June, Outsports.com reported, to coincide with LGBT Pride Month. Among the teams joining the trend are the Chicago Cubs, who are also doing a second event in August; Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, and Kansas City Royals. The Brewers, Baltimore Orioles, and Cincinnati Reds are among the teams officially joining the trend for the first time this year.

Teams who have previously held pride nights but have not yet announced plans to do so in 2018 include the Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, and Detroit Tigers.

"I couldn't be prouder of baseball -- we're really leading the way,” MLB vice president Billy Bean said in 2017. “In the spirit of Jackie Robinson, on the 70th anniversary, we feel like we have to lead the industry and be strong role models.” Bean, an openly homosexual former player, was named the MLB’s first Ambassador of Inclusion in 2014 and tasked with “provid(ing) guidance and training related to efforts to support those in the (LGBT) community throughout Major League Baseball.”

Many of these events feature massive rainbow flags unfurled on the field, offer rainbow-themed baseball merchandise, promote LGBT community groups, and invite homosexual and transgender individuals to throw out the first pitch before the game.

Pride nights have also come under fire for exposing children to same-sex kisses via stadium “kiss cams.” Last year, the Pittsburgh Pirates held their pride night on the same day as their weekly Kids’ Day, which offers special games and merchandise to children ages 14 and younger.

“As a Christian, I cannot support an organization which actively promotes a behavior which the Word of God repeatedly and unequivocally declares to be a sin,” mental health awareness advocate Richard Jarzynka lamented at the time. “(T)he LGBT Pride celebration is completely out of place on a day when the Pirates are having promotions for children, such as giving away jerseys to kids under 14, inviting kids to run the bases, and having a ’Family Fun Zone.’”

The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels are the only two teams who have never offered a pride night. The Yankees have said they prefer not to do themed nights of any kind, but have supported “organizations that assist lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths.” The Angels haven’t publicly addressed the matter, but do offer “pride”-themed T-shirts.

Regardless, pro-homosexual advocates have bitterly attacked both teams.

Between speculating that the Angels feared alienating conservative fans and that owner Arte Moreno and player Albert Pujols might be resisting due to their Christian beliefs, OC Weekly publisher Gustavo Arellano sarcastically guessed that “maybe the annual Harvest Crusade (or whatever the hell they call themselves now) has put a permanent hex on Angel Stadium to ensure gay-pride anything stay as far away as possible.”

“Even my pathetic New York Mets are classier than the Yankees when it comes to celebrating pride, something the Yankees have never done, and it’s unclear if they ever will,” LGBTQ Nation’s Dawn Ennis complained. She summed up “bigotry” as the reason for holdouts, and drew a parallel to the 1969 Stonewall Riots to advocate “loud” protests of the Yankees rather than “polite letters” of disagreement.

In 2015, liberals attacked New York Mets infielder Daniel Murphy for saying he could simultaneously disapprove of Bill Bean’s sin while welcoming him as a colleague.

“I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn't mean I can't still invest in him and get to know him,” Murphy explained. “I don't think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect (...) That's not love at all.”

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Mormon church cuts ties to Boy Scouts after program drops ‘boy’ from the name

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Mormon Church has announced that it will end all association with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and other worldwide Scouting programs, a week after the BSA announced it would cut “boy” from the name because it now accepts girls.

“Effective on December 31, 2019, the Church will conclude its relationship as a chartered organization with all Scouting programs around the world,” the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) announced on May 8.

Instead, next year it plans to launch its own youth programs to “help all girls and boys, young women and young men discover their eternal identity, build character and resilience, develop life skills, and fulfill their divine roles as daughters and sons of God.”

Last week, the Boy Scouts of America announced that their main scouting program would be renamed simply “Scouts BSA” and accept girls, as will its Cub Scouts program for children aged nine and younger. Scout troops will reportedly continue to be separated by sex, but the move has received widespread criticism for continuing the trend of erasing gender distinctions in the name of “inclusion.”

The Mormon announcement does not mention the BSA’s latest policy change, and in fact “honor[s] Scouting organizations for their continued goal to develop character and instill values in youth.” It also calls on Mormons to continue supporting the BSA’s programs for boys aged 8-13 until December 31.

Nevertheless, creating their own scouting equivalent will allow them to define and apply those values independent of the BSA’s changing views.

The Mormon church has criticized the BSA for similar compromises in the past. In 2015, it announced it was “deeply troubled” by the “admission of openly gay leaders,” and said the change meant its “century-long association with Scouting will need to be examined.” Two years later, it withdrew from the BSA’s Varsity and Venture programs for boys aged 14-18.

The BSA convinced the church to stay with assurances that it could still choose troop leaders aligned with its values, but religious conservative leaders said it should have pulled out entirely.

“The BSA is in league with the devil, ever since they equivocated on their godly moral values,” Stephen Graham of the Utah-based Standard of Liberty told LifeSiteNews at the time, “and so why would you ever want to associate with them anymore?”

The BSA’s acceptance of openly-homosexual troop leaders followed its 2013 decision to allow openly-homosexual boys to join, despite previously maintaining that “homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed.” Last year, it began accepting transgender members, for the stated purpose of conforming with laws and social norms “interpreting gender identity differently” than biological sex.

For years, feminists and pro-homosexual activists have pressured the Boy Scouts to accept female and LGBT members, and the BSA’s acquiescence appears to be due to a combination of that pressure and declining membership and revenue. The Mormon Church has faced similar pressure for refusing to embrace same-sex “marriage.”

The LDS Church plans to provide updates on its New Children and Youth Development Initiative at this webpage. Several Christian organizations, such as American Heritage Girls and Trail Life USA, have also risen in the past several years to offer more traditional alternatives to the BSA and the Girl Scouts, the latter of which has embraced the pro-abortion cause in several ways.

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The National March for Life in Ottawa, 2016. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
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Thousands to protest Trudeau’s abortion agenda at Canadian March for Life

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
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OTTAWA, May 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Thousands of pro-life Canadians are gathering in Ottawa for the May 10 March for Life, the largest annual event in the nation’s capital. They will pray, march, and witness to their politicians and country that human life is sacred and must be protected from conception to natural death.

The theme of this year’s march is “Pro-life. All. In.”

The March for Life marks May 14, 1969, when Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s Liberal government passed the omnibus bill that legalized abortion and opened the door to abortion on demand.

Nineteen years later, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the bill as unconstitutional, leaving Canada with no law on abortion.

Now, an estimated 100,000 children are killed in the womb every year in Canada. On top of this, six provinces — B.C., Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario — now offer the federally approved abortion pill free of charge under provincial health insurance plans.

Trudeau’s son Justin has made access to abortion the “core mandate” of his Liberal government.

Indeed, the Liberals have controversially demanded employers attest their support for abortion to receive Canada Summer Jobs funding. They have denied funding to pro-life projects under Canada Service Corp. And they have pledged $650 million to promote abortion in developing countries.

Meanwhile, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government passed a “bubble zone” law banning pro-life witness within 50 meters of the province’s eight abortion centers,

As a result, the march’s organizer Campaign Life Coalition has this year altered the March for Life’s traditional route to bypass the Morgentaler abortion facility on Bank Street to comply with the law.

Alberta’s NDP government is in process of passing a similar law, while BC and Newfoundland already have “bubble zone” legislation in place.

All this makes it more crucial than ever that Canadians march for life, says Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition.

“Considering the fact that our rights are being taken away on a daily basis, it’s absolutely essential that we be here, that we speak up, that we not back down, and that when we return home that we become the lights in the darkness, telling everybody what’s happening and continuing the fight,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“Now is the time to commit, or for those of us who have been involved for many years, to recommit to do all we can to protect children in the womb. Now is the time to March for Life, and declare that we are, without question, ‘Pro-life All. In,’” he said.

The March for Life events begin Wednesday with prayer services and a pro-life Mass at 7:30 p.m. A candlelight vigil for the victims of abortion at the Human Rights Monument is scheduled from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m., followed by all-night Eucharistic Adoration at St. Patrick’s Basilica.

The day of the march begins with four Catholic Masses, a Reformed Christian prayer service, and an Anglican worship service held at various locations throughout the city at 10:00 a.m.

