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Bishop Gerard de Korte of Den Bosch, Netherlands
Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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Dutch bishop removes priest after ‘anti-gay’ homily upholding Church teaching

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits


May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Father Marc Massaer will be leaving his present parish in the diocese of ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, by the 1st of July. His removal is seen by many as a consequence of a strongly worded sermon he gave last December 26, speaking out against gender ideology and same-sex unions. Fr Massaer has published the news of his departure himself on his parish website on May 7, explaining that he has accepted Bishop de Korte’s suggestion that he leave Sint-Christoffel in West Maas en Waal on short notice. His new destination is as yet unknown.

While the priest himself has not underscored the link between his removal and his “controversial” homily (from the Dutch mainstream point of view), it is certain that he has gone through a period of confrontation with his parishioners, the Catholic members of eight former parishes he has led alone for the last eight years when a “super-parish” was formed, due to a dearth of priests and faithful in the formerly heavily Catholic south half of the Netherlands.

Hostilities were opened following the “Second Day of Christmas,” as it is called in Holland: a public holiday when many nominal Catholics who seldom go to church are wont to join Mass. Fr Massaer was celebrating  in one of “his” eight parish churches, in Walen.

In this case, the daughter of a local choir member had come back to her home town for Christmas and joined Mass on the 26th. Ceciel Kalkers was shocked to hear the priest condemning “the indoctrination of gender ideology.” He said it “is radically opposed to the order of creation, and it promotes that what is not Catholic.” “This is a boomerang that will head back towards humanity,” he said, with all its “negative consequences,” she wrote two weeks later in an open letter to the local newspaper, De Maas en Waler.

She added another quote from the sermon from memory: “Only ‘holy families’ (man-woman-child) could bring peace and harmony.”

Her letter went on to speak of her “sadness,” thinking about “two good homo friends, a homo-couple with a newborn child.” “I hardly know anyone nicer.  Weren’t these people welcome?” she said. And so her text went on, deploring the priest’s tone, his “condemnations,” his lack of “inclusion.”

Kalkers tried to speak to Massaer in the sacristy, but he had already left. The following day, she called him over the telephone, and was again shocked to hear that he was standing by his words. “People should start thinking, because they have fallen asleep,” he said, according to Kalkers.

Challenged about the “hurt” such words could cause to homosexuals, she said Fr Massaer added: “A man with a man is no lifestyle. We can’t make wrong things right just by talking. As a Church, we have a right to say what is right and what is wrong. Every human being stands before a choice, and I want them to think about that.”

“So orientation is a choice, according to Fr Massaer,” angrily wrote Ceciel Kalkers. She was even more indignant when she heard him add: “You’re really going against the order of creation and then you’re just sinning. Sins don’t fit with the Christian lifestyle. I condemn what is wrong.”

Shortly after this letter was published, the governing board of the parish of St. Christopher reached out to the diocese of ’s-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch), whose bishop, Gerard de Korte, is known for his openness to the “LGBT community,” having even accepted to open his cathedral for the local “Pink pride” a few years back before being forced to back down.

According to the regional press, the board’s move was dictated by anger at the “gay-unfriendly” sermon of Marc Massaer, although the no details were given. Its vice president did tell De Gelderlander that the board was “not happy with the impact of the homily.”

The newspaper compared Massaer’s words with the Nashville statement condemning homosexual acts. At the time in the Netherlands, the statement was being picked up and signed by local evangelicals, amid furious media reaction. Some of them even received death threats at the time.

De Gelderlander wrote on May 7 that Massaer’s sermon had triggered “a storm of outrage, also among parishioners and volunteers.” Now Massaer is being moved to other pastures.

Talks took place between the parish governing board and the diocese, according to the newspaper: “It is not clear whether Massaer’s departure is a result of those talks. No one at the diocese or in the parish is prepared to answer requests for comment.”

Even if his new nomination was on the cards, reactions to his sermon are sufficient to show how difficult it is in a deeply paganized country such as the Netherlands to proclaim the full Catholic truth.

Local media noted that Massaer “keeps himself strictly to church rules.” “Last summer he banned a nonreligious choir from singing at the funeral of a parishioner,” noted De Gelderlander. But even that liberal daily was obliged to acknowledge that under Massaer’s guidance, not one of the eight churches of the joint parish of West Maas en Waal has been shut down.

