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Pro-abortion GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine speaks at a Washington, DC, conference in 2013. Stuart Isett/Fortune Most Powerful Women
Lisa Correnti

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Two Republican senators fighting hard to preserve abortion overseas

Lisa Correnti
By Lisa Correnti

June 29, 2018 (C-Fam) – Two pro-abortion Republican lawmakers and their Democrat colleagues used the foreign operations funding bill to obstruct various Trump administration pro-life advances.

At issue is the 2019 State and Foreign Operations bill. Senate Democrats offered an amendment that redirects funding for children with malaria and tuberculosis, and prioritizes population control money to protect "biodiversity and endangered species." The amendment would undo the Mexico City Policy, which forbids American health money from going to abortion groups overseas. Additionally, the amendment would restore funding for the UN Population Fund that has been implicated in the Chinese one-child policy.

The Republican drafted bill had capped funding for international family planning and reproductive health at pre-Obama levels – $461 million and eliminated funding for the United Nations Population Fund.

Republican appropriators also maintained pro-life policy riders including the Tiahrt Amendment that ensures family planning programs are voluntary, the Helms Amendment banning foreign aid for abortions, and keeps the Kemp-Kasten Amendment that prohibits funds to organizations the President determines support coercive abortion.

Both the Senate and House draft bills codified President Trump's executive action prohibiting global health assistance to foreign organizations that perform or promote abortion through the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (known colloquially as Mexico City Policy).

A Republican majority in the House dismissed hostile attempts by abortion proponents in the past. During last week's hearing in the full appropriation committee Democrats recycled debunked statistics on unmet need for contraception and proposed three hostile amendments aiming to increase funding for overseas abortions. All were defeated.

New in the House debate this year was a Democrat challenge to insert a right to abortion by mandating the State Department include a section on the "status of reproductive rights" in the annual country reports on Human Rights. Under the Obama administration countries were included for having restrictive abortion laws as the case with Ireland. The Trump administration removed reproductive rights as a reporting requirement responding to critics that abortion was not included "because it's not a human right."

Though the House bill survived intact, the situation was markedly different in the Senate committee where population funding has been maintained at $630 million despite Republican control.

For the past five years Senator Jeanne Shaheen's (D-NH) hostile amendment has passed due to two Republican abortion supporters on the committee, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). Conservative organizations are considering a request to senior Republican leadership to have the senators reassigned.

The Democratic amendment this year requires a floor of $595M and funds UNFPA with $37.5M, permanently repeals Mexico City Policy restoring funding to overseas groups that perform abortion and lobby to change pro-life laws, and specifically calls for population control programs "in areas where population growth threatens biodiversity and endangered species."

The Shaheen amendment strips targeted appropriation funding from "child survival, malaria and tuberculosis" replacing it with more general "global health and child survival activities" opening the door for programming to be determined by the implementing organization.

Recently a Nigerian OB/GYN told the Friday Fax that clinics lack antibiotics but have an abundance of contraception. "We need anti-malarial, antibiotics, haematinics etc. How I wish the funds are used to help these women and not to achieve the donors dreams."

The House and Senate bills are expected to be reconciled in conference by House and Senate leadership.

 Published with permission from C-Fam.

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Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

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US vs. UN abortion showdown slated for autumn General Assembly

Stefano Gennarini, J.D.
By Stefano Gennarini J.D.

June 29, 2018 (C-Fam) – A disagreement over abortion between the Trump administration and European governments has set the stage for a showdown in the UN General Assembly this fall.

At issue is the inclusion of various phrases used to support abortion in an annual UN resolution on humanitarian assistance.

In a prepared statement at the end of the debate on Friday, U.S. Ambassador Kelly Currie said, "The United States cannot accept the inclusion of 'sexual and reproductive health services' and 'sexual and reproductive health' in the resolution." She said, "the terms have been used to promote abortion, and the right to abortion."

While the U.S. did not call for a vote to delete the terms, the U.S. position against abortion on the floor of recent UN meetings sets up the possibility that such a vote may happen this fall and next spring when the UN is again expected to adopt humanitarian agreements to guide UN agencies and programs in areas affected by war and natural disasters.

While the United States joined the agreement, it withdrew support from two paragraphs in the resolution that mention "sexual and reproductive health." The European backers of UN humanitarian efforts refused to delete this term despite insistent requests from U.S. diplomats and others. Nigeria, Sudan, and the Holy See made similar reservations.

The U.S. Mission to the UN headed by Ambassador Nikki Haley has followed the lead of the Trump administration, which has succeeded in keeping "sexual and reproductive health" out of recent agreements at the G7, G20, World Health Assembly, and the Organization of American States. The same result is proving more difficult in New York. But the latest statement from the U.S. Mission signals U.S. diplomats may be getting ready for a vote on abortion in humanitarian settings.

At issue is whether UN humanitarian efforts will include "sexual and reproductive health." If they do, UN agencies will continue to fund the same pro-abortion organizations defunded by the Trump administration when it expanded so-called Mexico City Policy which forbids certain American money from going to such groups. Mexico City Policy does not touch money given by the U.S. to UN agencies.

While unsuccessful in blocking abortion language in the document, the U.S. was successful in blocking an endorsement of the "Minimum Initial Service Package for sexual and reproductive health" (MISP), which is an initiative between UN agencies and abortion groups that ensures abortion access in humanitarian emergencies.

Endorsing the MISP would have all but guaranteed that abortion be considered a basic humanitarian necessity, paving the way for a humanitarian right to abortion, and ensuring that abortion groups get financial support through humanitarian expenditures.

The MISP ignores caveats in UN agreements that exclude the possibility of abortion being considered a humanitarian right, ignores conscience protections for humanitarian workers, and directly challenges U.S. funding restrictions on abortion.

This is the second time in a year that MISP has been rejected in a UN negotiation, which signals members states may no longer consider it "agreed-upon language."

The United States has leverage over such initiatives since it is the largest donor to global humanitarian efforts, contributing more than $8 billion annually. European nations who support abortion in humanitarian efforts have tried to undermine the 1973 Helms amendment, a law that bans U.S. funding for abortions overseas. In 2015, they even claimed the law violates the Geneva Conventions.

 Published with permission from C-Fam.

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Canada joins the suicide club: Euthanasia deaths increase by 30 percent

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By Alex Schadenberg

June 29, 2018 (Euthanasia Prevention Coalition) – The experience with every jurisdiction that permits euthanasia or assisted suicide is that once it is legalized it expands in the number and situations whereby death by lethal drugs is considered a response to difficult human conditions.

In Canada, The Third Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying (euthanasia and assisted suicide) was recently released by health Canada indicating that the number of deaths by lethal drugs has increased by 30% in the second half of 2017 (July 1 - Dec 31, 2017).

The data indicates that there were 1525 reported assisted deaths in the last 6 months of 2017. There were 1179 reported assisted deaths in The Second Interim report for the first 6 months of 2017. There were 3714 reported assisted deaths since parliament legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide, up to December 31, 2017.

The actual data provided in the Canadian report lacks any insight into why doctors decided to kill these patients.

Research from the data published in the Second Québec government report found:

  • 37% of forms/reports from doctors, and an unnamed percentage of reports from institutions, needed more information. Some doctors openly refused to provide the additional information requested by the Commission.
  • A 5% or 7% error rate (with 3% undetermined) would not be acceptable where lives depended on the effective application of safeguards (e.g. the airline industry).  
  • The three cases in which the safeguards were clearly violated (two where the person did not have a "serious and incurable illness" and one where the person was not at the "end of life") were not addressed as the crimes that they are. 

Quebec euthanasia data from the Commission on end-of-life care.

The promotion and expansion of euthanasia in Canada has been very concerning. 

Recently Roger Foley, of London Ontario, launched a court case based on the fact that he has been told that he qualifies for an assisted death, but he does not qualify for assisted living. 

Since the euthanasia lobby thinks that there is not enough killing. The euthanasia lobby recently announced that they are planning to establish a euthanasia clinic in Toronto.

Doctor and hospices are being pressured to participate in euthanasia. Doctors in Ontario are being told that they must refer for MAiD and a BC Health Authority has told hospices that they must participate in MAiD.

A Canadian bioethicist published an article promoting euthanasia / organ donation and a study was published stating that up to 138 million dollars can be saved by euthanasia.

A study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine finding that requests for euthanasia are often based on existential distress and not physical pain.

To make matters worse, in June 2017 an Ontario judge extended euthanasia to people who are not terminal ill. The judge redefined the phrase "natural death must be reasonably foreseeable" to permit doctors to kill people who are not terminally ill.

There may be unreported assisted deaths.

The Canadian government established a similar self-reporting system, as exists in the Netherlands and Belgium. This means that the doctor who carries out the death is the same doctor who reports the death (no independent oversight of the law) therefore if under-reporting or abuse of the law occurs, no one will know. Based on the first Québec government's first euthanasia report 14% of the assisted deaths did not comply with the law.

The number of Canadian euthanasia deaths is high when compared to Belgium where there were 235 reported assisted deaths in the first year (2003) of legal euthanasia and 349 in the second year and 393 in its third year after legalization. In 2015, there were 2021 reported Belgian assisted deaths. Belgium has approximately 1/3 of Canada's population.

Data from a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (March 2015) indicated that more than 40% of the assisted deaths in Belgium were not reported in 2013.

Data from a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that 23% of the assisted deaths in the Netherlands were not reported in 2015.

Published with permission from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

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Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Matthew Cullinan Hoffman Follow Matthew

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Japanese eugenics program forced sterilization and abortion on tens of thousands

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

June 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Japanese government is facing a growing number of lawsuits from victims of its Nazism-inspired mass sterilization program that robbed tens of thousands of people of their reproductive capacities over a period of several decades.

An estimated 25,000 people were sterilized by Japan’s Eugenic Protection Law between 1948 and 1996, 16,500 of them involuntarily, according to government sources. Up to 60,000 forced abortions are also believed to have been carried out, all in the name of purifying Japan of hereditary diseases, particularly mental disorders perceived to be genetic in origin.

The law was implemented to continue a eugenics policy begun during Japan’s alliance with Nazi Germany, implemented through the 1940 National Eugenics Law, which itself was based on the Nazis’ 1933 “Law for the Prevention of Progeny with Hereditary Disease.”

However, as the Japanese-language Business Journal observed, the Nazi sterilization program was itself based on American eugenics policies implemented between 1907 and the late 1970s that led to an estimated 60,000 forced sterilizations in the United States, about a third of them in California.

The current string of lawsuits began in January when an unnamed woman filed the first suit against the Japanese government for forcibly sterilizing her in 1972 at age 15. The woman was sterilized because she began to suffer mental problems after an operation for a cleft palate. She was falsely diagnosed as having “hereditary feeble-mindedness.”

After national news media began to publicize the lawsuit, other purported victims began to sue the government. Now, at the request of Japanese media and the national government itself, local governments are seeking data on victims in hospitals to confirm the claims and to seek out unknown victims for possible compensation. A group of lawyers to aid victims in filing lawsuits has also formed and reportedly is receiving many inquiries. Government officials are beginning to discuss compensation plans regardless of the outcomes of lawsuits.

One of the victims who filed a lawsuit is Kikuo Kojima,76, a resident of Sapporo who was forcibly sterilized after being diagnosed with schizophrenia at 19.

“Why couldn’t I have a child with my beloved wife? I want this to be resolved as soon as possible so that it will never happen again,” Kojima said, according to the Japan Times.

Another forced sterilization victim in his 1970s, who spoke anonymously to the media, said, “I’ve been in agony about this for years,” and told reporters that he was unable to tell his wife about it until shortly before her death several years ago.