The Parliament Hill rally begins at 12:30, with LifeSiteNews co-founder and Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen as master of ceremonies.

Rally speakers are: Marie-Claire Bissonnette, CLC Youth Coordinator; Pastor Joseph Kiirya, River Jordan Ministries; Jim Hughes, CLC President; Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa; Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto; Dale Barr of Silent No More Awareness Campaign; Felicia Simard of Choice42; Harold Albrecht, MP for Kitchener Conestoga; and Catherine Glenn Foster, President and CEO, Americans United for Life.

The march begins at 1:00 p.m., and concludes with Silent No More testimonials, and a prayer services by the Eastern Catholic Chaplaincy of Ottawa.

Ottawa city police have warned commuters to expect delays when streets in the downtown core swell with pro-life marchers Thursday afternoon, the Ottawa Citizen reported.

AUL’s Glenn Foster is keynote speaker at Thursday night’s Rose Dinner, while Paul J. Kim will speak at the youth banquet held at the same time. An all-day youth conference is scheduled for Friday.

For more information, go to the March for Life website here.

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Trenton McKinley
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Boy regains consciousness after doctors declare him ‘brain dead,’ prepare to remove his organs

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May 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An Alabama child who suffered multiple skull fractures in an auto accident and was declared “brain dead” by doctors, regained consciousness only one day before the physicians planned to remove his organs, according to a report by Fox News in Mobile, Alabama. 

The boy, 13-year-old Trenton McKinley, was being pulled in a small utility trailer by a child’s dune buggy driven by his friend, who applied the brakes suddenly and caused the trailer to flip over and to land on top of McKinley’s head, fracturing his skull.

McKinley “died” several times while doctors treated him, leaving him “dead” for a total of 15 minutes, according to the child’s mother, Jennifer Reindl, who added that doctors then informed her that her son’s case was hopeless, and that he could never recover. Medical personnel then proposed that his organs be donated to save the lives of five other children. Reindl implied in her statements to reporters that her acceptance of the organ donation plan was the only way to convince them to keep her son alive longer. 

“When he came back, they said he would never be normal again,” Reindl told local Fox station WALA-TV. “They told me the oxidation {oxygen deprivation} problems would be so bad to his brain, that he would be a vegetable if he even made it.”

“A man from the UAB organ donation came and talked to us in the family conference room about donating five organs to UAB children's hospital that would save five other children,” Reindl told CBS News. “We said yes, that also insured that they would continue to keep Trenton alive to clean his organs for the donation," Reindl added. 

However, as doctors kept McKinley alive in preparation for his organs to be removed and given to others children, the boy began to regain consciousness. He gradually recovered, and appears to have the full use of his mental faculties, although he also suffers from seizures. Now, two months later, he is awaiting the reattachment of about half of his skull. 

McKinley says he remembers being in heaven. “I was in an open field walking straight,” he said to WALA-TV, adding, “There's no other explanation but God. There's no other way. Even doctors said it.”

His mother concurs that a miracle saved her son. “From no brainwaves to now walking and talking and reading, doing math. A miracle,” she told CBS. 

His family is seeking donations for Trenton McKinley’s ongoing treatment and associated costs. 

Nebulous concept of “brain death” used by physicians to remove organs from living patients

The concept of “brain death” is a vaguely-defined and controversial one, and hospitals often disagree on its definition and on the tests necessary to determine it. The term was introduced in 1968 for the purpose of justifying organ transplants, which usually involve the removal of vital organs from a person who is still breathing and has a heartbeat, or whose ventilator has been shut off only seconds before. 

Dr. Paul Byrne, an experienced neonatologist, clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Toledo, and president of Life Guardian Foundation, told LifeSite in 2011 that doctors are generally aware of the fact that transplant donors are not really dead when their organs are removed.

“All of the participants in organ transplantation know that the donors are not truly dead,” Byrne told LifeSite.  “How can you get healthy organs from a cadaver? You can’t.”

Byrne told LifeSite that giving pain medication to organ donors is a routine procedure.  Doctors taking organs from “brain-dead” donors “have to paralyze them so they don’t move so when they cut into them to take organs, and when they paralyze them without anesthetics, their heart rate goes up and their blood pressure goes up,” said Byrne. “This is not something that happens to someone who’s truly dead,” he added.

A video documentary regarding the problematical nature of organ donation and the ambiguities of “brain death” has been produced by Life Issues Institute, called “Surprising Realities of Brain Death and Organ Donation”:

Numerous similar cases of patients “waking up” before organ removal reported by LifeSite 

The case of Trenton McKinley’s recovery from “brain death” is one of many examples of such cases reported by LifeSite in recent years.

In 2015, George Pickering Sr. saved his son from death when he held off hospital staff with a firearm in order to buy his son more time to prove that his diagnosis of “brain death” was false.  The hospital had informed Pickering that his son, George Pickering Jr., would soon be removed from life support, and the staff had already begun preparing to “donate” his organs. After a three-hour standoff with authorities, Pickering’s son began squeezing his hand, and Pickering Sr. surrendered. His son fully recovered. 

In 2014, 40-year-old Jenny Bone awoke from a medically-induced coma and revealed that she hadn’t been in a “persistent vegetative state” as doctors had claimed, and in fact had listened to them discuss the removal of her life support. The doctors had admitted to her husband that they didn’t know what was wrong with her, but had claimed she was “unresponsive.”

In 2013 a “brain dead” woman who was about to have her organs removed opened her eyes on the operating table, saving her life. Although nurses had done a number of tests and made several observations that indicated that the woman was reactive and conscious, their reports to doctors appeared to have been ignored. 

In 2012, a teenager named Stephen Thorpe who had been injured in a car wreck was declared “brain dead” by British National Health Service physicians after they had placed the child into a medically-induced coma. They then began to pressure Thorpe’s father to grant permission to remove his organs for donation. Thorpe’s father had a sense they were wrong, and enlisted the help of a neurologist, who observed that Thorpe still had brain waves. The physicians agreed to bring Thorpe out of the coma, and two weeks later he regained consciousness. 

In 2011, the Quebec Hospital Sainte Croix de Drummondville sought permission to extract the eyes of a patient who had choked on hospital food in the absence of a nurse, claiming she was “brain dead.” After the family demanded proof from physicians of her alleged condition, she regained consciousness, and recovered most of her faculties. The family declared its intention to sue the hospital.

See related LifeSite coverage:

NY woman declared ‘brain dead’ woke up moments before organs harvested

They were about to pull the plug on me, when the Archangel Michael saved my life

One in five ‘brain dead’ patients still alive, claims lawsuit

Shock: requiring death before organ donation is unnecessary, say experts

Think you don’t need an organ donor opt-out card? Think again

First Ever Face Transplant - Face Came from Live Donor

Simply abandon the ‘norm against killing’ to solve organ transplant problem: leading US bioethicists

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U.S. archbishop: ‘Pray for Ireland’ as they consider legalizing ‘homicide’ of unborn

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Pro-lifers protest as the Irish government announces the abortion referendum language on International Women's Day Save the 8th
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PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, May 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – American Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is asking his archdiocese to pray for Ireland as the country approaches a vote to legalize abortion on demand.

“Ireland has always had the wisdom to reject the kind of social ‘progress’ that depends on the shedding of innocent blood and the destruction of new life,” Chaput wrote in his weekly column. “Now that nation’s conscience hangs in the balance. Today, prolife efforts in Ireland urgently need our support.”

In his column, Chaput published an email he received from a married couple with children. The family asked him to pray for Ireland, which on May 25 will vote on whether to repeal the Eighth Amendment. The Eighth Amendment explicitly guarantees human rights for unborn children.

“Forty million Americans claim Irish ancestry,” the couple wrote. “Ireland spread the faith widely in America with Catholic immigrants. For generations, Irish missionary priests and nuns cultivated the Catholic faith in the United States. How are we repaying Ireland? Today, America is backing the repeal of Ireland’s Amendment 8 through the support of U.S. abortion groups and wealthy donors.”

“For 1500 years, since St. Patrick brought the faith to Ireland, her people have defended the sanctity of human life,” the husband and wife reminded Chaput. “St. Patrick, Saint Brigid, and all Irish saints, protect Ireland from the culture of death.”