Facebook comments called the priest an “Inquisitor” and a “freak.”

That is how upholders of traditional Church teaching are now seen in secularized Holland.

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John Castillo with his son Kendrick Colorado Knights of Columbus Facebook
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Heroic Colorado student ‘followed Christ & laid down his life for others’

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By Lisa Bourne

May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A brave, caring hero, a legend, and someone who loved to make others smile are some of the descriptions used for Kendrick Castillo, the 18-year-old high school student who was fatally shot while restraining a shooter in his Colorado classroom Tuesday.

Castillo, a Catholic, inspired other students to come forward to disarm and subdue the attacker and save classmates’ lives. 

“A young man who followed Christ & laid down his life for others!” Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila exclaimed from Italy via Facebook Thursday morning. “May the Lord provide consolation to his family! I will offer Mass for Kendrick & his family here in Rome.”

Two suspected shooters, 16-year-old Maya McKinney and 18-year-old Devon Erickson, entered STEM School in Highlands Ranch on Tuesday afternoon with handguns and allegedly began shooting, leaving Castillo dead and eight others injured.

A security guard reportedly apprehended one of the shooters and the other was said to have been subdued by Kendrick and some of his classmates until police arrived shortly after the shooting began.

Kendrick has been hailed as a selfless hero by family and friends who remembered the brave young man in the days after the shooting.

The best kid in the world

The coroner told Kendrick’s father, John Castillo, that his son was a hero, The Denver Post reported, because the gunfire he took would have harmed other people.

Castillo also praised his son as a hero, though he said he wished Kendrick would have hidden to save himself but that was not Kendrick’s nature. While Castillo is proud of what his son did, the loss is still difficult to accept.

"It doesn’t surprise me," Castillo told The Post. "He cared enough about people that he would do something like that, even though it’s against my better judgment. I wish he had gone and hid, but that’s not his character. His character is about protecting people, helping people."

"I had a hard time accepting that," the father added.

“He was the best kid in the world,” an emotional Castillo said.

A young man with a future

Kendrick, who was just three days shy of graduating high school and set to attend Arapahoe Community College in the fall, loved science, especially robotics. He was the lead fabricator on the robotics team that his father coached.

Kendrick, who was John and Maria Castillo’s only child, had hoped to major in mechanical or electrical engineering.

Kendrick also loved the outdoors, enjoying four-wheeling, fishing and hunting, and cars.

“My wife and I are in a haze,” John Castillo said. “He was everything to us.”

While Kendrick was an only child, his friends, including the members of the school's robotics team, were like his siblings, his father said. They would host holiday gift exchanges at the their home. As a child, Kendrick shared his toys, he said, and later he would pay for a friend's movie tickets if they didn't have money.

"I know that because of what he did, others are alive,” John Castillo said in a CNN report, “and I thank God for that. I love him. And he is a hero and he always will be. He just loved people that much."

A young man’s faith

Castillo most likely drew his heroism from his faith, a PJ Media report said, and that he wanted to be in the Knights of Columbus like his father.

His friend, Cece Bedard, told The Denver Post that their fathers brought them to Knights meetings. Kendrick carried out the organization's mission of helping others, Bedard said.

"He told me he wanted to be a (Knight) because he wanted to help not only people but (also) his community," Bedard said. "He was the bravest soul I’ve ever met and never even cared what others thought because he was too busy finding ways to make you smile."

Classmate Aaron Busche said that even in middle school, Kendrick stood out for his selflessness.

"He was not afraid to stand up for what he thought was right," Busche said. "The way he died was very much in his nature. He always prioritized others before himself."

A legacy of service, patriotism

Kendrick grew up near Denver speaking English and Spanish and had first attended Catholic school. He also spent time fishing and camping with his late grandfather, who had been a Marine.

"Kendrick was proud of him, proud that his grandfather was a hero," John Castillo said. "Part of me knows that Kendrick wanted to live that legacy."

Kendrick had kept the flag that once draped his grandfather's casket close to him and would pray and kiss his tombstone at Fort Logan National Cemetery.