“I felt pain when I saw my wife cradling someone else’s baby,” said the man. “I’ve kept this burden in my heart for a long time. … I want my life back.”

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English bishop urges national review of palliative care after hundreds of elderly deaths

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

PORTSMOUTH, England, June 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic bishop in England has urged a review of palliative care and a return to “basic human values” in the wake of the Gosport Inquiry. (Full text below.)

Bishop Philip Egan of the Portsmouth diocese wrote to clergy and laity to express his sorrow and shock at the news that hundreds of elderly people died at Gosport War Memorial Hospital due to misuse of opiates and other painkillers. The hospital is within Egan’s diocese.

Egan indicated that this was a wakeup call for British society, mentioning also a recent euthanasia campaign and the tragic death of infant Alfie Evans.  

“Whilst the lessons to be learnt in this case will be many,” he wrote, “it seems clear that as a society we need urgently to review our geriatric care and our end of life care, specifically in relation to fundamental moral principles.”

“The recent campaign in Guernsey for physician-assisted suicide, and then the case of baby Alfie Evans, tell us that we cannot leave awkward decisions to the courts alone,” he continued. “We need to reprise our basic human values.”

The bishop said he has long been uneasy with the concept “quality of life” because it seems to give experts and judges the power of life and death over an individual.

“I prefer the term ‘dignity of life,’ which reminds us of the absolute good of the person and their infinite worth,” he wrote.

While acknowledging that the National Health Service is a “blessing,” the bishop said Britons must “be vigilant” to its “policies, values, priorities and procedures.” He reminded his diocese that although he recognized the “noble intentions” of the now-discredited “Liverpool Care Pathway,” he had also warned that it could lead to hastened deaths. As history showed, it did.

The bishop said society needs to go “back to basics” and he reminded his diocese of Catholic doctrines concerning the sanctity of life:

“As Catholics, we believe that life from conception to natural death is a gift of God,” he wrote. “It is sacred, and so every person on earth has an inviolable dignity as God’s creation.”

Recognizing that “frailty, pain and infirmity are always a difficult trial,” Egan counseled his flock to unite their sufferings with those of Christ, offering them for the salvation of others. But he also rejoiced that we can thank God for “amazing advances” in professional health care.

Finally, the bishop made three requests: to pray for medical staff, the sick, and the dying; to guard over loved ones when they are dangerously ill, arranging for them to die at home, if possible; and to prepare for a happy death through prayer, the sacraments and a virtuous life.

Since his election in 2012, Bishop Egan has stood out among the Catholic bishops of England and Wales for his strong and consistent defense of chastity, traditional marriage and other facets of the Gospel of Life.

A PASTORAL MESSAGE FROM BISHOP PHILIP

to the Clergy and People of the Diocese of Portsmouth in light of the Gosport War Memorial Hospital Inquiry                  

My Dear Friends,                   

I am sure that, like me, you were shocked and saddened by the report last week into the deaths of hundreds of elderly patients at Gosport Memorial Hospital in the period 1989 to 2000, caused by the inappropriate prescription of opiates and painkillers. It is a terrible tragedy. Let us pray for the repose of those who have died, for their families, and for justice and reconciliation. These deaths took place within our own Diocese. I am sure I speak for us all, clergy and faithful, in extending to bereaved families our love, sympathy and prayers.                   

Whilst the lessons to be learnt in this case will be many, it seems clear that as a society we need urgently to review our geriatric care and our end of life care, specifically in relation to fundamental moral principles. The recent campaign in Guernsey for physician assisted suicide, and then the case of baby Alfie Evans, tell us that we cannot leave awkward decisions to the courts alone. We need to reprise our basic human values. This is why I have long been uneasy with the concept “quality of life,” which seems to invest experts and judges with power over the life and death of an individual. I prefer the term “dignity of life,” which reminds us of the absolute good of the person and their infinite worth.                   

The NHS is a huge blessing but we must ever be vigilant to the policies, values, priorities and procedures that operate within it. In the 1990s the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) began to be widely used until the Neuberger Report led to its abandonment in 2013. At the time, I acknowledged the noble intentions of the LCP: the dignified care of the dying, the alleviation of suffering and pain, and the cessation of invasive treatments and unnecessary procedures. But I also expressed concern about its day-to-day implementation in our busy hospitals, where the pressure to save money and to utilise beds, together with an emotive empathy for those suffering, might suggest the need to hasten death. The media at the time carried reports of patients being placed on the pathway without families being consulted. I also had reservations about the LCP itself: that doctors were asked to make a definitive judgment that a patient is about to die and that feeding and hydration could be summarily withdrawn.     

We need to go back to basics. As Catholics, we believe that life from conception to natural death is a gift of God. It is sacred, and so every person on earth has an inviolable dignity as God’s creation. Frailty, pain and infirmity are always a difficult trial. On the one hand, we must unite our sufferings with those of Christ, finding in Him the strength, patience and energy we need to ‘carry the cross’ (Mt 16: 24), whilst offering it for the salvation of others. On the other, we rightly turn to doctors and nurses in the hope that like the angel in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22: 43), they can alleviate and heal our condition. Indeed, in today’s world, we can thank God for amazing advances in modern health- care, and not least in palliative care and pain-management at the end of life.

Let me finish with three points. First, every day pray for our doctors, nurses and health-care professionals, asking God to bless and guide the wonderful and generous work they do. Pray too for the sick, the dying, those in hospital, and anyone suffering pain mental, emotional or physical. If a Catholic is seriously ill, at home, in hospital, in a nursing home or wherever, please call the priest so that s/he can be offered the sacraments.                 

Secondly, if you or a loved one is terminally ill, consider whether it might be practicable to die at home. Ask whether it is possible for drugs to be used that do not totally withdraw consciousness and a chance to pray and commune with family and friends. As next of kin, gently insist on being involved in decisions. It might be appropriate to ask staff for a second opinion or a re-evaluation of treatment. Life, of course, cannot be prolonged indefinitely, but it is not morally permissible until the very last to withdraw feeding and hydration. If the medical team suggests there is little more they can do, that is the moment, if not done already, to call the priest to offer the sacraments.                   

And thirdly, pray every day yourself for a happy death, that is, to die in a state of grace, aided by the sacramental care of Mother Church and supported, as was the Lord Jesus Himself, by family and friends. Let us accept whatever death the Lord has prepared for us. We never know “the day or the hour” (Mt 24: 36), nor the circumstances in which the Lord will summon us to judgment and our eternal reward. So as Christian disciples, let us prepare ourselves by persevering in the practice of our Faith, by attending Mass and making a regular confession, by daily prayer and faith-formation, and by living a good life in justice and charity. Indeed, as a child, I was taught every night to pray the following prayer, which I also commend to you:                  

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, assist me in my last agony.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you.                   

Finally, for those who died in Gosport, we pray they will hear those thrilling words from the Saviour: “Today, you will be with me Paradise” (Luke 23: 43).                   

In Corde Iesu,                   

+Philip                   

29th June 2018,

Solemnity of SS. Peter and Paul

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Bishop Nunzio Galantino is the new president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See. http://chiesacattolica.it
Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy

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New Vatican investments chief opposes pro-life witness, admires Luther

Dorothy Cummings McLean Dorothy Cummings McLean Follow Dorothy
By Dorothy Cummings McLean

VATICAN CITY, June 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis’ new choice to handle the Vatican’s investment portfolio and real estate holdings has a rocky relationship with pro-lifers but admires Luther.

On June 22, the Vatican announced Bishop Nunzio Galantino, 69, as the new president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA). He replaced Cardinal Domenico Calcagno, who turned 75 in February.

Pope Francis told Reuters news service a week earlier that he was looking for a candidate who displayed an “attitude of renewal.”  

“I am studying candidates who have an attitude of renewal, a new person after so many years,” he told his interviewer. “Calcagno knows the functioning well, but perhaps the mentality has to be renewed.”

However, critics of the new APSA chief believe Galantino’s attitude toward doctrine is in need of renewal.

In 2014, when he was the secretary-general for the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Galantino told a interviewer, “In the past, we have concentrated exclusively on (saying) “No” to abortion and euthanasia. It can’t be like this, between (birth and death) there is a developing existence.”

Galantino indicated also that he did not feel common cause with pro-lifers who witness outside abortion businesses.

“I do not identify with the expressionless faces of those who recite the rosary outside the clinics who practice interruption of pregnancy  (‘l’interruzione della gravidanza’), but with those young people who are opposed to this practice and strive for the quality of life of the people, for their right to health, to work,” he said.

In response, John Smeaton of England’s Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child wrote an open letter to Galantino asking him to retract his statements and to meet with him.

“I really don’t think you would be saying, if national laws had allowed the killing of Catholic priests or Jews over the past few decades: ‘In the past, we have concentrated too much on the killing of Catholic priests or Jews … ’ Indeed, you would probably be saying, ‘We can never do enough to denounce this grotesque evil,’” Smeaton stated.

In 2017, Galantino was upbraided by Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who had recently been ousted as prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, for calling Martin Luther’s rebellion against the Catholic Church the work of the Holy Spirit.

During an address at Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University on the topic of “the spirituality of the Reformation in ecclesial practice,” Galantino reportedly said, “The Reformation was, is, and will be in the future, an event of the Spirit,” and “The Reformation carried out by Martin Luther 500 years ago was an event of the Holy Spirit,” according to various Italian media.

“The Reformation corresponds to the truth expressed in the saying ‘Ecclesia semper reformanda,’” Galantino is quoted as saying. “It was the same Luther who did not make himself the cause of the Reformation, writing: ‘while I was sleeping, God was reforming the Church.'”

In response, Cardinal Müller published an article in La Nuova Bussola saying it was “unacceptable to assert that Luther’s reform ‘was an event of the Holy Spirit.’”

"On the contrary, it was against the Holy Spirit,” the cardinal continued. “Because the Holy Spirit helps the Church to maintain her continuity through the Church’s magisterium, above all in the service of the Petrine ministry: on Peter has Jesus founded His Church (Mt 16:18), which is 'the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth' (1 Tim 3:15)."  

Müller added, “The Holy Spirit does not contradict Himself.”  

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Roger Severino
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‘We’re just getting started,’ civil rights chief at Trump HHS tells pro-lifers

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By Calvin Freiburger

OVERLAND PARK, Kansas, June 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The Trump administration will continue and expand its efforts to advance the pro-life cause, a top official at the Department of Health and Human Services told pro-lifers this week.

Roger Severino, director of HHS’ Office for Civil Rights, addressed the National Right to Life Committee’s (NRLC) annual convention in Kansas on Thursday, the Wichita Eagle reported. NRLC president Carol Tobias said it was the first time she could recall someone from HHS speaking at the event.

“Our president is fearless when it comes to life and conscience,” Severino told the crowd. “We’re just getting started.”

During his speech, he highlighted Trump’s first Supreme Court appointee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ religious liberty guidance to federal agencies, and the administration’s work to dismantle the Obama administration contraception mandate.

The Little Sisters of the Poor’s charitable work “was put at stake because government said, ‘Our way or you’re out of business,’” Severino declared. “We’re proud to say that is no longer the case.” Two of the Little Sisters were in attendance Thursday night.

He also relayed the story of a Catholic nurse who was forced to assist with an abortion against her will, saying it “happened in America and it should never happen again.” He promised that “this administration is dedicated to making sure it never happens again.”

Severino joined the administration last year to the delight of pro-family advocates and the scorn of LGBT activists. His previous conservative credentials included directing the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, and speaking and writing extensively against leftist “gender ideology” and the Obama administration’s promotion of transgenderism in the military.