“From the start, Amendment 8 has been targeted by abortion-rights activists both in Ireland and abroad because it explicitly recognizes the humanity of the unborn child. In other words, to legitimize abortion, the law must first dehumanize the child developing in the womb,” Chaput explained. “The only way to sell this kind of legalized homicide to the Irish public has been to control and deform the language of the debate. Thus prolife organizations have faced an uphill battle for years in defending Amendment 8 in a misleading and heavily biased media environment.”

“This week and throughout the coming days, I ask our clergy and laypeople across the Archdiocese of Philadelphia – many of them descendants of our city’s Irish immigrants – to pray for Ireland and especially for the defense of Amendment 8,” Chaput implored.

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Cardinal Timothy Dolan | Taylor Hill at the 2018 Met Gala.
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News

Cardinal Dolan: Met Gala was not ‘offensive or blasphemous at all’

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

NEW YORK, New York, May 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Timothy Dolan has defended the controversial 2018 Met Gala as “a celebration of what we call the evangelization of culture.”

“I did not find the spirit of the evening to be offensive or blasphemous at all,” the cardinal told Crux of the event where a Victoria’s Secret model dressed as a sexy cardinal alongside dozens of other celebrities in sultry Catholic-themed outfits.

“Was some of it edgy? Yes, but I never met any person that seemed to be snippy or snotty about the Church, or who intended anything to be offensive,” said Dolan.

He continued:

“We could have had a lecture at the museum on the Catholic imagination and not too many people may have showed up, especially the crowd from last night. But when you do an evening like that, you get everybody.”

Boy, you talk about the public square – with some of the movers and shakers who were there – and they’re reminded of positive memories of the Church and of devotions, prayers, traditions, and liturgies, as many of them told me they were. This could only be for the good of the Church.”

“I was really happy to have been there. If this helps people rediscover those roots, then hallelujah, it’s a winner.”

Other celebrity costumes at the Met Gala included a sexualized Blessed Virgin Mary, Rihanna dressed as a pope, and “flesh-flashing” outfits adorned with Christian symbols, as Piers Morgan put it.

All LifeSiteNews coverage of the 2018 Met Gala can be viewed here.

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Joshua M. Ferguson Global News / screen-grab
Calvin Freiburger

News

Ontario issues first genderless birth certificate to ‘non-binary’ trans activist

Calvin Freiburger

ONTARIO, May 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A biological male who identifies as neither male nor female has received Ontario’s first birth certificate with an “X” designation in place of his biological sex.

Joshua M. Ferguson is a Vancouver-based filmmaker who says he considers himself “non-binary” because he is biologically male but grew up with more feminine features. Last year he applied to Service Ontario for a “non-binary” birth certificate, filed a human rights complaint when he was rejected, and has finally gotten his wish, CTV News reports.

The move follows new guidelines Ontario adopted last year allowing certificates to display “X,” which stands for “Trans, Non-Binary, Two-Spirit, and Binary people and people who don’t want to disclose their gender identity,” in place of the customary initials for male or female. Service Ontario also offers “non-binary” health cards, and allows residents to change the gender on their birth certificates or drivers licenses as well, without providing any supporting documentation.

“Ontario’s new policy will save lives in the trans community,” Ferguson claimed Monday, celebrating the news. “A birth certificate is the most vital form of ID for personhood. Being officially counted and recognized is empowering.”

But pro-family advocates argue that indulging transgender ideology is not only unnecessary, but harmful. They point out that Gender Identity Disorder is a "mental illness" and that a new category of humans should not be fabricated based on "sexual disorientation."

The American Psychological Association recognizes gender dysphoria as a psychological disorder, and a variety of material has found evidence of significant emotional problems among the transgender population, including among those whose desires are supported.

Last fall, a University of Cambridge report found that 96% of trans students in Scotland attempted self-harm through actions such as cutting themselves, and 40% attempted suicide. 40% in the United States have attempted suicide, as well, according to a 2016 survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). According to a 2011 study out of Sweden, trans people remain 19 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population, even after sex-reassignment surgery.

Alberta and British Columbia have embraced “non-binary” identification documents, as well. In August, the Trudeau government began allowing Canadians to choose “X” for their gender on passports.

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Singer Rihanna dressed as the pope at the May, 2018 Met Gala, New York. Twitter
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‘Fifty shades of Catholicism’: Catholics castigate ‘tasteless, indecent, blasphemous’ Met Gala

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Frequently raunchy, blasphemou singer Madonna performed a sensual version of Like a Prayer surrounded by monks and maids. The maids dressed in the same kind of corset as it was revealed that Madonna wore after the monks removed her monk cloak.

May 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholics found a number of reasons to criticize the 2018 Met Gala. There was the presence of a Catholic-themed bondage mask in an exhibit alongside Vatican-loaned sacred vestments; there were the scantily-clad celebrities dressed as a cleavage-flaunting Blessed Virgin Mary, a seductive female cardinal, and a bejeweled female pope; and there was the presence of New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan at the event who rhapsodized about the “Catholic imagination.”

It was singer Rihanna who dressed as the pope, complete with a glittery mitre that Dolan later joked he loaned her. 

EWTN's Raymond Arroyo called the event a "very glitzy drag show" and a "narcissistic display."

Laura Ingraham, who was speaking with Arroyo, called the event "Fifty Shades of Catholicism." 

Ross Douthat commented in the New York Times that attendees wore sacred-themed vestments, "sexing them up for shock value."

"Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination" was the theme of this year’s annual fundraising gala for New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and also the theme for the Met’s largest exhibition to date.

Matthew Schmitz in First Things criticized the display for containing "tasteless, indecent, and blasphemous fashion items."

But not all Catholics were disturbed by what is being called “blasphemy” by many.

Claire Giangravè and Christopher White of Crux wrote a glowing report about the event, calling it a "homecoming" for celebrities who once practiced the Catholic faith. Their report exuded enthusiasm for the event. 

"Grammy-Award winner and evening co-host Rihanna, for instance, was one of the night’s real standouts, showing up with her own pope-like Golden miter, adorned with jewels and crystals," they reported. 

Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan told Crux that he "did not find the spirit of the evening to be offensive or blasphemous at all.” 

Eloise Blondiau of the Jesuit-run America magazine said that Catholics "should not complain about cultural appropriation in the same way that other groups might because they are so well-represented in popular culture."

Below LifeSiteNews publishes a few reactions to the exhibit from across the Catholic world. 

***Catholics who criticised the event***

Raymond Arroyo and Laura Ingraham on The Ingraham Angle, Tuesday, May 9, 2018:

Arroyo:  “Here’s the problem with all of this. There are some Catholics that look at this and they say, ‘these vestments that are on display form the Vatican – they mean something. And what they mean [is] they point to the reality of the Mass. And Catholics believe [that] in the Mass, Jesus Himself becomes present.  That’s what all the smells and bells and the art and the architecture is about.

“When you remove that meaning, you’re left, basically, with a very glitzy drag show.”  

“The Vatican gave permission for sacred vestments to be displayed at the Metropolitan Museum.  They really should have put some conditions on the loan.”

Ingraham:  “Jewish people wouldn’t allow this, and rightly . . . and Muslim people wouldn’t allow it, it would be considered disrespectful.  The Christians and the Catholics, you can always trash.”

[Pointing to some of the “art” objects on display, like the bondage mask covered in rosaries] Arroyo: “These are side-by-side with Papal vestments.  

Ingraham:  And Dolan is standing there near the bondage hat?  What is going on with that?

Arroyo:  “Cardinal Dolan said, ‘This was to bring out the good, the beautiful and the true … ’”   

Ingraham interjected: “... and the leather.”

Arroyo continued with his statement, “... It’s very hard to see that, for this narcissistic display.”

Ingraham:  “This is Fifty Shades of Catholicism.  This is ridiculous.  I’m going to get in all sorts of trouble [for saying this].”  Ingraham then blessed herself with the sign of the Cross.

Ross Douthat, the New York Times:

Like Proust’s “caravans of swells” attending liturgical performances, the attendees at the Met were paying a cultural homage to the aesthetic riches of the Roman Church — when, of course, they weren’t sexing them up for shock value...