"He loved the patriotism," John Castillo said. "We are Hispanic by nature, but we love America to the core."

‘This wasn't your average kid’

Castillo and his wife, Maria, were not surprised to learn that their son ran toward danger; they had raised him to be responsible and "to be good."

"This wasn't your average kid," John Castillo said. "He was extraordinary."

STEM senior and close friend Nui Giasolli also recalled that Kendrick would go with his father to volunteer with the Knights of Columbus, and how Kendrick intended to join the Knights.

Giasolli told NBC News that Kendrick and the classmates who assisted him were brave and saved lives of the other students in the room.

"Kendrick lunged at him, and he shot Kendrick,” Giasolli said, “giving all of us enough time to get underneath our desks, to get ourselves safe, and to run across the room to escape.” 

The boys "were brave enough to bring him down so that all of us could escape and all of us could be reunited with our families. I can't thank them enough."

Eighteen-year-old Brendan Bialy, a U.S. Marine Corps recruit, helped Kendrick subdue the shooter. Bialy was not injured in the attack. While he has not yet entered the Corps, the Marines issued a statement on Bialy’s actions during the shooting.

"Brendan’s courage and commitment to swiftly ending this tragic incident at the risk of his own safety is admirable and inspiring," the Marines’ statement said. "His decisive actions resulted in the safety and protection of his teachers and fellow classmates." He is scheduled to report to training this summer.

The other STEM student who intervened, Joshua Jones, was treated for two gunshot wounds and returned home to recover.

Jones’ family called him “an incredible son and brother,” according to The Denver Post, and asked for privacy during the healing process.

‘Kendrick Castillo died a legend’

Bialy recalled that Kendrick was about a foot from the shooter in his classroom and immediately sprang into action.

"Kendrick Castillo died a legend,” Bialy said. “He died a trooper. I know he will be with me for the rest of my life."

After Bialy was able to get the gun away from the shooter, he checked on Kendrick and tried to get him to respond, but he wasn't moving. Bialy remembers helping a teacher who came into the room and tried to render medical aid.

Other students also tried to stop the bleeding from Kendrick's chest by applying pressure, Bialy’s father told The New York Times.

"I refused to be a victim. Kendrick refused to be a victim,” Bialy said. “The other students refused to be a victim."

Shortly after the shooting, John and Maria Castillo frantically tried to reach Kendrick on his cell phone, growing more concerned when he would not answer their texts and calls. 

One of Kendrick's friends sent Castillo a text saying Kendrick had rushed toward the shooter, but at the time, he didn't know exactly what to think.

The Castillos watched as other students exited the yellow school buses and reunited with their parents, "and we didn't have that," Castillo said. 

"I couldn't believe this was happening to my son," he said.

The couple learned Kendrick had been killed when they arrived at the hospital looking for him, and authorities informed them his body was still inside the classroom.

As they waited to see Kendrick, students approached them and said their son was a hero.

As they mourn their son, John Castillo said the couple’s wish was for Kendrick's classmates was to heal, go to college, get married and start their own families surrounded by love.

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Spain’s downward spiral toward ‘demographic suicide’ linked to abortion

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By Martin Barillas

MADRID, Spain, May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Spain’s Institute for Family Policy (IPF) reported that the region of Asturias is “trending toward demographic suicide,” having noted that it registered the lowest population growth rate in a country that has seen the birth rate drop because of abortion.

In its April report titled “Evolution of the family in the Autonomous Communities,” IPF reported that Asturias had a birth rate of 1.03 children per woman, thus making it the least fertile of Spain’s various provinces or communities. In 2017, Asturias saw the birth of 6,012 children. By way of contrast, the report noted that Asturias had 14,509 births in 1980. Asturias had 1.028 million people in 2018, according to Spain’s statistical agency.

Spain is divided into 17 Autonomous Communities, which includes the capital city of Madrid, that correspond to the ancient kingdoms of the Iberian peninsula such as Asturias, Aragon and Castille.

Overall, one out of every 10 residents is foreign born (10.7 percent) among a population of 46.72 million. Despite the economic crisis during the last 10 years, when approximately 700,000 foreigners left the country, there are now more than five million foreigners living in Spain.