In January, the HHS civil rights office announced the creation of a division dedicated exclusively to enforcing conscience protection and religious freedom for healthcare workers, particularly as they pertain to “coercion on issues such as abortion and assisted suicide.” Under Severino’s leadership, his agency has also launched investigations into California and Hawaii for forcing pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion.

The Wichita Eagle further noted that in the current administration HHS’s strategic plan declares that a “core component” of the department’s mission is the “dedication to serve all Americans from conception to natural death.”

“The leadership at HHS is very committed to protecting unborn children,” Tobias said. “Their willingness to send a representative to talk about conscience protection and to reassure pro-life people that they’re going to work to protect the babies, it was just a nice, very uplifting, very encouraging good message from the administration.”

Before Severino’s address, President Trump sent the convention a letter calling life the “most basic and fundamental human right” and promising to protect “the lives of every American, including the unborn.”

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R. Clarke Cooper Canon Press / Youtube screen grab
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Trump nominates LGBT activist and former Log Cabin Republicans head to top State Dept. post

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A homosexual activist instrumental in the campaign to end the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is Donald Trump’s latest pick for a senior position at the U.S. State Department.

The White House announced the president’s nomination of R. Clarke Cooper to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs on Thursday. It cited Cooper’s extensive foreign policy credentials, from his record as a combat veteran to his current service as Director of Intelligence Planning for Joint Special Operations Command’s Joint Inter-Agency Task Force, National Capital Region.

But the announcement left out a more controversial detail from Cooper’s resume: his two-year stint as president of Log Cabin Republicans (LCR), a pro-LGBT group dedicated to diluting and eventually eliminating the GOP’s traditional conservative stances on marriage, homosexuality, and transgender ideology.

The position for which Trump nominated Cooper is tasked with building security partnerships between the State and Defense departments for various security, strategic, and military purposes.

As such, some might dismiss his past activism as a factor, but the Washington Blade notes that Cooper has played an active role in the intersection of military and LGBT interests before. During his 2010-2012 leadership of LCR, the group participated in a lawsuit challenging the military’s former “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy against open homosexuality in the military, and lobbied Republican lawmakers to vote to repeal the policy.

A similar controversy is ongoing today, as Trump’s ban on transgender soldiers is currently working its way through the courts.

Cooper also formerly wrote a recurring column for the Washington Times, through which he attempted to argue that his pro-LGBT advocacy was consistent with conservatism. He also used the platform to launch personal attacks against conservative and Christian groups.

In one column, Cooper attacked the Boy Scouts of America for “los[ing its] moral compass” by excluding homosexual members in accordance with its Christian conception of being “morally straight” (a policy it has since abandoned). In another, he accused the National Organization for Marriage of allegedly “exploit[ing] racial divisions” because the group wrote an internal strategy memo about emphasizing minority communities’ opposition to same-sex “marriage.”

As president, Trump has overwhelmingly pleased pro-lifers for a steady list of actions against abortion and Planned Parenthood, but his record on LGBT issues is more mixed. Pro-family advocates have been heartened by his aforementioned transgender troop ban, support for religious liberty, rejection of “pride month,” and nominations of pro-family conservatives such as Mike Pompeo and Howard Nielson, Jr.

On the other hand, Trump has also nominated a variety of pro-homosexual officials to various government posts and continued a number of Obama-era pro-LGBT policies, such as an executive order adding “gender identity” to federal workforce nondiscrimination criteria, and U.S. support for international recognition of homosexual relations at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Trump has also publicly praised the Log Cabin Republicans, and declared the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergfell v. Hodges ruling forcing all fifty states to recognize same-sex “marriage” to be “settled law.”

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Justin Trudeau Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews.com
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Canadian business owners sue Trudeau government over pro-abortion pledge for summer job grants

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By Calvin Freiburger

OTTAWA, June 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A coalition of Canadian companies and a Christian student ministry are taking Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government to court over its requirement that they declare support for legal abortion and other political stances in order to participate in the country’s summer jobs program.

The Canada Summer Jobs Program offers money to groups that hire students for summer positions. In a break from previous years, it now requires participating organizations to sign an attestation that their “core mandate” agrees with a variety of left-wing positions, including a “right” to abortion -- regardless of whether the organization is involved in political advocacy against abortion.

The new group, called Free To Do Business Canada, is challenging the attestation as a violation of freedom of speech, the National Post reports.

“It forces them to publicly agree with government ideology in order to access a public program that should be equally available to all small businesses,” spokeswoman Tamara Jansen said during a press conference in Ottawa. “This is unfair and unjust.”

The group is framing their effort as bigger than the abortion debate, refusing to take a position on that or any other issue covered by the attestation and refusing to identify with any specific religious or political group.

“This is an initiative or policy decision of the government that compels organizations to say something they otherwise would not say,” attorney Albertos Polizogopoulos added.

The first business to join the effort is Sarnia Concrete Products Ltd., which has requested a judicial review. Jansen says that five businesses support the initiative so far, but it’s unknown whether they will file separate appeals.

“It was a corporate view that they do not want to take a position on a controversial political issue because they’re not in the business of controversial political issues,” Polizogopoulos explained. “They’re in the business of concrete.”

Also challenging the attestation is Power To Change, a registered charity focused on campus Christian ministries. The group’s case concerns the government’s rejection of its application for 44 summer jobs, because those applications included a letter stating, “Our belief is contrary to the current government’s view on women’s reproductive rights. Our honestly held belief is protected under the Charter.”

The attestation is “not just blocking funding to organizations involved in fighting abortion,” Power to Change argues, “but also funding of organizations that do not have this mandate,” which comprise “a far larger segment of the non-profit sector” that stands to be affected.

Toronto Right To Life Association filed a challenge as well back in January, “but the case has been slowed as additional allegations are filed by the anti-abortion group,” the National Post reports.

Contrary to Trudeau’s repeated insistence that the attestation merely enforces fidelity to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the charter does not reference abortion directly or indirectly. It does recognize “fundamental freedoms” of “conscience and religion,” however, as well as “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.”

Among the organizations to lose funds because they refused the new policy are a summer Bible camp in Alberta, a rural museum on the history of Port Hood, Nova Scotia, a small, family-owned agriculture irrigation business in Alberta, a Christian farm that provides free vacations to poor families, and the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto.

87 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders have signed an open letter condemning the attestation as a “religious or ideological test or conditions to receiving government benefits or protection” that is incompatible with the “promise of a free and democratic society.” Last week, Opposition House Leader Candice Bergen revealed that same program that rejects pro-life charities is currently funding an Islamist group that calls for the “eradication” of the “American empire” and “Israeli Zionists.”

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Iowa Supreme Court strikes down law requiring women to wait 72 hours before aborting

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By Calvin Freiburger

DES MOINES, Iowa, June 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – By a 5-2 vote Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled against a state law requiring women to wait 72 hours before having abortions.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the state chapter of the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought the suit, the Des Moines Register reports, claiming the 2017 law was both unconstitutional and medically unnecessary. Most of the justices agreed.

The law “violates both the due process and equal protection clauses of the Iowa Constitution because its restrictions on women are not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest of the state," Chief Justice Mark Cady claimed. "The state has a legitimate interest in informing women about abortion, but the means used under the statute enacted does not meaningfully serve that objective."

The decision reverses a lower court ruling from October upholding the law, which former Republican Gov. Terry Branstad signed last May. “The public’s interest in potential life is an interest that cannot be denied under the law,” District Court Judge Jeffrey Farrell wrote at the time.

“The law makes it so that a doctor can’t perform an abortion unless the mother has an opportunity to see her child through an ultrasound and hear the child’s beating heart, giving her time to think about whether or not she wants to stop that beating heart,” a spokeswoman for the current governor, pro-life Republican Kim Reynolds, said last fall.

The United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of shorter 24-hour waiting periods in 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey, ruling that they “rationally furthe[r] the State's legitimate interest in maternal health and in unborn life.”

The abortion lobby’s latest judicial victory comes as Iowa courts are also preparing to hear arguments over the constitutionality of the state’s recently-enacted ban on abortions once a heartbeat is detected, a case that has taken on added significance in light of Wednesday’s revelation that a new, Trump-appointed justice will likely hear the case if it reaches the Supreme Court.

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National Pro-Life Bridges Day in Fresno, CA. Bernadette Tasy
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U.S. motorist see truth about abortion on first annual ‘pro-life bridges day’

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By Lisa Bourne
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National Pro-Life Bridges Day in Chicago, IL. Chris Iverson

CHICAGO, Illinois, June 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The first National Pro-Life Bridges Day message that “Abortion takes a human life” reached an estimated more than 1,000,000 last Friday as teams of pro-lifers stationed themselves on highway overpasses across the U.S. holding banners. 

The event sponsored by the Pro-Life Action League took place in more than 50 cities across the United States.

“It was the first national event of its kind,” Pro-Life Action League Executive Director Eric Scheidler told LifeSiteNews. 

Pro-life banners were displayed in all types of weather, nationwide, said Scheidler, including heavy rain in several Midwestern cities and extreme heat in the South, with temperatures topping out at 103 degrees in Waco, Texas.

Response from the public was quite positive, he added.

"In all my years of doing witnessing, I’ve never heard as many car horns and seen as many thumbs up or waving to us as we did today!" the team leader in Akron, Ohio reported.

In Hamilton, New Jersey, several drivers stopped at a nearby scenic overlook to take pictures of the signs held on a pedestrian overpass.

The team in Santa Cruz, California, was so inspired by this project, Scheidler told LifeSiteNews, they plan to head back out on their highway overpass this coming Friday, June 29.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma a driver even stopped to pass out bottles of water to the pro-life sign-holders, telling them, "Keep up the good work!"

The local NBC News affiliate in South Bend, Indiana featured the local Pro-Life Bridges Day effort in a news story.

The goal National Pro-Life Bridges Day was to get people thinking and talking about abortion, said Scheidler, something most people would rather avoid.

He noted that polls show that most Americans agree with the statement that abortion takes a human life, and the event was an invitation for people to face the moral and social implications of this reality.

Local team leaders for National Pro-Life Bridges Day were provided a legal memo from the Thomas More Society explaining the legality of the project.

Scheidler and his staff are planning to expand National Pro-Life Bridges Day in the future with additional cities and other pro-life messages on the banners.

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Rivier University | Rivier magazine screen shot of lesbian 'married' couple
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US Catholic university features lesbian ‘married’ couple in flagship magazine

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By Lisa Bourne

NASHUA, New Hampshire, June 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A New Hampshire Catholic university featured a photo an alumna kissing her same-sex “married” partner in its Spring 2018 magazine.

Rivier University administration confirmed to a concerned alumna of the University that the photo in the Weddings section of the spring 2018 issue of Rivier Today was from a “wedding” celebration of a Rivier alumna and another woman. 

The photo shows the two women kissing and holding hands, one woman dressed in a male-style suit and shoes, and the other in a wedding dress. The caption contains their names and indicates the alumna’s graduation year, along with the date of the two women’s same-sex “wedding.” The photo is laid out on the publication page with three weddings of other alumni.

The picture is available in the publication’s online edition.

The concerned alumna contacted LifeSiteNews, disturbed by both the photo and the response she got from the University. 

“I’m so troubled by this,” Jeanne Doe told LifeSiteNews. Doe, a pseudonym, requested anonymity, but felt she had no choice but to speak up. “This is scandalous, this is against the teachings of the Catholic Church.” 