...in the case of the opulent style of Catholic fashion on display at the Met Gala, it is very clear where Francis stands. As Tara Isabella Burton points out in an astute piece for Vox, it’s the pope’s traditionalist adversaries who are more likely to don the sort of “heavenly” garb being feted and imitated at the Met — while from his own simple choice of dress to his constant digs at overdressed clerics and fancy traditionalists, the pope believes that baroque Catholicism belongs in a museum or at a costume gala, and that the church’s future lies in the simple, the casual, the austere and the plain.

For this, as for his doctrine-shaking innovations, Francis has won admiring press. But as with the last wave of Catholic revolution, there is little evidence that the modernizing project makes moderns into Catholics.

...Here the Met Gala should offer the faith from which it took its theme a little bit of inspiration. The path forward for the Catholic Church in the modern world is extraordinarily uncertain. But there is no plausible path that does not involve more of what was displayed and appropriated and blasphemed against in New York City Monday night, more of what once made Catholicism both great and weird, and could yet make it both again.

Matthew SchmitzFirst Things:

According to the organizers, this display of papal vestments and various tasteless, indecent, and blasphemous fashion items is meant to illustrate “the Catholic imagination.” Whenever someone uses the phrase—or its close cousin, “the sacramental imagination”—I know that I am about to hear a tedious disquisition on Flannery O’Connor, or an account of Catholic belief that muddles error and truth. In this regard, the exhibition does not disappoint…

We should attend to the real Catholic imagination and not its sentimental counterfeit. The same faith that gave rise to these beautiful baubles proposed views on sexuality and social order that are contrary to the spirit of the age. It is foolish to suppose that either the Church’s teaching or its relics are mere artefacts that now have lost their power. These beautiful copes, stoles, clasps, and rings still move men—still have the power Leo XIII acknowledged in Testem Benevolentiae when he advised priests in America to spread the faith “by the pomp and splendor of ceremonies” as well as “by setting forth that sound form of doctrine.” In the Met's carnival atmosphere, their splendor seems all the more radiant.

Michael Voris, Church Militant:

Church Militant considered using the headline “Dolan pimps out Catholic beauty,” but “we didn’t want to insult any pimps.”

 Piers MorganDaily Mail:

“...what the hell was the Vatican thinking?”

***Catholics who defended the event*** 

Claire Giangravè and Christopher WhiteCrux:

Angels, Madonnas, and cinch-waisted bishop-inspired dresses graced the red carpet for the fashion world’s biggest night out at the 2018 Met Gala on Monday night. While the theme of the evening was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” for some star-studded attendees, the event was more of a homecoming.

[...]

Grammy-Award winner and evening co-host Rihanna, for instance, was one of the night’s real standouts, showing up with her own pope-like Golden miter, adorned with jewels and crystals.

Oscar winner Jared Leto entered the scene wearing a pastel light blue suit, decked out by a priest-like sash, topped by a gold leaf crown, prompting the paparazzi on hand to immediately exclaim “Jesus!”

Hollywood darling Anne Hathaway, wearing a voluminous cardinal red gown, passed by members of the press on the red carpet. When one shouted, “You look like an angel,” she snapped back “Actually, I’m feeling quite devilish.”

Pop-singer Ariana Grande made waves wearing a ball-skirted gown covered in creamy tulle with twisting bodies of Michelangelo’s Last Judgment from the Sistine Chapel.

More controversial, however, was actor and producer Lena Waithe, who entered wearing a rainbow flag cape to draw attention to LGBT concerns.

While Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, was on hand for the evening’s gala, he did not make his way down the red carpet, choosing instead to enter from a side entrance.  Yet that didn’t keep his name from being a part of the celebrity chatter, with many attendees saying they were delighted he would be joining.

Inside, Dolan was met with more familiar company, when the Sistine Chapel choir offered a surprise performance.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, to Crux:

“I did not find the spirit of the evening to be offensive or blasphemous at all.” 

“Was some of it edgy? Yes, but I never met any person that seemed to be snippy or snotty about the Church, or who intended anything to be offensive.”

“We could have had a lecture at the museum on the Catholic imagination and not too many people may have showed up, especially the crowd from last night. But when you do an evening like that, you get everybody.” 

“Boy, you talk about the public square - with some of the movers and shakers who were there - and they’re reminded of positive memories of the Church and of devotions, prayers, traditions, and liturgies, as many of them told me they were. This could only be for the good of the Church.”

Eloise BlondiauAmerica magazine:

...Catholics, while entitled to offense, should not complain about cultural appropriation in the same way that other groups might because they are so well-represented in popular culture. The stakes would be much higher, for example, if the “Islamic imagination” were taken as the exhibition and gala’s theme. For every shallow engagement with the faith that a Catholic must endure, there is an abundance of better examples (“The Young Pope,” “Lady Bird”) to look to, and the consequence of misrepresentations are less dire.​

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Calvin Freiburger

News

University students play sexually-explicit games to raise money for Planned Parenthood

Calvin Freiburger

NEWARK, Delaware, May 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-Planned Parenthood student group recently hosted a “condom carnival” at the University of Delaware, which featured a variety of explicit, sexually-themed activities to raise money for the abortion giant.

Last Friday night saw the campus’ second annual Condom Carnival and Benefit Concert, the school’s student newspaper The Review reports. Organized by the student group Planned Parenthood Generation Action (PPGA), the event featured student musical performances, sold Planned Parenthood merchandise, and offered numerous games and activities, all to celebrate and fundraise for Planned Parenthood.

The student group’s president Jennifer Proebstle, a senior majoring in gender and women’s studies as well as political science, also wanted the carnival to “promote an atmosphere of safe sex and healthy sexuality,” according to The Review. 

Proebstle added that the group has only “had one person try to argue with us ever,” and received just a small handful of negative comments. Multiple conservative students at the University of Delaware have claimed they aren’t more vocal with their views out of fear of their professors and majority-liberal classmates.

“This is just a celebration of reproductive rights and a fundraiser, last year we raised $800 so we’re hoping to do better than that this time,” the group’s vice president, Hannah Lafargue, said. “Also, we just want people to have a really wonderful time and to have a good turn-out.”

The student groups American Association of University Women (AAUW), Haven, V-Day, and Students Acting for Gender Equality (SAGE) participated, as well. The event ultimately raised $838 for Planned Parenthood of Delaware.

In 2013, former Planned Parenthood nurse Joyce Vasikonis testified that the “culture of Planned Parenthood of Delaware was focused on maximizing profits and the bottom line, not quality health care for women.” She and another nurse had blown the whistle on conditions at the abortion giant’s Wilmington location, which state health investigators subsequently found had committed numerous health code violations. They further testified that Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) knew about the offenses, but chose not to report them.

Despite PPGA’s stated mission of promoting healthier sexuality and relationships, many of the activities appeared to trivialize sexuality and use topics such as sex toys, pornography, and bondage for humor.

Among the carnival attractions was a hacky-sack game rebranded “Hit the Clit,” with the hacky sacks replaced with rice-filled condoms and the cardboard target painted like a vagina. Another was a dartboard using inflated condoms as darts, challenging players to “pin the condom on the healthy relationship,” while a third activity consisted challenged students to place a condom on a dildo without looking.

Another activity, a spin-the-wheel game created by student Gillian WIlliams, listed categories such as “Safer Sex,” “Healthy Relationships,” or “Nail Polish.” The latter tasked students to answer whether phrases like “Operation Desert Stormi” or “Brunette on the Internet” were colors of nail polish, or the titles of porn videos.

A fourth category was simply a picture of a rubber duck dressed in bondage gear, which challenged students to tell whether various objects were dog toys or sex toys.

In addition, the group sold a variety of Planned Parenthood merchandise such as shirts, hats, and pins at the event, featuring messages such as “Feminism is not a dirty word” and “Planned Parenthood Makes America Great,” a spin on President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.

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Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

News,

Will British home secretary see through misleading pro-abortion claims?

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

May 9, 2018 (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) – BPAS has written an open letter to the new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, urging him to act on a review of protests outside abortion clinics launched by Amber Rudd, and ban pro-life vigils outside abortion clinics.

Reporting false claims

The letter is signed by 35 "women's advocacy and medical organisations", including the British Medical Association, Mumsnet, and Women's Aid. The text of the letter makes a number of misleading and unproven claims about peaceful pro-life vigils. It says: "Protest activity outside abortion facilities can include women being told that they are 'murderers', the display of oversized posters with distressing and graphic images of aborted foetuses, being filmed entering and leaving clinics, and being given false information including that abortion could give them breast cancer." 