The IPF report noted that the birth rate in Asturia would have been worse if it had not been for foreign-born mothers. Foreigners gave birth to 9.5 percent of the children in Asturias; if not for them, the birth rate would have been but one child per Spanish woman. Also, the median age for mothers is growing upward. In Asturias, first-time mothers are on average 32.27 years old, and in Spain overall it is 32.08. In addition, Asturian mothers are having children at an age five years older than their sisters in 1980.

In Spain, the report shows that 19.3 percent of the births can be attributed to foreign-born women. If it were not for foreign mothers, Spain’s birth rate would be 1.3 per mother, which is insufficient to replace the population. In developed countries, any rate below 2.1 falls below the replacement rate. More people are dying in Spain than are being born.

Another finding in the report is that abortion is a leading cause of the drop in the birthrate. Since 1990, the report found, there have been 2,216,538 abortions, of which 58,892 were committed in Asturias. In 2017 alone, there were 94,000 abortions in Spain. However, the report said the real number of abortions is much greater. This is because non-surgical abortions are frequently not reported as abortions. In Asturias, 26.5 percent of unborn babies die because of abortion.

Asturias has an average of 2.24 persons per household, thus putting it at the bottom of the list for Spain. Asturians, as in the rest of Spain, tend to marry increasingly later in life. The average age at marriage in Asturias is 36.48, of which 76.4 percent are non-religious. In Spain, the average age at marriage is 34. Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Slovenia have the lowest marriage rates in Europe. The rate of out-of-wedlock births is increasing, however. In Asturias, babies born without the benefit of married parents represent 44.61 percent, and in Spain it is 46.7 percent.

The report concludes that Asturias, Cantabria, and the Canary Islands show the worst demographic indicators for birth, marriage and other factors, and they also provide the least help to families with children at home.

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Pro-life speaker’s poster goes up in flames on university building; police suspect arson

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By Lisa Bourne

May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Western Washington University police are investigating as arson a campus fire last weekend that burned a poster promoting a talk by the head of Students for Life of America.

Campus police for the Bellingham, Washington, university were notified late Saturday night, May 4, of an exterior fire at the Environmental Studies Building, KIRO-7 reported. Investigators said it appeared the poster attached for display on the building was deliberately set on fire.

"We are handling this fire as an arson,” said Darin Rasmussen, chief of university police. “Intentionally setting such a fire is foolish and dangerous. We are actively investigating and I hope we can find the person responsible for this crime."

The roughly 6-foot by 3-foot poster advertised a May 9 talk with SFLA president Kristan Hawkins hosted by Western University Students for Life. The title of Hawkins’ talk was Lies Feminists Tell.

SFLA denounced the fire as an act of intimidation.

“We condemn the vandalism and the act of intimidation by the arsonist,” the pro-life group’s communications director, Matt Lamb, told LifeSiteNews.

University spokesman Paul Cocke also told The Bellingham Herald that the poster was burned intentionally.

SFLA often faces protests on college campuses, Lamb told the Herald, and some have been good examples of debate. With the threat in this case, he said extra security had been planned, including several police officers.

The event description stated:

Kristan Hawkins is the president of Students for Life of America. She will be speaking on the lies feminists tell about abortion, birth control, and education and is being hosted by Western Washington University Students for Life and Western Washington University Young Americans for Freedom. There will be Q and A after the speech.

Even with the fire happening during the week leading up to Hawkins’ appearance, he said her speech was well received and well attended.

“The talk went well last night,” said Lamb. “The room reached capacity, so some people had to watch from an overflow room. There were at least 110 people there, and most likely more.”

Police arrived at the scene shortly after 11:30 p.m. Saturday. The blaze damaged the building's outer wall and caused approximately $500 worth of damage. 

Photos of the fire appeared on social media, and Campus Reform posted before and after pictures in its report of the incident.

"The Western Washington University community values and embraces freedom of speech and the importance of diverse viewpoints,” Cocke said. “Universities should be places where issues of societal importance are discussed in a civil and respectful manner,"

Lamb told LifeSiteNews that Hawkins’ talk on Thursday night at the university focused on the lies of mainstream feminism, including that women need abortion to succeed.