“I thought, “This is terrible if this is what my eyes are seeing,” she said. “I cannot not say anything.”

“For a Catholic university to do this, this cannot go unspoken,” said Doe.

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts, as well as a person’s homosexual orientation, can never be accepted as part of God’s plan for human sexuality. 

In a 1986 letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the pastoral care of homosexual persons, the Church taught that the homosexual “inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. … [S]pecial concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not.”

The Catechism teaches that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” and “intrinsically disordered” since they are “contrary to the natural law” in that they “close the sexual act to the gift of life.” 

“They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved,” it adds. 

Rivier University is located in Nashua, New Hampshire, and was founded by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary in 1933.

The University says in its online welcome information that “Christian and Catholic values” are “at the heart of the Rivier experience.”

Its mission material identifies Rivier University is “a Catholic institution of higher education,” and says that “one of the University’s greatest strengths is its Roman Catholic heritage,” and that “the University a place where Judeo-Christian and Catholic values inform what we teach and what we talk about as a community.”

The University provided LifeSiteNews with the following statement in response to an inquiry into specifics of how featuring an image from a same-sex “wedding” in its University publication reconciles with its Catholic mission:

Rivier University consistently and accurately states its mission as a Catholic University embracing the intellectual, social and spiritual teachings of the Church. At the same time, Rivier is a diverse community composed of individuals of many different faith traditions and beliefs. The University does not filter wedding photos submitted for publication.

The University is a private institution located within the Diocese of Manchester, NH, and listed among the Catholic educational institutions on the diocesan website.

The Communications Director for the diocese told LifeSiteNews that Manchester Bishop Peter Libasci was gone from the office presiding over an event and would be unable to respond by press time.

Speaking later with Karen Cooper, University vice president of University Advancement, Doe said the Catholic Church does not condone this, and it was scandalous because it gives the impression that the Catholic is condoning “marriages” between same-sex couples.

Doe was told it was a celebration, and thanked repeatedly for sharing her “perspective.”

“I told them that this was not my perspective, that this was the laws of God and this was the laws of Jesus,” Doe told LifeSiteNews. “And they kept referring to my opinion as a perspective, and I told them it’s not a perspective - this is the teachings of the Church, the Catholic Church.”

Doe called again to speak with University President Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, to make certain she was aware of the same-sex “wedding” photo.

Doe said that Sister Buley informed her that she was aware of the photo and that they don’t make judgments.

To respectfully express concern:

Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM
Office of the President
Rivier University
420 South Main St.
Nashua, NH 03060
Ph: 603-897-8202
Email: [email protected]

Bishop Peter Anthony Libasci
Diocese of Manchester
153 Ash Street
Manchester, NH 03104
Ph: (603) 669-3100
Online contact form here

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Judge Richard Young. Indianapolis Star / Video screen grab
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Pro-gay federal judge blocks Indiana law requiring abortion centers to report complications

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By Calvin Freiburger

INDIANAPOLIS, June 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In a blow to transparency in women's health, Indiana will now have to wait for the results of a lawsuit before it can require abortionists to report information on medical complications, a Clinton-appointed pro-homosexual federal judge ruled Thursday.

US District Judge Richard Young issued a temporary injunction against Senate Enrolled Act 340 originally slated to take effect in July, NBC affiliate WTHR reports. The law, enacted earlier this year, requires that the state health department receive information on instances of 26 different abortion complications, such as infections, blood clots, and uterine and cervical complications.

The state chapter of the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), along with Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK), brought the suit against Act 340 on the grounds that it was too vague to enforce. Young agreed.

“If PPINK and its physicians interpret the statute incorrectly and report less than everything, they risk civil and criminal sanctions,” the judge wrote. “This violates PPINK’s due process rights. The violation of constitutional rights constitutes irreparable harm.”

“We’re not surprised a judge appointed by President Clinton would side with Indiana’s largest abortion chain,” Indiana Right to Life (IRTL) president and CEO Mike Fichter responded. Bill Clinton appointed Young to the bench in 1998.

“Planned Parenthood profits off ending the lives of thousands of unborn Hoosiers every year,” Fichter continued. “We urge Attorney General Curtis Hill to appeal Judge Young’s decision, so that women’s health is protected and upheld in Indiana.”

Insufficient reporting of abortion-related problems is a significant issue in Indiana and across the nation. When the bill was first proposed in January, IRTL vice president for public policy Sue Swayze noted that medication abortions had risen to account for 26% of all abortions in the state.

“The only way that truly informed consent is possible if we know accurate complication rates of the procedures and medications that we’re recommending,” Dr. Christina Francis of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists (AAPLOG) testified.

Earlier this month, Indiana pro-lifers also demanded an investigation into whether state abortionists are reporting cases of statutory or forcible rape, citing 48 cases in which abortionists allegedly failed to do so.

Judge Young, an unapologetic progressive, ruled in June 2014 that Indiana's ban on same-sex "marriage" was unconstitutional.

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UK Court of Appeal upholds ban on doctors killing patients, cites ‘sanctity of life’

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By

LONDON, June 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Court of Appeal has rejected an attempt to change the law on assisted suicide through the courts. 

In a case brought by terminally-ill motor-neurone-disease sufferer Noel Conway, it was argued by his legal team that the current blanket ban on assisted suicide under the Suicide Act 1961 is incompatible with his human rights as set out in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In a judgement issued on 26 June 2018, the Court of Appeal has upheld earlier judgements in the case and ruled that the ban on assisted suicide achieves a fair balance between the interests of the wider community and the interests of people such as Mr Conway. 

It went on to make clear that the objectives of this ban are not limited to the protection of the weak and vulnerable, but also include respect for the sanctity of life and the promotion of trust between patient and doctor in the care relationship.

“The moral and ethical issues that arise when the principle of sanctity of life rubs up against the principle of personal autonomy are not only to be found in the issue of the ban against assisted suicide and euthanasia. They are also reflected in the drawing of the line between when consent is and is not a defence to wounding or the infliction of actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm [...] Here, again, our law has imposed a limit on personal autonomy to reflect wider moral, ethical and practical issues which include, but are not limited to, the protection of the weak and vulnerable,” the ruling stated. 

Only last year, at a lower court, in an earlier judgement in the same case, judges had dismissed the case, saying:

'It is legitimate in this area for the legislature to seek to lay down clear and defensible standards in order to provide guidance for society, to avoid distressing and difficult disputes at the end of life and to avoid creating a slippery slope leading to incremental expansion over time of the categories of people to whom similar assistance for suicide might have to [be] provided... we find that section 2 (right to life) is compatible with the Article 8 rights (private and family life) of Mr Conway. We dismiss his application for a declaration of incompatibility.'

Since 2003, the British Parliament has seen ten attempts to change the law on assisted suicide. All have failed. The most recent in 2015 was defeated by a majority of MPs by 330 to 118 votes.

At that time Members of Parliament, supported by medical and disability rights groups, expressed concerns about public safety, as well as pointing to the failure of safeguards in the few jurisdictions that have assisted suicide or euthanasia. MPs were also concerned about the discriminatory message Parliament would send by removing universal protections from the sick, elderly and dying.

Increasingly in recent years, groups calling for changes to the current law on assisted suicide have turned to the courts as a way of changing existing laws. In this latest judgement the Court of Appeal stated: ‘The Court is of the view that Parliament is a far better body for determining [this] difficult policy issue in relation to assisted suicide.’ 

Care Not Killing, a UK-based alliance against assisted suicide while promoting better palliative care, welcomed the Court of Appeal's decision to uphold the earlier decision of the lower court and, by so doing, rejected this latest attempt to legalise assisted suicide.

Dr Peter Saunders, Campaign Director of Care Not Killing commented:

'This sensible decision by the Court of Appeal yet again recognises that the safest law is the one we already have - a complete ban on assisted suicide and euthanasia. Our laws deter the exploitation, abuse and coercion of vulnerable people, who as we have seen in the US States of Oregon and Washington often cite feeling they have become a financial, or care burden as the reason for ending their lives’.

Saunders went on to add: 'While there are those who argue that feeling that you are a burden on others is reason enough to seek help to kill yourself, it is this sort of chilling and regressive view that led Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson to warn that vulnerable and disabled people risked being collateral damage, if the law were to be changed. This view is echoed by the British Medical Association, the Association of Palliative Medicine, the Royal Colleges and Care Not Killing’.

Saunders urged those who had taken the case to court to ‘move on’ saying: 'We hope that those who have been campaigning to remove these important and universal protections from the disabled and infirm accept this ruling. It is now time for them to move on and turn their attention instead to how we can secure equality of access to the very best health care for all. This must include palliative care and mental health support, because we know when the physical, psychological and spiritual needs of patients are met, there is no pressure for change.'

The man at the centre of this court case, Noel Conway, is a member of Humanists UK, a group campaigning for a more secular state, and is being supported by pro-assisted suicide group Dignity in Dying. On hearing this latest court judgement, Mr Conway announced his intention to appeal it. 

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Alberta judge blocks parents’ bid for right to know if kids join pro-LGBT club

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

MEDICINE HAT, Alberta, June 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An Alberta judge dismissed an attempt by parents and schools to block Bill 24, a measure which makes it illegal for schools to inform parents that their children have joined LGBT clubs at school. 

Justice Johanna Kubik of the Alberta Court of the Queen’s Bench denied the application in Medicine Hat yesterday, saying that “the public interest in promoting basic equality for staff and students of institutions supported by public funding would not be served by staying the provisions [of the Bill].” 

The hearing of the injunction application had been on June 20, and the intervenor in the case was the Calgary Sexual Health Centre. The schools and parents are considering an appeal. 

Bill 24, or “An Act to Support Gay-Straight Alliances,” was passed in the Alberta legislature last November. As well as banning schools from notifying parents when their child joins a GSA unless the child gives consent, Bill 24 requires that independent religious schools, including Catholic schools, allow GSAs if a student asks for one. 

The application against the Bill was filed by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) on behalf of a coalition of parents, independent, and religious schools. The JCCF argued that the provisions added to the Alberta School Act were unconstitutional. 

The coalition included 26 faith-based schools, among them Jewish, Christian, and Sikh institutions. In a press release, the JCCF said that Bill 24 attacked these schools, interfering with their ability to form welcoming environments faithful to their religious character and to be “open and transparent” with parents. 

Ten individual parents were also in the coalition, asserting that keeping parents “in the dark” threatens the safety of some of Alberta’s most vulnerable and “at-risk” children. Two of the parents presented testimony that they had children in GSAs who had become convinced that they were “transgender” and had been encouraged by their club to act out their opposite gender role at school, which led to “psychological distress” and suicide attempts. Judge Kubik dismissed these accounts as “largely hearsay in nature.” 

Kubik also rejected Dr. Miriam Grossman’s testimony that GSAs do harm partially on the basis that the psychiatrist believes concepts of gender identity promoted by GSAs are a form of radical activism. 

“This characterization fails to recognize the legal reality in Alberta and Canada: concepts of gender identity and the right to freely express the same are not radical ideologies, promoted by activists,” she wrote. “They are individual rights, recognized and protected by law.” 

But the applicants were adamant that Bill 24 endangers kids.

“Bill 24 legislates times and places within which it is illegal to inform parents about what their children are doing, and who has access to their children, and what materials their children are exposed to,” stated the JCCF. “The Applicants claim that Bill 24 endangers kids and undermines parents’ ability to support and protect their own children.”

The JCCR argued in court that provisions of Bill 24 should be struck down because they violated rights of parents and schools protected by Section 2 (a), 2 (b), 2 (d), and 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”) and the Alberta Bill of Rights.