These claims were also used in the campaign to bring in a Public Space Protection Order around the Marie Stopes Centre in Ealing, and were rebutted in a series of media appearances by Clare McCullough of the Good Counsel Network, as well as SPUC staff. 

Seeking to get around court challenge

A mother who was helped to keep her child by a pro-life vigil is currently challenging the Ealing decision in the High Court. BPAS and the other signatories give this as a reason for national legislation: "the decision is being challenged in the High Court at what will be a high cost to a local council only seeking to do what they can to protect their local residents."

SPUC writes to the Home Secretary

SPUC has also written to Mr Javid, asking what recommendations his department plans to make in light of the review, and the heavy-handed actions of Ealing Council. 

"We are deeply concerned about the future of pro-life vigils outside abortion facilities," wrote Micheal Robinson, Director of Communication and Campaigns at SPUC Scotland. "These vigils offer last-minute help to vulnerable women as they approach the abortion clinic. Every year hundreds of women take advantage of this help offered by pro-life volunteers.

What happens next?

"We are still waiting for your department to report on the consultation: "Abortion Clinic Protests". It is even more important for us to know what, if any, recommendations your department will make to the Government in the light of the decision by Ealing Council to implement a PSPO to outlaw help for women and public prayer. We would welcome a response from you on this urgent matter."

Mr Javid has a mixed voting record on life issues, but he voted in favour of banning abortion providers from providing pre-abortion counselling, and for Fiona Bruce's Amendment to the Serious Crime Bill in 2015, which sought to introduce an explicit ban on sex-selective abortion. 

Meanwhile, an Irish newspaper has been quoting misleading information from BPAS on how abortions are carried out. The article refers to the abortion pill "causing an early miscarriage", and vacuum aspiration abortions as "gentle suction". How different types of abortion are carried out is explained in detail in Abortion Matters, by Dr Anthony McCarthy.

Published with permission from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

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Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Opinion

Andrew Lawton: Another good man under attack from the shrill, shrieking left

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

May 9, 2018 (The Bridgehead) – Scanning the news today, I see that my friend Andrew Lawton, a popular former radio host on London's AM980, is under attack. As many of you will know, he was appointed the Progressive Conservative candidate for London West by PC leader Doug Ford just over a week ago, and since then the progressive puritans at Press Progress and the Liberal hatchet-men have been combing his hundreds (if not thousands) of hours on air, his tweets, his columns, and his blogs.

Anyone who has met Andrew will tell you that he is a wonderful, fun-loving guy without a mean bone in his body. He's had everybody on his radio show – Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, and even Premier Kathleen Wynne has dropped by a few times. They all seemed to have a good time chatting with him. But if you listen to the screeching coming from a handful of activists who have probably never even met Andrew, he is a racist, a homophobe, and a laundry list of other unsavory things.

Andrew Lawton is not a racist, or a "homophobe," or a "phobe" of any kind, for that matter. It says something profoundly depressing about political discourse when ill-advised jokes from years ago are used as "evidence" that someone nurtures genuine hatred towards some group in their hearts, especially considering the fact that the outrage is generally just disingenuous sanctimony conjured up for the cameras for explicitly political purposes. In the age of social media, nearly everyone has said something dumb enough that they can be embarrassed when it is retrieved and brandished, out of context, as evidence that they are a terrible person. The next generation of politicians will have been on multiple platforms since the time they were in diapers, so I expect that this sort of thing is only going to get worse.

The fact is that this really has nothing to do with Andrew, and everything to do with politics. It's just a game. Activists with axes to grind try to hunt down something that might be perceived as offensive by a certain group, and then send the screenshot of a tweet or what-have-you to said group with a request for outrage, and that group then dutifully sends out an outraged press release while others stir the pot on Twitter, a place where reason, nuance, and context die in the dark. Everyone then piles onto the target, lays into their reputation like it's the Ides of March, and then retreats panting bloodily once that person appears to have ceased moving.

These accusations are often just lies. One news outlet actually published these lines, courtesy of a delusional man named Nawaz Tahir, the chair of a London Muslim advocacy group called Hikma: "In 2016, Lawton published an op-ed for the Toronto Sun which Tahir said praises a controversial book America Alone that called for the ethnic cleansing of Muslims. 'Not only did he praise the book, but he went further and suggested that the author, the infamous Mark Steyn, should get a Nobel Peace Prize for this work,' said Tahir. 'It is incomprehensible how someone that praises a call for ethnic cleansing could be hand-picked by someone who wants to be the leader of this province.'"

This is just malevolent and slanderous garbage. To claim that Mark Steyn's America Alone calls for ethnic cleansing is a defamation that Mr. Steyn should consider taking legal action over, and indicates that the person making the claim did not read the book (I've read it a couple of times), is almost entirely illiterate, or is attempting to twist words out of context in order to smear someone for political purposes. In this case, it appears to be the latter. Andrew can get hammered over a few jokes or unpopular opinions – but his opponents can falsely accuse an author of advocating for ethnic cleansing and apparently get away with it. That, in my opinion, is disgusting.

Andrew Lawton is a good man who has been through much, and he would bring valuable life experience as well as empathy and compassion to Queen's Park. Based on the lies and vitriol of his adversaries, those are characteristics in short supply these days.

Published with permission from The Bridgehead.

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Joseph Shaw

Opinion,

What Alfie Evans tells us about end-of-life care and futility

Joseph Shaw

May 9, 2018 (LMS Chairman) – I have been reading the key legal judgement of the Alfie Evans case: a long document, but an interesting one. It emerges, for example, that Mr Justice Hayden, whose judgement it is, is not able consistently to use an apostrophe correctly. But another piece of poor style struck me more. Reporting the views of one of the doctors, Hayden remarks that, in this doctor's view, 'Alfie's prognosis is futile.' (para 25).

Literally, this means that the prognosis this doctor had made was a waste of time: it wasn't going to achieve anything. On the contrary, of course, the prognosis was not futile: Hayden found it very useful. What he actually meant, presumably, was that the prognosis for Alfie was poor, and yet I think Hayden wanted to convey more than that by his strange use of the term 'futile'. He wanted to convey the idea that it was Alfie's continuing life which was, in some sense, futile.

It is common enough to say that medical treatment is futile, and this phrase is also found in the judgement. But we should be alert to what is going on in even this phrase. Futility is a property of means in relation to a given end. It is futile to try to build a house out of rice-paper. It is futile to defend oneself against an assailant with a rubber sword. Those means chosen to those ends are not going to do the job successfully. Continued artificial ventilation, food and water was not going to restore Alfie to health. Nor, on the balance of probability, were the treatments offered by the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome. This does not make them absolutely futile, however, since there may be another possible goal to which they could be effective means. This is the prolongation of Alfie's life. This runs into the objection, however, that on Hayden's view such a life as Alfie had was itself futile.

One might assume that this would mean that Alfie's life was characterised by suffering, but on this topic Hayden got himself into a muddle. The doctors agreed that Alfie was very probably not capable of any kind of perception or sensation, including suffering. It is a key component of the judgement that Alfie was not responding to stimuli, apart from spinal reflexes; much space is occupied by this issue. According to Hayden, it follows from this that Alfie's life is not worth prolonging. But when it came to the plan to move him, it is the possibility that Alfie could feel pain which is suddenly given salience. If this possibility is a serious one, however, then Hayden's determination that Alfie could not derive any positive comfort or pleasure from his parents and others is called into question. You can't have it both ways.

Similarly, Hayden seems confused about what Alfie's quality of life might be. In a remarkable paragraph, he rejects the view of the 'Guardian', the state-appointed lawyer who is supposed to argue on behalf of Alfie, that 'his life lacks dignity' (para 54). To his great credit Hayden not only visited the hospital but took in what he witnessed: 'The atmosphere around Alfie was peaceful, dignified and though some might find it surprising for me to say so, very happy.' Despite this, however, Hayden decided that it was best if Alfie's earthly existence should not be prolonged, even by his being fed.

Those who care for the dying in hospices take a very different view. They understand that the people they care for are dying, but also that this is a stage of life with its own value and importance. What we do for people at this stage in their lives expresses our valuation of them as human beings. We recognise their inherent dignity by treating them with dignity. This does not cease to be the case if they are unconscious, even if they are not to regain consciousness. Their lives remain important because they are important. They may not be able to do very much, but that is not even the beginning of a justification for us to take aim at what they do have left, life itself, and take it away from them.

Care of the dying is not about prolonging life at all costs. When we say that we are referring to the cost of suffering, consciousness, medical resources, and money. Treatments which will not modify a disability or restore function or health are futile, when they aim at those goals and fail to deliver. If, however, we are going, like the currently debased English law, to lump feeding and hydration in with medical treatments, we must be careful about how to use this word 'futile'. It is not the intended function of food and water, under normal circumstances, to restore health; it is their function to nourish a living person. In some cases they do indeed become futile, as means to this end, in the care of a dying person, but this does not appear to have been so with Alfie.

Hayden reports a phrase of Tom Evans which he did not appear to understand. It was that when other possibilities are exhausted, 'Alfie should be allowed home to die "when he decides to".' (para 40). His father wanted him to die a natural death. It's not much to ask.

His continued life, the precious days or weeks he might have spent in the dignified and happy atmosphere Hayden described, would not have been without value. The extraordinary lengths England's medical and legal establishment went to in order to deprive him of them are an indictment on the whole nation.

This is part of a four-part series on the Alfie Evans case:

Alfie vs. the System
Alfie and the Natural Law
Alfie and end of life care
Alfie and parental rights

Published with permission from the LMS Chairman blog.

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Opinion

Karl Marx unleashed a blood-thirsty dragon upon the world that can be defeated by the Rosary

Michael Hichborn Michael Hichborn Follow Michael
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May 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – This past weekend was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx, who is widely recognized as the architect of the most brutal and bloodthirsty philosophy ever to scar the earth: Atheistic Communism.  On the occasion of this infamous event, it was my intention to write an article about the horrors of Communism, the legacy of Karl Marx, the Marxist hatred of humanity, and even his connection with secret societies.

After countless attempts to write this article, committing well over 5,000 words and three days of chasing rabbit holes and rhetorical dead ends, two things became painfully obvious to me.  The first is that the bitter fruits of Marx’s ideologies are self-evident, and the second is that I am not as clever as I thought.  

On the verge of abandoning my article, my wife suggested that I take a walk and pray the Rosary, and since Our Lady has never failed to help me when I ask, I knew that this was inspired advice.

It didn’t take long into my Rosary to realize that the answer to the problem of Marx was resting in the very beads I held in my hand; each of the Joyful Mysteries I had been praying was an answer provided long before Marx’s birth to his philosophy of revolution.

The First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation

Marx’s entire philosophy is built upon the tension between two vices; greed and envy.  He accuses, not entirely wrongly, the upper class of the greedy enslavement of the lower classes.  But rather than address the upper class and remind them of their duties through filial love to care for those who struggle to feed their families, he appeals to the suffering of the laborers and fans the flames of envy into an all-out rage.  His demagoguery is built upon vice, encouraging a class warfare that leads directly to revolution.

In the first mystery of the Rosary, we meditate on the Annunciation of the Incarnate Word, given to Our Lady by the Angel Gabriel.  St. Bernard of Clairvaux explained in his homily In Praise of the Virgin Mother: 

“You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.” 

It was through Our Lady’s reply, “Thy will be done,” that she answers the war of vices proclaimed by Marx.  Marx announced a revolution which he claimed would be the salvation of the working class, and it was a revolution predicated on grasping at power, wealth and control for the supremacy of the state.  Yet, Gabriel announced the salvation of men’s souls through the shedding of Divine blood!  All of Heaven awaited her answer because without her willful consent to God’s proposal, man was doomed to the material salvation offered by the likes of Karl Marx.  Through meditation on this mystery, we give thanks to Almighty God for Our Lady’s consent to bring the Savior into the world.

The Second Joyful Mystery: The Visitation

As soon as Gabriel left Our Lady, Scripture tells us that she “made haste” to be with her cousin Elizabeth, who was then in her sixth month of pregnancy.  Thus filled with the Holy Spirit, and carrying the Christ in her womb, Our Lady’s first desire was to help family and serve others.  She is the very model of the corporal works of Mercy.  

Marx, on the other hand, proposes a system that abolishes and ridicules the service of charity and seeks to impose a heavy-handed system of a labor-fed society.  In Marx’s system, there is no love of neighbor, but only the service of all under the imposing gaze of the state.

The Third Joyful Mystery: The Birth of Christ

As we contemplate the Birth of the Savior of mankind, we have in mind the image of Joseph, Mary and the infant Christ Child lying in a manger.  This image alone could fill volumes of contemplative meditations.  Here, we see the image of the Holy Family as an Earthly representation of the Holy Trinity; Joseph the Father, Our Lady filled with the Grace of the Holy Spirit, and Our Blessed Lord bridging the gap between Trinity and Family.  But in all the various ways we could contemplate this Mystery, what remains is the image of the family.

Marx’s revolutionary manifesto asked, “What will be the influence of communist society on the family?”  His answer is to abolish it by destroying its very foundations:

It will transform the relations between the sexes into a purely private matter which concerns only the persons involved and into which society has no occasion to intervene. It can do this since it does away with private property and educates children on a communal basis, and in this way removes the two bases of traditional marriage – the dependence rooted in private property, of the women on the man, and of the children on the parents.

If the Holy Family is the model for all families, and the Holy Family is the reflection of the Holy Trinity, then Marx’s assault upon the family is no less an assault on God, which is why, at its very core, Communism is an atheist philosophy.    

The Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple

When the priest Simeon received Our Lord from Our Lady, he prophesied: “Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted.”  At this very moment, he foretold of the crucifixion of Our Lord, and in so doing, he told Our Lady that “thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”  

Here we can see the willingness to suffer and die out of love.  Our Lady knows that because she shares in the great joy contained in Our Lord, that she will also share in His suffering.  There is no man who has ever lived who knows suffering like Our Lady does.  At the Annunciation, she knew that if all mankind would fall and suffer because of Eve’s rebellion against her husband and God, that all mankind would be saved because the Christ Child would take the sin and pain of all mankind to Himself, and it could only be accomplished by her consent.  At the Visitation, she knew the joy the Divine Savior growing within her womb would bring to others.  After His birth, she laid Him upon the dead wood of a manger, which is a food trough for animals … a manger that would prefigure the wood of His Cross as He became the food for all mankind.  And while Simeon was prophesying the suffering Our Lady would share in her Son’s Passion, she embraced it all with humility.

In the second chapter of St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he said, “Jesus Christ, Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.”

But Marx preaches a rejection of suffering and servitude.  Rather than accepting one’s state in life, Marx preaches an anti-Gospel of envy, where the collective of workers cast off their servitude and rise against the upper class and GRASP what is not theirs.

The Fifth Joyful Mystery: The Finding of the Child Jesus Teaching in the Temple

In the final Joyful Mystery of the Rosary, we read the conversation between Our Lady and Our Lord, wherein Our Lady asks him to explain why He left them frantic for three days.  At the end of the conversation, St. Luke tells us, “And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them.”  

The lesson to be had here is Holy Obedience.  Our Lord delights in those who are obedient.  Beginning with Adam and Eve and running throughout all of Scripture, we see a theme of the curses associated with disobedience and the blessings associated with obedience.  When we are obedient to God and subject to proper authority, we are pleasing to Him.  When we are disobedient and rebel against rightful authority, we incite His wrath.

The materialist philosophy of Marx’s Communist Manifesto is a blueprint for rebellion against God and rebellion against rightful authority.  When one considers the state-sponsored executions, the state-generated famines, the wars, and the spread of abortion, its bitter fruits have resulted in the deaths of countless millions.

Even now, the horrors of Marx’s philosophies are infecting nearly every facet of human civilization.  It comes in the form of contraception, abortion, homosexuality, on-going rebellious movements, and every other man-centered -ism that takes our minds away from the Four Last Things; death, judgment, Heaven and Hell.