Also of note in the application were the parents’ concerns that GSAs are harmful and expose children to “inappropriate, explicit sexual information, as well as information about gender and sexuality, which is either harmful in its own right, ideological in nature, or contrary to the parents’ or schools’ beliefs in such matters.” The applicants also argued that the requirement for the immediate formation of the sexuality-themed clubs was a violation of their freedom of religion, of conscience, and of association “based on common moral values and beliefs”.

Among those arguing in favour of Bill 24 were Pamela Krause and Hilary Mutch of the Calgary Sexual Health Centre and Dr. Kevin Alderson, a Calgary psychologist. 

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Trump vows to protect ‘lives of every American, including the unborn’

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By Calvin Freiburger
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OVERLAND PARK, Kansas, June 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump vowed to protect the “lives of every American including the unborn” in a new letter (full text below) to pro-life activists this week, and he urged every American to do the same.

Thursday marked the beginning of the National Right to Life Committee’s (NRLC) annual convention in Kansas, the Kansas City Star reports, where “there was a feeling of happiness among those filling the convention center” because of Wednesday’s revelation that the president will be nominating a new justice to the Supreme Court.

“We all have a duty to defend the most basic and fundamental human right — the right to life,” Trump wrote in a letter recognizing the event. “As President I am dedicated to protecting the lives of every American including the unborn.”

Trump went on to summarize his pro-life record so far. “One of the first actions I took as President was to reinstate the Mexico City policy to ensure the taxpayer dollars are not used to fund organizations that perform abortions in foreign countries,” he wrote. “I also signed into law legislation that allows states to prioritize how they spend their family planning grant money, giving States the choice to withhold taxpayer funding from organizations that perform abortions."

“Further, last month my Administration proposed updates to the regulations governing the Title X Family Planning program in order to improve Women’s Health and ensure that federal funds are not used to fund the abortion industry in violation of law,” the president added.

Trump concluded the letter by crediting NRLC with “provid[ing] a voice to the voiceless” through its work. “I am truly grateful for your efforts and I remain committed to continue working with you as we cultivate a world that values and regards every human life,” he said.

Trump’s pro-life actions in office have pleasantly surprised many pro-lifers, with the impending replacement of pro-abortion Justice Anthony Kennedy taking center stage among convention goers.

“I feel wonderful that he is going to get a chance to appoint someone new,” said 78-year-old attendee Judy Budde of Kansas City.

"And we hope we can get all this stuff reversed."

***

THE WHITE HOUSE

WASHINGTON
June 28, 2018

Melania and I are pleased to send our greetings to all those attending the 2018 Annual National Right to Life Convention in Overland Park, Kansas.

We all have a duty to defend the most basic and fundamental human right—the right to life. As President, I am dedicated to protecting the lives of every American, including the unborn.

Since my first day in office, I have taken concrete actions to defend the right to life. One of the first actions I took as President was to reinstate the Mexico City policy to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund organizations that perform abortions in foreign countries. I also signed into law legislation that allows States to prioritize how they spend their family planning grant money, giving States the choice to withhold taxpayer funding from organizations that perform abortions. Further,lastmonth, my Administration announced proposed updates to the regulations governing the Title X family planning program in order to improve women’s health and ensure that Federal funds are not used to fund the abortion industry in violation of the law.

The National Right to Life Committee’s work is critical to protecting our Nation’s most vulnerable. Since 1968, you have provided a voice to the voiceless. Each day, you help spread compassion and promote the dignity of every human person. I am truly grateful for your efforts, and I remain committed to continue working with you as we cultivate a world that values and respects every human life.

Donald Trump

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Campaign Life Coalition

Opinion, ,

Breaking down Doug Ford’s Cabinet picks

Campaign Life Coalition
By Campaign Life Coalition

June 29, 2018 (Campaign Life Coalition) – On June 29th, Doug Ford announced his new Cabinet.  For the positions that most directly affect the issues of life and family – Education, Health, and Children/Youth – the picks were disappointing, to say the least.  

EDUCATION

We're very pleased that neither Carolyn Mulroney nor Christine Elliott got the nod for Minister of Education.  Mulroney supported Wynne's radical sex ed curriculum during the leadership race, and could've been a disaster for the parental rights movement. Elliott defended the curriculum during the 2015 leadership race.

Lisa Thompson, the newly-appointed Education Minister, has never publicly supported the Wynne/Levin sex curriculum.  That's a good thing.  She also voted against Bill 13, the anti-parental rights legislation that was a precursor to the curriculum. That's another good thing. 

However, on the negative side, Thompson has a pro-abortion rating from CLC, and voted in favour of Bill 89. That Liberal legislation empowers the state to seize your children if you disagree with transgender ideology and refuse to encourage your child's delusion that he or she was "born in the wrong body".

We had hoped that Monte McNaughton, the one-time crusader for parental rights would get the Education file.  It would have been a good fit given Monte's advocacy on the issue, and Ford's pledge to voters. However, now that we know it will be Thompson, we must hope and pray that she will respect the fact that her job is to carry out the overwhelming mandate that voters gave to Premier Ford, which included as a key element, repealing & replacing the Liberal sex curriculum.

Parents must now put tremendous pressure on Thompson – respectfully yet consistently – to ensure she implements Ford's pledge to parents, and that she does nothing to undermine his campaign promise on this critical issue.   And to help ensure that, CLC will present her with a copy of the petition to Doug Ford which currently has over 15,000 signatures from Ontarians demanding Premier Ford repeal the curriculum by the start of the new school year in September.

HEALTH

The Health Minister appointment of Christine Elliott is very disappointing.  As a publicly pro-abortion politician, she may not be favourable to the idea of parental notification for minor children seeking abortion, even though it's a common sense idea that Ford himself endorsed, and which the overwhelming majority of Ontarians would support.

During her political career as an MPP, Elliott was also an activist for transgender and LGBT ideology.  We were hoping that the incoming Health Minister would quickly delist elective, so-called "sex change" surgeries from OHIP, which the Wynne Liberals only recently began funding to the tune of up to $60,000 per pop, and instead, funnel those scarce tax dollars towards hiring more doctors and nurses, or buying life-saving MRI machines for rural communities that don't have one, and where patients as a result, may be dying needlessly.  

Will Elliott put respect for the taxpayer before her own personal ideology? With a health care system that is in the midst of financial collapse due to insufficient cash flow, a choice between medically unnecessary operations where perfectly healthy body parts are chopped off, and fixing the doctors shortage which may be costing Ontario lives, should be an easy one.

CHILDREN & YOUTH

The other sensitive portfolio we were keeping an eye out for was Ford's appointment of Minister for Children.  Again, it is disappointing to see MPP Lisa MacLeod getting the Ministerial nod for that file.  This is the Minister to whom we need to appeal to repeal the elements of Kathleen Wynne's Bill 89 which empowered Children's Aid agencies ban Christian and other faith-based couples from adopting children, and the additional power to seize biological children from parents who disagree with LGBT and transgender ideologies.

Tragically, MacLeod voted for 2nd reading of Bill 89, although when the PC Caucus revolted against Patrick Brown on the final vote, she went along with her fellow PC MPPs and voted against it on third reading.  Macleod is a gay pride marcher and has shown tremendous animus towards social conservatives in the past, and pro-life people in particular.  

It wil be important for constituents of Minister MacLeod's, in her riding, and Ontarians in general, to respectfully and articulately educate and lobby her on why it's important to repeal Bill 89.

CONTINUE TO BE HOPEFUL AND ENGAGED

Notwithstanding the disappointing picks in these three important files, it is important to not become pessimistic nor disengaged, and to remember that Cabinet Ministers must still follow Doug Ford's agenda which included some very good commitments and changes in tone, affecting life and family issues, such as:

- free votes on any issue except the budget
- no interference with private members bills or motions
- conscience rights legislation for healthcare workers
- support for the idea of parental consent with children seeking abortion
- general opposition to the idea of banning free speech on taxpayer-owned public sidewalks
- and of course, repealing Kathleen Wynne's radical sex curriculum

 Published with permission from the Campaign Life Coalition.

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Christopher Kaczor

Opinion,

Jordan Peterson tackles Cain and Abel

Christopher Kaczor
By Christopher Kaczor

June 29, 2018 (The Public Discourse) – In his "Biblical Series V: The Hostile Brothers" and in his international best seller 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Jordan Peterson provides a rich interpretation of the story of Cain and Abel. The archetypal brothers both suffer, but their radically different responses to their suffering represent perennial human options.

After becoming self-conscious and leaving the Garden of Eden, "Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, 'I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord'" (Genesis 4:1). Cain is not just the first-born son, Peterson notes, but the first-born human being.

"And again, she bore his brother Abel" (Gen 4:2). In his book The Beginning of Wisdom, Leon Kass points out that Genesis records no joyous remarks, no gratitude to God, and no maternal pride accompanying Abel's birth. Like most parents, Eve favors her first-born.

Adam does too. "Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground" (Genesis 4:2). Adam cultivates the garden and invites Cain to join him in the established family business. In ancient cultures, Peterson notes, the first-born son inherited the land tilled by his father, while the other sons had to fend for themselves. This practice had a strong rationale behind it: dividing the land equally among many sons would lead to increasingly small parcels of cultivated land available for farming over the generations, thereby increasing the likelihood of starvation for everyone.

So, with no mentor to guide him, Abel has to make his way as a shepherd. The sheep like to wander where they will, and this draws him into potential conflict with Cain. Peterson points out, "The herdsmen like to have their herds, sheep, cattle, go wherever they were going to go. The agriculturalists – the farmers – have things fenced off." The land provides Abel with less social support, more risk of violent death from wild animals, and greater exposure to the elements. So not just their rival social status in the family but also their occupations set Cain against Abel, with Abel getting the lesser part.

How could Abel not notice Eve's favoritism, Adam's mentorship of his brother, and Cain's social status as first-born? Abel is cast outside the home, relegated to keeping company with sheep. If a lion attacks him, who will hear his cry?

Yet Abel's suffering drives him to self-development rather than despair, Peterson suggests. "He is ignorant and humble, and because of this, he can learn."

Peterson's interpretation remains relatively silent about exactly what Abel learns and why he flourishes. Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath provides a possible answer. Armed with a sling and rocks, a good shepherd is a "slinger" who defends his sheep from lions and bears (1 Sam 17:36). "Imagine standing in front of a Major League Baseball pitcher as he aims a baseball at your head," writes Gladwell. "That's what facing a slinger was like – only what was being thrown was not a ball of cork and leather, but a solid rock." Abel learned to defend the sheep and defend himself. If you've killed lions and bears, your older brother is not so intimidating. Rather than playing the victim, Abel becomes a warrior.

In his safe space tilling the land near home, Cain does not develop self-reliance or skill in violent means of protection. "Abel is, by all appearances, dancing his way through life," writes Peterson. "Worse of all, he's genuinely a good person. Everyone knows it. He deserves his good fortune. All the more reason to envy and hate him." Cain's envy intensifies.

"In the course of time, Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions" (Genesis 4:4). Some modern readers might dismiss the idea of sacrifice as a superstitious practice of primitive savages, but Peterson offers a radically different interpretation. Our own suffering is undeniable, so what can we do about it? "If you want to make things better in the future," writes Peterson, "then you make sacrifices in the present." Human beings project their existence into the future, and so can work now to make their futures better. "It's our knowledge of the possibility of tragedy and suffering in the future that motivates us to sacrifice in the present, so that we can reduce the unnecessary anxiety, uncertainty, and pain that awaits us." Far from exhibiting primitive superstition, "the sacrifices that people were making to God were the dramatic precursors to the psychological idea of sacrifice that we all hold as civilized people in the modern world."