As we can see, the Rosary provides the answer.  The Mysteries we meditate upon provide for us an understanding that man is not made for this world, as Marx would have us believe … but that we are made for Love of God and Love of neighbor.  But more than that, The Rosary is the remedy to Marx’s poison.

The Golden Legend tells us that St. Martha went to the Southern part of France, and while she was there, a horrible dragon had taken up residence in the River of Rhone.  The locals, try as they may to defeat it, could do nothing to slay this beast.  According to the Legend, the locals asked Martha for help, who went with them to find the dragon.  They found it devouring a man, but St. Martha approached with the sign of the cross and cast holy water on it, at which point the creature became as docile as a sheep.  She bound it with her own girdle and led it to the villagers, who then killed it with spears.

Through this image, we can see a foreshadowing of the prophesied Triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.  Our Lady asked us to pray the Rosary every day.  If the dragon scourging us now is the philosophy of Marx, can we not see how the symbol of the cross and the girdle of St. Martha, which bound her dragon, make the loop of beads and the cross of the Rosaries we have today?  The beast facing St. Martha could not resist her, and neither will the Marxist Dragon of today resist our Lady.

Oh, Holy Virgin of the Rosary, pray for us!

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Phil Lawler

Opinion,

Vatican not doing itself any favors lately on sex abuse complaints

Phil Lawler

May 9, 2018 (CatholicCulture.org) – One step forward, two steps back. One excellent statement about a no-nonsense commitment to fighting sexual abuse, then a public act that suggests the issue is still not a top priority.

Chilean abuse victims were moved and encouraged by their private meetings with Pope Francis last week. Then on May 5, when the Pontiff joined a public celebration for the 50th anniversary of the Neocatechumenal Way, Archbishop Anthony Apuron – who was only recently convicted of abuse by a Vatican tribunal – was seated on the stage near the Pontiff.

True, Archbishop Apuron has appealed his conviction, and still proclaims his innocence. But he is one of only two archbishops ever found guilty of sexual abuse – not merely of ignoring evidence of abuse, but of molesting boys himself. Why would the Vatican give him a prominent role in a public ceremony, just a few weeks after announcing his conviction?

Shortly after his election to the papacy, Benedict XVI gave his staff instructions that they should never provide Father Marcial Maciel with a chance to be seen alongside the new Pope; the founder of the Legionaries of Christ was quietly frozen out of papal events. And that was long before the public disclosure of Maciel's abuses. But now Archbishop Apuron (who will be stripped of that title, if the tribunal's verdict is upheld) has his photo op with the Pope – the same Pope who, a week earlier, had been begging Chilean victims for forgiveness, acknowledging that "I was part of the problem."

Sadly, what journalists said about the American bishops in 2002 applies to Vatican officials today: They still don't get it.

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.

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Msgr. Charles Pope Msgr. Charles Pope

Opinion,

Feeling sympathetic to Judas and Pontius Pilate? Not so fast.

Msgr. Charles Pope Msgr. Charles Pope

May 9, 2018 (National Catholic Register) – Rejoicing in the Easter glow, I hesitate to look back to two figures instrumental in the Passion and Death of the Lord, but I often get questions or comments about Judas and Pilate that demonstrate fundamental flaws in moral reasoning. Many people today either seek to exonerate them for their role in the crucifixion or they sympathize with them, citing what they view as exculpatory evidence.

One approach is to see Judas and Pilate as mere puppets in a play written by God; they were only doing what they had to do. Such a view robs both men of their dignity as free moral agents responsible for their actions (something at the very heart of being human). It also turns God into a kind of monster or manipulator, forcing people to do evil things. Further, it would have God break a fundamental moral principle: that we are not to do evil even if good may come from it. If Judas, Pilate, and others were forced by God to play a predestined role then God would be an evildoer because He would have compelled evil so that good would result.

None of this is acceptable. It involves deeply flawed moral reasoning and violates theological truth by misrepresenting God as an agent of moral evil. The fact that God permits evil and can draw good from it does not mean that He wills evil or that He directly causes others to do evil. This is a gravely offensive notion of God, who is Goodness, Truth and Love.

Regarding Judas, it is true that his betrayal of the Messiah was prophesied in Scripture:

  • Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me (Psalm 41:9).
  • Then I, [Zechariah] said to them, "If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them." And they weighed out as my wages 30 pieces of silver. Then the Lord said to me, "Throw it to the potter" – the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So, I took the 30 pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter (Zechariah 11:12-13).
  • And Peter rose and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry"(Acts 1:16-17).
  • so [the Temple leaders] took counsel and bought with them the potter's field as a burial place for strangers (Matthew 27:7).

It is also attested in the Scriptures that Jesus knew it was Judas who would betray Him:

  • Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him…. Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil." He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him (John 6:64, 70-71).
  • Jesus became troubled in spirit and testified, "Truly, truly, I tell you, one of you will betray Me." The disciples began to look at one another, perplexed as to which of them He meant…. [The beloved disciple] asked, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread after I have dipped it." Then He dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. And when Judas had taken the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus said to Judas, "What you are about to do, do quickly" (John 13:21-27).
  • Jesus said, "Father … While I was with [my disciples], I protected and preserved them by Your name, the name You gave Me. Not one of them has been lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled" (John 17:12).

None of this means, as many incorrectly assume, that God's foreknowledge of Judas' actions forced him to do them. I might observe you and see what you are inevitably going to do, but my knowledge of your certain course of action does not force you to do it nor does it rob you of your freedom in any way.

Further, that one is "destined" to do something does not mean that he is forced to do it. Rather, it means that God, who sees all history at once, knew what Judas would freely do and planned accordingly.

Judas remains a free moral agent throughout. He himself speaks of his own responsibility: "I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood" (Matthew 27:4).

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What about Judas' "repentance"? He realized that he had done what was wrong and threw the money back. Doesn't this mean that he was contrite and deserves our sympathy?

This points to another common error of our times. Many people reduce contrition to "feeling bad" about having sinned or about something we have done. True contrition is more than a feeling. It involves a firm purpose of amendment. For Judas, amendment would have meant returning to the Lord and seeking God's mercy. Judas does not turn to the Lord; instead, he turns inward and, deciding he cannot live with his anger or sorrow, kills himself. This behavior is quite different from that of Peter, who lived with his regret and faced the Lord, receiving His mercy at the lakeside in Galilee.

Thus, the notions that Judas was forced to do what he did and/or that he properly repented of his action must be seen for the errors they are. They do not comport with solid moral reasoning or proper theological notions.

Further, the widespread belief that Judas might be in Heaven may be just a tad optimistic. While the Church does not declare that any particular person is in Hell, we must recall that Jesus said the following about Judas: The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.(Matthew 26:24). It is hard to imagine Jesus saying this of any person who ultimately makes it to Heaven.

The more likely biblical judgment on Judas is that he died in sin, despairing of God's mercy on God's terms. One is free to hope for a different outcome for him, but while the story of Judas and his possible repentance does generate sympathy and hope for him, the judgment belongs to God.

With Judas we have a hoped-for story that will never be told: The repentance of Judas and his restoration by Jesus! Think of all the churches that were never built: "The Church of St. Judas, Penitent." Think of the feast days never celebrated: "The Repentance of Judas."

Sadly, Judas went his way, freely. God did not force him to play this role. He only knew what Judas would do beforehand and based His plans on Judas' free choice.

In Pontius Pilate we also have a figure who generates much sympathy today: "Poor Pilate, he really wanted to let Jesus go, but the angry crowd forced him to crucify Him. And Jesus didn't help much, remaining rather quiet during the trial." This is more flawed moral reasoning; it diminishes man as a moral agent capable of acting heroically in obedience to the truth. While fear can limit our perceived freedom and to some degree our culpability, we ought not to forget the virtue of fortitude, which equips us to do what is right even in the face of difficulty.

Pilate was not some forlorn figure thrust unprepared onto the stage of history. He was a local governor with the power of the Roman army at his disposal. While he is presented as a vacillating figure trying to placate the crowd and his conscience, proper moral reasoning demanded that he follow his conscience. Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent of the charges levied against Him. He had carefully interrogated Him on the charges and found them to be baseless. Jesus had no army nor were His supporters storming the gates to save Him. He represented no threat to Roman governance. Scripture presents Pilate's conscience as clear on this point. Yet, he violated his conscience and did what he knew to be wrong and unjust. He did so to protect his career. Like each of us does, Pilate had to make a decision about Jesus – he failed to make the right one. Instead of taking a stand for Jesus, for justice and truth, Pilate assumed a seat, the Judgment seat, and condemned an innocent man to death.

None of us can be Pilate's final judge; that role belongs to the Lord Jesus. He alone knows if Pilate's fear was exculpatory to any degree.

Even if we cannot judge Pilate's final place in Heaven or Hell, neither should we surrender important moral principles that summon us to stand up for what is true regardless of the cost. No one should violate his conscience for what is expedient or preferred. The truth is sometimes costly, and we cannot do what we know is wrong just because it might cost us something.

Ultimately, each of us has a decision to make about Jesus. Will we stand with Him even unto martyrdom or will we give way to what the "crowd" says? Will we crucify Jesus to save our own self or will we call Him Lord and allow Him to save us on his terms?

Yes, Pilate and Judas generate a lot of sympathy today. Sympathy has its place in understanding human affairs, but we cannot allow it to eclipse solid moral principles or to distort our understanding of God and the human person. We are free moral agents; this points to our dignity and to our responsibility. Robbing man of his dignity, eviscerating moral principles, distorting moral reasoning, and turning God into an evildoer shows the ugly side of misguided sympathy. This is a problem today that extends far beyond flawed modern notions of Pilate and Judas. Substituting sympathy for truth is a pervasive tendency in our times.

Published with permission from the National Catholic Register.

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Alfie Evans more than 48 hours after he was removed from his ventilator on April 23, 2018. Kate James / Facebook
Calvin Freiburger

Blogs

Alfie Evans should’ve turned 2 today, but UK’s legal and health system killed him

Calvin Freiburger

LIVERPOOL, England, May 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Today would have been the second birthday of Alfie Evans, the baby who died on April 28 after British and European courts refused his parents’ herculean efforts to remove him from the hospital that decided the toddler's death was in his “best interest.”

Supporters in Liverpool are marking the date with a candlelight vigil. Hopefully, it will offer some measure of comfort to Tom Evans and Kate James, along with the knowledge that their sweet little boy is in heaven right now, free of the health issues and human callousness that made his life so short.

Still, this isn’t how children’s birthdays are supposed to go. This should be a day of cheer and laughter, of friends and family gathering over cake, with Tom and Kate opening presents that their son might be too young to appreciate, but would delight him all the same. Instead, Alfie’s birthday is a day of sorrow – because Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and the U.K. court system chose to make it a day of sorrow. Alfie was removed by court order from his ventilator on April 23. He defied medical expectations by beginning to breathe on his own. He continued to breathe on his own for five days. He was given a series of four drug injections shortly before his death.  

Nobody can say with certainty whether Alfie could have been cured, or how long he would have lived, but we do know his life wouldn’t have ended when it did if a line of medical and legal authorities hadn’t made the conscious choice that it should end, and if the rest of the British government and even many of the country’s bishops hadn’t decided such a choice was acceptable. 

The rationale defies any human comprehension.

The Vatican-owned Bambino Gesù Hospital in Rome had offered to take over Alfie’s care, so it wouldn’t have cost Alder Hey more money. His parents’ attorney confirmed that Alfie would be able to survive air travel, and medical staff stood ready to care for him during the trip, so a transfer wouldn’t have increased the risk (besides, the worst-case scenario, Alfie dying in transit, would’ve been the outcome Alder Hey wanted anyway, with the bonus of a chance to say “we told you so”).

If, for instance, Alder Hey was right and Alfie would’ve naturally died in Rome six months from now, at least his parents would be able to take comfort in the fact that every effort was made to save him. What harm would there have been in giving them that?

The only motive for obstruction that makes any sort of twisted, depraved sense is that, if another hospital got its hands on Alfie and proved his case wasn’t hopeless, it would have undermined the credibility of Alder Hey’s medical judgment – and, by extension, the authority of the U.K.’s entire socialized medical system.

And when total control over the individual and the family rests on the premise that the state knows better than they do, the regime can’t afford to take those kinds of chances. So Alfie Evans had to die.

This was not a good-faith dispute over the proper solution to impossible circumstances. It was the deliberate sacrifice of a child to protect an ideology that’s replaced God in far too many hearts.

If that sounds a bit extreme, then ask yourself why British Prime Minister Theresa May’s take on the case was not to identify a specific point on which Alfie’s defenders were mistaken, but to declare that the judgment of “expert clinicians” was not to be questioned. Ask yourself why advocates of socialized medicine on this side of the pond don’t want to discuss Alfie at all.

Socialized medicine clouded Alfie Evans’ birthday with heartbreak instead of joy, but perhaps some silver linings can be found if it wakes up enough people to how much power they’ve surrendered to their governments.

So, happy birthday, Alfie. We’ll be praying that your example drives the civilized world to ensure that more children live to see theirs. Your short life has inspired millions around the world. Your life has not been in vain and you will be remembered for years to come. 

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Doug Ford during the PC party leadership debate, Feb. 15, 2018. TVO / screen-grab
Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

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Why social conservatives should still support Doug Ford despite him betraying Tanya Granic Allen

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

May 9, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Like most social conservatives, I was very disappointed to see that PC leader Doug Ford decided to drop Tanya Granic Allen as a candidate over the weekend, citing the “tone” of some of her past comments.

After Granic Allen’s stellar performance during the leadership race and her personal sacrifice in staying on to run for MPP, Ford’s decision to drop her seemed like a betrayal. Allen said as much herself in an email to supporters from Parents As First Educators (PAFE), the parental rights advocacy organization she returned to upon her abrupt departure from the political arena.

But while Granic Allen may not be running for MPP, the agenda and the policies she has been fighting for over the past several years may still be alive and well. On May 8, Doug Ford announced that he remained committed to repealing and replacing the sex-ed curriculum – the very issue Granic Allen had joined the leadership race to advocate for in the first place. Additionally, Ford promised to cut funding to post-secondary institutions that refuse to allow controversial figures to speak. Pro-lifers are often targeted and silenced on campus, so this is a very welcome announcement.

Granic Allen indicated cautious optimism at Ford’s announcement, tweeting, “Glad to see that Doug Ford [is] still committed to repealing & replacing the intolerant Wynne sex-ed, following my lead in the campaign and my advice of yesterday.” In response to questions, she followed that up with another a few minutes later: “People ask me will Doug Ford actually deliver on his promise to repeal and replace Wynne’s sex-ed. I don’t know, but he cannot possibly be worse than Wynne. Let’s hope Doug wins and then keeps his promise.”

I’m of the same mind as Granic Allen. Ford is a populist, not a social conservative, and so his decision to drop Allen over “tone” as he put it was not a betrayal like that of Patrick Brown, who claimed he was a social conservative before turning around and stabbing us in the back. Ford has stated clearly that social conservatives do have a place in his PC Party, and the fact that he has taken pains to publicly recommit to repealing and replacing the sex-ed curriculum is at minimum a very positive sign. Ford also does not appear to be targeting social conservatives like Patrick Brown was, either—MPP Sam Oosterhoff was on Steve Paikin’s show recently and referred to “pre-born human rights” without triggering the sort of tempter tantrum Brown would have thrown, and Ford has also chosen to stand by former radio host Andrew Lawton despite left-wing media demands that he be thrown overboard.

While it is disappointing that Tanya Granic Allen will not be taking a seat in Queen’s Park this year as a Member of Provincial Parliament, it would be tragic for social conservatives to take their eyes off the prize. Granic Allen and thousands of others have fought long and hard to get Kathleen Wynne’s sex-ed curriculum repealed, and social conservatives now have a very real opportunity to accomplish that goal. On the other hand, if social conservatives decide to turn on Ford rather than attempting to get rid of Kathleen Wynne and then hold Ford to the public promises he has made, our last opportunity could be gone. We will not get another chance to repeal and replace that curriculum.

There are quite a few very good social conservatives running in Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party at the moment, and those candidates deserve our support. This is no longer the party of Patrick Brown, where social conservatives are purged and silenced as a rule. We have a chance to make an impact in this new party. I agree with Tanya Granic Allen. I think we should take it.

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