To sacrifice is human, and to sacrifice for the sake of the greater good is to act with human wisdom. "Modern people have by no means stopped making sacrifices to God, regardless of what they think," writes Peterson. "Our very belief that hard work and discipline will bring success is a precise but abstracted and refined restatement of the idea that God will shower his grace on the individual who makes the right offering."

"And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard" (Genesis 4:5). Like Augustine in the City of God, Peterson notes that it is unspecified why God prefers Abel's sacrifice. This nondisclosure in the story universalizes the message. We often do not know the reason why our sacrifices fail. We can set ort minds to achieve some end, strive mightily in employing all available means at great cost, and come out with nothing but ashes.

"So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell" (Genesis 4:5). Peterson comments, "He becomes jealous and bitter – and it's no wonder. If someone fails and is rejected because he refused to make any sacrifices at all – well, that's at least understandable. He may still feel resentful and vengeful, but he knows in his heart that he is personally to blame. That knowledge generally places a limit on his outrage. It's much worse, however, if he had actually forgone the pleasures of the moment – if he had strived and toiled and things still didn't work out – if he was rejected despite his efforts. Then his work – his sacrifice – has been pointless. Under such conditions, the world darkens, and the soul rebels." How does God respond to Cain's distress?

"The Lord said to Cain, 'Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted?'" (Genesis 4:6). God suggests that if Cain acts properly, Cain will be successful. The world is not against him. Indeed, the Creator of the world is trying to help him. He can do something about his predicament. He is not a helpless victim. God reminds Cain of his freedom. He can make the choice to make himself and the world better.

God tells Cain, "And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it" (Genesis 4:6). Peterson's interpretation of this passage is reminiscent of St. John Paul II's in Evangelium Vitae:

God, although preferring Abel's gift, does not interrupt his dialogue with Cain. He admonishes him, reminding him of his freedom in the face of evil: man is in no way predestined to evil. Certainly, like Adam, he is tempted by the malevolent force of sin which, like a wild beast, lies in wait at the door of his heart, ready to leap on its prey. But Cain remains free in the face of sin.

Even now, Cain can shut the door on the predator. He can learn to be a slinger. He can take control of his life, make the proper sacrifices, and restore order. "Cain is obviously not very happy about this whole answer," notes Peterson. He continues:

The last thing you want to hear if your life has turned into a catastrophe and you take God to task for creating a universe where that sort of thing was allowed, is that it's your own damn fault, and that you should straighten up and fly right, so to speak, and that you shouldn't be complaining about the nature of being. But that is the answer he gets.

Cain's anger turns into rage against the injustice of the universe, rage against God. Cain would destroy the universe if he could. He would destroy God if he could. He will destroy Abel because he can.

"Cain said to Abel his brother, 'Let us go out to the field'" (Genesis 4:8). Cain gets Abel alone, isolated from everyone else in the family. Cain knew that Abel, skilled in the use of violence against predators, could kill him. Cain risks his own destruction to commit premeditated murder.

"And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him" (Genesis 4:8). Rather than imitate his brother, Cain eliminates his brother. In Peterson's words, Cain commits "fratricidal murder, murder not only of someone innocent but of someone ideal and good, and murder done consciously to spite the creator of the universe." Peterson points out that such malevolence against the innocent, the young, and the good is re-enacted in various school shootings.

"Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" The question, of course, is not about Abel's physical location, but is an invitation to self-awareness and confession of wrongdoing.

Cain replies to God, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?" Rather than a humble confession of guilt, Cain lies and implies that God is out of line in asking the question. Rounding out the sins noted by Peterson, St. Basil of Caesareasummarizes the ways Cain missed the mark:

the first sin is envy at the preference of Abel; the second is guile, whereby he said to his brother, Let us go into the field: the third is murder, a further wickedness: the fourth, fratricide, a still greater iniquity: the fifth that he committed the first murder, and set a bad example to mankind: the sixth wrong in that he grieved his parents: the seventh, his lie to God.

The capital vice of envy gives rise to its offspring.

And the Lord said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength; you shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth."

After destroying his ideal, Cain wanders the earth as a homeless fugitive, alienated from his parents, his work, and his homeland.

Filled with self-pity, the murderer casts himself as the victim, "Cain said to the Lord, 'My punishment is greater than I can bear.'" Like Raskolnikov in Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, Cain exemplifies the hellish state of a murderer and the principle of Augustine, "the punishment for sin is sin."

"The Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden" (Genesis 4:14-16). God intervenes to circumvent what could have been the beginning of a cycle of violence. Brother kills brother. Friends of Abel kill Cain. Friends of Cain kill friends of Abel, and so on.

Cain and Abel represent rival responses to the human condition. Self-consciousness gives rise to social comparison. Social comparison gives rise to suffering. Suffering can drive self-improvement or give rise to envy and its sins. Peterson writes,

One brother, Abel, provides an early model for the redemptive savior, as a genuine and voluntary incarnation of Logos. The other, Cain, refuses his responsibility, justifies that refusal with his existential pain and fear, and turns savage, destructive, corrupt and murderous. Thus, two pathways of morality are laid out as primary modes of ethical being, in a world composed of the interplay between chaos and order.

In Peterson's view, "The story of Cain and Abel is one manifestation of the archetypal tale of hostile brothers, hero and adversary: the two elements of the individual human psyche, one aimed up, at the Good, and the other, down, at Hell itself." Peterson echoes Augustine, who saw Abel as a citizen of the heavenly City of God, and Cain as a citizen of the hellish City of Man.

To cast oneself as an innocent victim like Abel is easy. But Peterson holds that anyone can be Cain. The lessons of Germany's Reserve Police Battalion 101, Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago, and Milgram's obedience experiment suggest that Peterson is right.

Published with permission from The Public Discourse.

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Cardinal Theodore McCarrick Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews
Phil Lawler

Opinion, ,

Time to call out the root of the Church’s sex abuse scandal

Phil Lawler
By Phil Lawler

June 29, 2018 (CatholicCulture.org) – Two new episodes in the festering sex-abuse scandal have called attention to a facet of the problem that has long been understood (at least by some analysts), but routinely neglected if not actively suppressed: the connection between sexual abuse of young people and a widespread homosexual culture among the clergy.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been removed from ministry because of one credible report of misconduct involving a teenage boy. But the Newark archdiocese confirmed that in the past, two other complaints against the cardinal had been resolved by out-of-court settlements. And the news of his suspension brought out dozens of reports about his inappropriate behavior with seminarians: young men who were presumably legal adults.

From Rome came the report that a former Vatican diplomat, recently stationed in Washington, DC, had been found guilty on charges of child pornography. The "children" in this case were teenagers.

Which priests sharing pornography? What disciplinary action, if any, has been taken regarding the priests involved in the infamous "St. Sebastian's Angels" network? Who were the prelates who protected Cardinal McCarrick? Isn't it time – in fact, isn't it long past time – to acknowledge the corrosive power of the homosexual network in the Church?

These are not new questions. They are questions that I raised ten years ago, in my book The Faithful Departed. (I don't mean to imply that I was alone in raising them; there were certainly others.) As a reminder – and for the benefit of those who may have missed this argument the first time around – here are a few excerpts from Chapter 17 of that book, entitled "The Wrong Explanations."

The crisis that has stricken the Catholic Church in America is often described as a pedophilia scandal. That characterization is not accurate.

Pedophilia – a profound psychological disorder involving the sexual desire for young, pre-pubescent children – is fortunately rare. A few of the most notorious American clerics involved in the scandal, such as James Porter and John Geoghan, might be accurately classified as pedophiles. Because they molested scores of children, and because their cases came to prominence in the early days of the crisis, these deeply disturbed men were taken as emblematic of the larger problem in the American priesthood. But they were not typical.

Among the thousands of complaints lodged against American priests during the early years of the twenty-first century, the vast majority involved sexual relations with teenage boys. In some cases, to some extent, the boys may have appeared to be willing partners in the sexual activity. Since the teenagers had not reached the age of consent, and since the priests were exploiting their positions of authority and trust, the relationships were certainly abusive. But they cannot be classified as instances of pedophilia.

In a thorough study of sex-abuse complaints that was commissioned by the USCCB, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice issued a sweeping report in 2004 that covered more than 5,000 incidents. Of these, 81 percent involved priests with young male victims. Of those male victims, 90 percent were teenage boys.

Faced with that statistic, some analysts began to say that what had been seen as a crisis of pedophilia was really a matter of ephebophilia. (The term "ephebophilia" – which does not appear in standard diagnostic manuals for psychologists – refers to sexual attraction toward adolescents.)

Some commentators took comfort in using this new term. Other less pretentious observers concluded that the statistics proved what many Catholics had long suspected: the sex-abuse crisis was a crisis of homosexuality in the priesthood.

For several years Catholic scholars had been debating whether or not homosexuals should be ordained to the priesthood. A 1961 Vatican document addressed to the superiors of religious orders had said that men with a known homosexual inclination should not be admitted to seminary training. (That policy, which had fallen into desuetude, was reaffirmed by the Vatican and applied to all candidates for the priesthood in a new teaching document of 2005.) But many liberal Catholics argued that a homosexual who maintained a celibate lifestyle could be a fine priest. "Unless proven otherwise, there is no reason to believe that homosexual priests are any less likely to keep their promises of celibacy than heterosexual ones," wrote Father James Martin, a Jesuit journalist, in a November 2000 article in America magazine. That argument was central to the case in favor of ordaining men with homosexual impulses.

Even if homosexual priests are no more likely than heterosexuals to violate their vows, however, it stands to reason that if and when they do engage in sexual activity, their partners are more likely to be male. Thus the sex-abuse scandal had serious implications for the debate on homosexuality. Yet the National Review Board, in its first major report on the crisis, did not shrink from the obvious conclusion. "That 815 of the reported victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy were boys shows that the crisis was characterized by homosexual behavior." ...

Vatican officials had been alert to the question of homosexuality from the earliest days of the scandal. When Pope John Paul II summoned the leaders of the American hierarchy to Rome in April 2002, one of the key points on the agenda for discussion was the influence of a homosexual culture in the American seminaries. The joint statement released by the participating bishops at the end of that Vatican meeting also called for new emphasis on the moral teachings of the Church regarding sexuality, a message that could be read as a mandate for the American hierarchy to be more forceful in condemning homosexual behavior. But as we have observed, that aspect of the discussion in Rome was quietly dropped from the bishops' agenda before the Dallas meeting.

In Dallas the USCCB concentrated exclusively on the sexual abuse of minors. The final document produced at that meeting was awkwardly entitled a Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in a tacit acknowledgement that the victims of abuse could not all be classified as "children." The Dallas norms set out disciplinary standards for priests who were involved in any sexual relationship with people, male or female, under the age of eighteen. But the bishops did not discuss, and the norms do not address, sexual misconduct by priests involving partners over the age of consent. When a priest pursues a sexual relationship with a psychologically vulnerable parishioner, he is guilty of abuse, even if that parishioner is an adult. And a priest who engages in consensual sexual contact with another man is guilty of grave misconduct, even if it is not abusive. But in Dallas the US bishops did not consider these sorts of clerical misbehavior; the scope of their attention was restricted exclusively to the abuse of "children and young people."

Published with permission from CatholicCulture.org.

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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas
Curtis Schube

Opinion, ,

SCOTUS’s NIFLA ruling is as good as everyone says…and better

Curtis Schube
By Curtis Schube

June 29, 2018 (Ruth Institute) – NIFLA v. Becerra is better than anyone could have expected. The Supreme Court's ruling last Tuesday overturned California's onerous speech restriction on pregnancy care centers. Great news, to be sure. It gets better. NIFLA also overturned speech restrictions on therapists who assist people with unwanted same sex attraction.

Pregnancy centers encourage women to choose options other than abortion. The Court found that requiring such centers to post notices advertising abortion violates their First Amendment Free Speech rights. This is a very good result. However, few commentators have mentioned that the NIFLA ruling impacts attempts to ban so-called "conversion therapy."

Laws which ban sexual orientation change efforts ("SOCE" for short) have increasingly entered the national conversation, most recently in California. Before California's recent attempts to ban all forms of SOCE at any age, California already had such a law in place for minors. The law considered it "unprofessional conduct" to "seek to change sexual orientation" for a minor. Any counselor who violated the law faced professional discipline.

California's more recent SOCE laws take an even more extreme position. These laws ban all therapy that aims to change, or even reduce, sexual attraction to the same sex. Therefore, a patient who wants SOCE therapy cannot receive that service without risk to the professional counselor.

In Pickup v. Brown, same sex attracted minors and their parents, as well as counselors who wished to provide their services, claimed that this law violates their First Amendment rights to free speech and free expression. The Ninth Circuit, in 2013, determined that counseling is not speech, but rather professional "conduct." The "First Amendment does not prevent a state from regulating treatment," the Ninth Circuit concluded.

The Third Circuit upheld a similar law in New Jersey using the same logic in the 2014 case, King v. Governors of New Jersey. In relying partly upon Pickup, the Third Circuit concluded that counseling is speech (rather than conduct) but classifies that speech as professional speech. The Third Circuit states that a "professional's services stems largely from her ability to apply…specialized knowledge to a client's individual circumstances… Thus, we conclude that a licensed professional does not enjoy the full protection of the First Amendment."

In the NIFLA case, the Ninth Circuit had justified the requirement for pregnancy centers to advertise for abortion as "professional speech," just like the Ninth and Third Circuits had done for SOCE laws. The Supreme Court opinion overturning the Ninth Circuit's NIFLA opinion, specifically identified Pickup and King as examples of "professional speech" protected by the First Amendment. Writing for the majority, Justice Thomas (pictured above) stated: "Some Courts of Appeals have recognized 'professional speech' as a separate category of speech that is subject to different rules." However, "speech is not unprotected merely because it is uttered by 'professionals.'"

This is a paradigm shift in the existing precedents for SOCE bans.

Thomas seized the opportunity to provide protections to many other professions as well. "Professionals might have a host of good-faith disagreements, both with each other and with the government, on many topics in their respective fields." He identifies doctors and nurses who disagree on the prevailing opinions on assisted suicide or medical marijuana as examples of good faith disagreements. So too are lawyers and marriage counselors who disagree on prenuptial agreements and divorces, and bankers and accountants who disagree on how to commit money to savings or tax reform. One would have to conclude that Justice Thomas' intent is to protect all professionals from being regulated on matters of good faith disagreement.

This is a significant victory for free speech, and not only for pregnancy care centers. The "social justice" movement threatens many professionals in the exercise of their judgement and expertise. This Supreme Court ruling has created broad protections for a significant number of Americans who hold professional licenses. In doing so, the Court also reopened the seemingly settled question as to whether SOCE bans are constitutional. This is a welcome surprise from a case originally thought to be limited only to pregnancy centers.

Published with permission from the Ruth Institute.

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Life Legal Defense Foundation

Opinion,

The horrific stories behind assisted suicide laws

Life Legal Defense Foundation
By

June 29, 2018 (Life Legal Defense Foundation) – In the course of challenging California's End of Life Option Act, we have learned that a handful of doctors have written most of the prescriptions for lethal drugs since the law went into effect.

One of those doctors is Lonny Shavelson, a former contract ER doctor who came out of retirement as soon as the law was passed to dispense lethal prescriptions. Shavelson is not board-certified in any medical specialty, including diagnosing or treating mental illness, which is often at the root of a request for suicide.

His sole "practice" consists of getting people to die.

Shavelson admits to having "attended at bedside" as 89 people committed suicide. He stresses that the lethal drugs must be taken within 2 minutes, or they can "fail." By "fail," he means the people don't die – and may decide that they don't want to kill themselves.

In his book "Chosen Death," Shavelson writes about observing an assisted suicide. Gene, a lonely widower, contacted the Hemlock Society, which has since changed its name to "Compassion and Choices." "Sarah" the head of the local Hemlock Society office, came to Gene's home to prepare and dispense the deadly concotion. This was not Sarah's first experience with "assisting" a person's death. She called it "the most intimate experience you can share with a person. . . . More than sex. More than birth . . . more than anything.

Sarah held Gene's head on her lap as she gave him the suicide drugs. As he started to fall asleep, Sarah put a plastic bag over his head and told Gene to "Go to the light."

But the drugs failed. Gene woke up and started screaming. 

Shavelson describes what happened next:

"His good hand flew up to tear off the plastic bag. Sarah's hand caught Gene's wrist and held it. His body thrust upwards. She pulled his arm away and lay across Gene's shoulders. Sarah rocked back and forth, pinning him down, her fingers twisting the bag to seal it tight at his neck as she repeated, 'the light, Gene, go toward the light.' Gene's body pushed against Sarah's. Then he stopped moving."

As Wesley Smith writes, "There is a word that describes what happened to Gene, and that word is murder." 

There is no evidence that Shavelson ever reported the circumstances of Gene's death to authorities. 

Why would he?

Once a person requests assisted suicide, the law presumes that everyone – the doctor, the suicide facilitator, family members, hospital workers – is acting with the purest of intentions.

Here is how the law protects bad actors:

  • Unlike other suicides, law enforcement will not investigate an assisted suicide to determine the cause of death or whether the person was coerced or forced – or if the person was murdered after he changed his mind, as Gene was.
  • The underlying disease  – not suicide – is listed as the cause of death, which means doctors and coroners have to lie on the person's death certificate. 
  • In fact, the law does not permit the use of the word suicide to describe the process of self-ingesting a lethal dose of barbiturates to end one's life.
  • If a doctor was negligent in making the initial diagnosis or prognosis, no one will know because all records will state that the person died of the alleged disease.
  • An "interested" witness – someone who will benefit financially from the person's death – can sign off on the suicide drug request.
  • A family member can initiate the request for assisted suicide – Shavelson says that most of the calls to his suicide clinic come from family members, not from the person seeking suicide.
  • Any doctor or osteopath can write the prescription. No prior doctor-patient relationship with the person seeking suicide drugs is required.
  • No mental health evaluation is required, even though the majority of people who receive a terminal diagnosis suffer from depression.
  • Someone else can pick up the lethal drugs from the pharmacy.

In short, assisted suicide laws are designed to facilitate the perfect crime. 

So how does this affect me?

You might wonder how this affects you or your loved ones since you would never seek assisted suicide.

Proponents of assisted suicide want to normalize suicide as THE end-of-life option. It is not an accident that California's law is called the End of Life Option – not options – Act.

Shavelson's goal is for hospice to "take over" assisted suicide. Compassion and Choices – the former Hemlock Society now heavily funded by George Soros – wants to "change the health care system" so that suicide is legalized nationwide. Faye Girsh, Senior Adviser at the Final Exit Network, says it should "be a crime" to not allow someone to kill themselves. Dr. Philip Nitschke, Director and Founder of Exit International, says "people have a right to dispose of [their] life whenever they want."

Former Compassion and Choices litigator and head of the End of Life Liberty Project Kathryn Tucker says "it would be appropriate for the practice to become more normalized within the practice of medicinewith less government oversight and regulation."

Life Legal regularly handles cases involving the denial or withdrawal of life-sustaining medical care without the patient's consent. People are starved and dehydrated to death against their will because it has become "normalized within the practice of medicine" to deprive people of basic care. 

I shudder to imagine what full-scale normalization of assisted suicide would look like.

What we do know already is that normalizing suicide means:

  • Insurance providers will happily cover the cost of a deadly dose of barbiturates to avoid having to pay for actual medical care and treatment.
  • Some doctors will simply write a prescription for lethal drugs instead of encouraging patients to seek a second opinion for potentially treatable diseases.
  • new industry is being created that allows doctors who do not offer any medical care or treatment to charge patients exorbitant fees in exchange for a prescription for lethal drugs.

We are following in the path of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Canada, where the normalization of assisted suicide quickly led to voluntary – and involuntary – euthanasia.

Published with permission from the Life Legal Defense Foundation.

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Steven Braatz

Opinion,

I’m a pro-life doctor: Abortion refusal laws are about taking good care of patients

Steven Braatz
By

June 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – I came home tired. I'd spent most of the day resuscitating a patient who had delivered twins and then went into profound shock. After many intense hours of problem-solving and implementing all the skills I possess, she turned a corner and I breathed a sigh of relief, seeing that she was going to be okay.

Then something interesting happened once I came home.

I sat down to relax and recover. Unfortunately, I opened an email from a friend which contained Julie Burkhart's June 6 article from “The Hill,” "Abortion refusal laws are not about religion, but about control." Just a few paragraphs in I read her pronouncement that pro-life OB-GYNs like me should be podiatrists.

Burkhart wrote, “If you have a problem with abortion, become a podiatrist.”

It occurs to me that many folks, Julie Burkhart included, don't really understand what OB-GYNs do.

I work in an underserved area of northeastern California. I stay pretty busy and I have quite a few patients with complicated pregnancies, and quite a few more who need surgery for complicated gynecologic conditions. I worry about my patients and the problems they might encounter.

When I take care of pregnant women I have two patients (more with twins!) in mind, not just my patient but also her baby. I want all of my patients to experience the life-enriching transformation that occurs when a child is born. I want them all to come through the pregnancy and puerperium healthy and content, and I want each baby to thrive. I cannot stop thinking about a patient who has a complication or whose pregnancy is in jeopardy.

Only good outcomes are acceptable, but when a tragedy does strike, it’s my job to provide the support my patient and her family need. It’s my calling. It’s my commission to take really good care of my patients. Having known many OB-GYN doctors in my lifetime, I believe most of us feel this way about our patients.

I could never even consider taking the life of one of my patients, a baby in his or her mother's womb. Most OB-GYN doctors I've known don't do abortions themselves because, deep down, they know this is a human life. That's profound. 

Pro-abortion and pro-life folks have different worldviews. And sometimes it seems like those differences in our worldviews cause us to live in different universes.

This makes me feel more and more like an alien in a strange land.

To me, moral law is real, certain truths are absolute, and conscience is a valuable human guide. What is conscience? I have always believed it to be the discernment and application of fundamental moral truths to our behavior. The culture, and certain professional organizations in particular, view conscience as nothing more than an unpleasant feeling that results when certain actions are taken. This enables them to suggest rather forcefully, as does Burkhart, that OB-GYNs should set our consciences aside and become team players by doing abortions.  

Regardless of what conscience is, here is the most pressing question: Do we really want to select and train doctors who easily set their consciences aside? If as a profession we cast off fidelity to conscience, who will determine our actions in medical practice?

Will it be our patients?

I think fiscal constraints in healthcare will prevent this. Will it be the state? Will physicians then be agents of the state? Perhaps we have forgotten the lessons of the last century when physicians in several nations actually did operate as agents of the state, resulting in some of the most heinous atrocities in history.

So Julie Burkhart, please don't make me a podiatrist. It’s not that I look down upon podiatrists, I have known some very fine ones. It’s just that I'd like to keep taking good care of my Ob and Gyn patients...but I won't do an abortion.

Editor's note: Dr. Steven Braatz is a Board Certified OB-GYN physician practicing in Northeastern California. He is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and serves on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Pro-Life OB-GYNs, and Associate Scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

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Some of the main organizers of the Rome Life Forum with Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Vigano. John-Henry Westen and Steve Jalsevac are at the far right. Doug Mainwaring/LifeSite
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May 2018 LifeSite Rome Life Forum provided incredible depth of teaching on conscience

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By Steve Jalsevac

June 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – LifeSite co-founder John-Henry Westen and I, and often one other person from the LifeSite team, have been making at least twice per year trips to Rome for the past 9 years. Each of these trips has been a whirlwind working experience of numerous meetings and conferences and first-hand reporting of crucial Vatican events as well as the annual Rome Marches for Life. On site coverage of the entire two Vatican Synods on the Family was our most intense and influential Vatican reporting project during those years. 

Because of all of this, Rome and Vatican City have become like a second home to us with many exceptional friendships that we have developed there during these trips. The memories of what we have experienced from this unique facet of LifeSite’s work seem at times to be overwhelming. We would previously never have dreamed that LifeSite could ever have had such a presence and impact in the Eternal City.

During most of those years we have had a LifeSite Vatican reporter based in Rome which has been an enormous benefit to LifeSite and especially to our readers. Our first Rome-based reporter was Hilary White who was later followed by Jan Bentz. LifeSite is currently blessed to have former Aleteia reporter and former Vatican official translator Diane Montagna as our Rome correspondent.

The Rome conferences that we were a part of, starting with the Human Life International conference of 2010 at which John-Henry spoke, and continuing with The Rome Life Forums which LifeSite first started in 2014, have taken head-on many serious problems within the Church and the world on the life and family and related faith issues. 

In 2015 LifeSite co-founded Voice of the Family, a coalition of dozens of pro-life and pro-family groups, including, SPUC (Britain’s Society for the Protection of Human Life), Human Life International, Family Life International of New Zealand. This new organization ran the annual Rome Life Forum (RLF) conferences from 2015 onwards. 

An added new item this year, a few days following the Rome Life Forum and Rome March for Life, was the establishment and first annual meeting and first conference of the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family. This lay-founded organization has been formed to continue the work of the original St. Pope John Paul II founded Pontifical Academy for Life which has been gutted and radically changed by the Francis papacy.

Five of the members appointed to the original Academy for Life by John Paul II are founding members of the new John Paul II Academy for Life. LifeSite co-founder John-Henry Westen and myself, among many other notable pro-life leaders are also members of the new Academy which will undertake two meetings each year, one in Rome and then one in another nation. 

2018 Rome Life Forum was the best ever

This year’s Rome Life Forum was the most impressive and productive Forum to date.  The theme of the forum was “True and false conscience” and the talks on the issue of conscience were all of an exceptionally high caliber. Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Athanasius Schneider, both of whom have become regular speakers at the RLF conferences, presented dynamic talks again this year. They and we were also joined with the very gracious presence this year of the former apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.

This year’s forum was held at a new location, the prestigious Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas or, as it is often referred to, the Angelicum. The distinguished rector of the Angelicum, Fr. Michael Paluch, gave a brief but warm and inspiring welcome to the Forum participants that was greatly appreciated, especially given that the talks to be presented were going to address some serious problems within the Church at this time. See the talk by Fr. Paluch below. 

During a question and answer session at the end of the conference, Archbishop Vigano, who clearly very much enjoyed participating in all the conference events, had some words of high praise for the conference and its participants. He stated,

“I have been one of you, during these two days, listening attentively and certainly I have been struck by the great quality of bold intervention and the witnesses” (at the Forum).

“And certainly the thing that I realize [while] being with you is the great desire to have a strong leadership in the Church that can unite all of us – from the different conferences of different continents of the world.”

“I can say that I found [in] those who come in particular from the Anglo-Saxon [world] – the United States, Australia, and Britain – a great desire to be witness of the truth that has been preached by the Church all along the centuries.”

See Vigano’s full comments in the video below, starting at 5:49.

All the talks were video-recorded by yours truly and would be quite useful to show to high school or University classes or other groups studying the issue of conscience. 

One of the most popular talks was a very dynamic and blunt one given by professor Stephane Mercier that we strongly recommend for viewing. 

See below a complete list of all 17 articles (most with accompanying video) that LifeSite produced as a result of this one conference. Below that is a report on the March for Life that took place the day after the Rome Life Forum. After that we list the three reports and videos on three of the talks given during the John Paul II Academy for life and the Family conference.

As you can see, from all of this material, this most recent trip to Rome by the LifeSite team was extremely full and productive.

Rome Life Forum articles and talks

1. Bishop Schneider: Here’s how we remain loyal to Peter when Peter seems to betray Christ (Q&A)

2. Bishop Schneider explains how Catholics should handle a ‘heretic pastor’ (Q&A)

3. Priest explains why adultery is always ‘mortal sin,’ even when done in ‘good conscience’ – Fr. Crean Talk

4. Bishop Schneider: Catholics are called to combat heresy inside Church

5. Priest: Marian solar miracles are God’s warning we have violated natural law – Fr. Clovis talk

6. Cardinal Burke warns upcoming youth synod may release ‘new storm in the Church  (Q&A)

7. Cardinal Burke: Catholics must let Christ reign as King in face of ‘apostasy’ within Church

8. Unpublished letter from Cardinal Caffarra explains what ‘conscience’ actually means - Monsignor Livio Melina talk in Italian

9. Prof fired for pro-life lecture: Defend truth even if ‘spineless shepherds’ won’t - Professor Stéphane Mercier talk

10. Catholics can ‘resist’ erring Pope in good conscience: pro-family leader - Matthew McCusker talk

11. Becoming a saint today means ‘resisting’ erring religious leaders: Catholic historian - Roberto de Mattei talk

12. Cardinal Burke: False religions that permit abortion should be suppressed – Cardinal Burke Q&A

13. Saint JP II warned against ‘creative conscience’ that rejects God’s laws: Angelicum prof - Professor Isobel Camp talk

14. Pro-life leader explains how Catholic bishops destroyed the Irish conscience - John Smeaton talk

15. Former president of Rome’s John Paul II Institute corrects today’s errors on conscience - Monsignor Livio Melina Q&A (Italian)

16. Head of Pontifical university Angelicum asks pro-life leaders to protect life and evangelize - Fr. Michal Paluch welcome to Forum

17. Former U.S. Apostolic Nuncio: Our Lady is the ‘real frontline fighter against the devil’ - Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò during Q&A with Cardinal Burke and Msgr Livino


Rome March for Life

Italian March for Life pays beautiful tribute to Alfie Evans

John Paul II Academy for life and the Familytalk reports

The revolt against Humanae Vitae continues to haunt us today - Professor Roberto de Mattei talk

World renowned expert: ‘Homo-tyranny is upon us’ in the Catholic Church

Catholic dad of 6: ‘Sacrificial love’ within family is the gateway to heaven

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Liberals declare war on ‘Little House’: they despise how it portrays Christianity, family life

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By Jonathon van Maren

June 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Every year, thousands upon thousands of people arrive in De Smet, South Dakota in minivans filled with sweaty and excited children. They are here to see a small, nondescript white frame house with a sign in front of it that explains why everyone is here: Ingalls Home & Museum: The House that Pa Built in 1887. My brother and I spent an afternoon exploring there in 2011, driving out to the ancient graveyard on the edge of town where a shiny new sign points the way to the Ingalls grave sites. The little town was full of people, there to pay pilgrimage to America’s most beloved pioneer family, who had in so many ways come to symbolize for so many all that was good and true about the United States itself.

But of course, in the America of 2018, we can celebrate the vilest forms of entertainment and hand out Oscars for perverse and sex-soaked storytelling that makes a mockery of everything America once was, but Laura Ingalls Wilder is simply too offensive. This week, the Association for Library Services decided to strip her name from a prestigious award for authors of children’s literature (a genre which Wilder can be given significant credit for developing.) Her crime? Insufficiently predicting the complexities of 21st century race relations, and thus writing things perceived as insensitive to Native Americans and blacks—although Wilder herself rebuked racism and assured her critics that none was intended in her books, and her stories portray these characters very positively.

READ: Book award drops Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name over her lack of ‘inclusiveness’

This decision is stupid for a wide range of reasons, and sadly indicative of the cultural milieu for others. Wilder’s books—my entire family read and reread them, from my grandparents to my little sister—are an invaluable way of teaching both history and literature, for starters. They open a window into another world, and that Wilder’s simple storytelling has captured the imagination of so many people indicates that there are yet elements of the life she describes that draws people in. That, says commentator Kevin Williamson, may be one of the reasons that many of the elites despise her books in the first place:

Partly, it is a jihad against the Little House on the Prairie books themselves, which are popularly understood as paeans to old-fashioned Protestant virtues and the westward expansion of the United States, two things that give progressives the screeching heebie-jeebies. Partly, it is a jihad against Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, a well-known writer in her day whose silent role in the Little House books was something between editor and author. Lane, who still enjoys a following among libertarians with literary interests, was a trenchant (and cranky) critic of the New Deal who protested Social Security and war rationing, denounced Franklin Roosevelt as a dictator, and wrote as a fierce anti-Communist, having seen the ghastly results of that philosophy up close when reporting from the Soviet Union.

Worse, one professor noted, the self-sufficiency that throbs from virtually every page of the Little House books may have actually had something of a political impact, considering the fact that more than sixty million copies of the books have been sold. The sheer usefulness of the pioneer people that populate the pages of Wilder’s memoirs is a rebuke to a generation that finds many such concepts utterly foreign. In a paper titled “Little House, Long Shadow,” Dr. Anita Clair Fellman of Old Dominion University argues that Wilder’s books actually outline something of an ideology that man found themselves attracted to:

Two streams of conservatism, she argues—not in themselves inherently compatible—converge in the series. One is Lane’s libertarianism, and the other is Wilder’s image of a poster family for Republican “value voters”: a devoted couple of Christian patriots and their unspoiled children; the father a heroic provider and benign disciplinarian, the mother a pious homemaker and an example of feminine self-sacrifice. (In that respect, Rose considered herself an abject failure. “My life has been arid and sterile,” she wrote, “because I have been a human being instead of a woman.”) Fellman concludes, “The popularity of the Little House books . . . helped create a constituency for politicians like Reagan who sought to unsettle the so-called liberal consensus established by New Deal politics.” 

I’ve long wondered about the enduring modern popularity of Wilder’s books, considering the fact that much of what Wilder describes is no longer recognizable not simply because a century has passed, but because many of the values that informed the lives of the settlers now simply do not exist. How many modern readers can actually understand the rigid observance of the Sabbath day that Wilder describes so vividly in Little House in the Big Woods and Farmer Boy, where one day was set aside for church and quiet reflection on the Bible? How many of them still understand biblical references at all, for that matter? Things that were simply part of the collective cultural consciousness a few decades ago now seem to be ancient history.

It is not particularly surprising, when all things are considered, that Wilder’s beautiful books are falling out of favor with the cultural elites. After all, much of what she tries to convey in her books is out of fashion: Basic virtue, Christianity, self-sufficiency, suspicion of government, and the beauty of family life. People respond to her books because they find something that they love within the pages, and find themselves attracted to the life Laura describes—one that is in equal parts about hardship and the power of a loving family. I suspect that Wilder’s readers will dismiss this latest slander as the feeble ridiculousness that it is—and that this award, whatever it is called now, will be forgotten long before she is.

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