“Kristan also talks about how the early feminists, like Susan B. Anthony, were pro-life,” he said.

University police are asking anyone with information about the fire or who may know who’s responsible to call 360-650-3555.

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After Vatican-China deal, persecution of Christians increases

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By Martin Barillas

BEIJING, May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — China Aid, a nonprofit that monitors Chinese communist persecution of Christians, reported that a government seminar encouraged Communists to avoid conversion and to instead adhere to the party’s "correct views" regarding religion.

"The Chinese government often views religions, including Christianity, as foreign attempts to undermine its rule, even though there is no evidential basis for such a claim," said the China Aid report. "As a result, they often try to suppress religious adherents, and they openly forbid Communist Party members from practicing a religion."

The Municipal Radio Administrative Bureau in Hebi, a city in the Henan province, acknowledged on social media holding the seminar. According UCA news, the seminar was held to indoctrinate Communists about the party’s teachings about Christianity and “prevent the occurrence of ideological deviations."

Director Ying Fuk-tsang of the divinity school at the Chinese University of Hong Kong told UCA News that the Communist government seeks to control thought throughout the various internet and telecommunications networks. Ying said China has sought to expand social controls “through non-religious ways to deal with religious issues."

"(T)herefore, it is no longer a single religious department to manage religion, but the joint effort of different departments to manage all around," Ying said. He added that he thinks Chinese President Xi Jinping is behind the effort.

China continues to destroy Christian crosses and shutter unauthorized churches. For decades, Chinese authorities have persecuted Christians and held some in prison for years.

For example, the welfare of 87-year-old Catholic Bishop James Su Zhimin of Hebei province is still unknown. In a UCA News report, a nephew said he does not know whether the bishop is alive. Bishop Su was arrested during a religious procession in 1996 and charged with conducting “unregistered” religious activities after refusing to join the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which is the version of the Catholic Church recognized by the Communist government.

Appointed by Pope St. John Paul II, Bishop Su was not recognized by the Chinese government as a bishop. Before his arrest in 1996, Bishop Su had already spent some 26 years in prison or in forced labor camps. In 2003, family members found him hospitalized in Baoding, Hebei province. He has not been seen since.

According to the bishop’s nephew, Su Tianyou, neither the Vatican nor Beijing have confirmed whether the bishop might now be released after the September 2018 provisional agreement between the two parties on bishop appointments. In the following month, Bishop Michael Yeung of Hong Kong told Reuters that his diocese continues to pray for Bishop Su’s release.

According to the latest report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, “repression of the underground Catholic Church increased during the latter half of the year” despite the deal inked by Vatican and Chinese diplomats. The report by the bipartisan commission, which advises the President and Congress on religious freedom, includes the individual views of the commissioners. Commissioner Johnnie Moore, an evangelical Christian, wrote that the deal was “one of the most alarming incidents as it relates to religious freedom in the entire year.”

Within days of the Vatican negotiating its deal, the Chinese used it as cover to embark upon the closure of several of the nation’s largest and most prominent unregistered church communities,” Moore wrote.

He opined that the Vatican “bears a significant moral and legal responsibility to help solve the problem which it helped created — albeit inadvertently — by providing China license to viciously crack down on Christian communities (as cited in this report), and by providing the Chinese government further cover to continue its incomprehensible, inexcusable and inhumane abuses of Muslim citizens in the western part of the country.”

“The Vatican made a terrible mistake,” Moore wrote, “which it must take seriously. This debacle must be dealt with urgently and seriously.”

The Commission’s report cited China as a country of “special concern” because of its systematic abuse of religious minorities. In March, Ambassador Sam Brownback, who leads the Commission, was dismissive of the Vatican deal with China.

There are 93 million to 115 million Christians living in China, which has an overall population of 1.3 billion. By 2030, China may have the largest Christian community in the world.

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Texas state representative Julie Johnson. Julie Johnson via YouTube
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Texas Democrat kills bill protecting religious businesses from discrimination

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By Calvin Freiburger

AUSTIN, May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Legislation that would have barred government from retaliating against individuals or businesses on the basis of their religious beliefs died in the Texas legislature Thursday thanks to procedural maneuvering by a Democrat lawmaker.

House Bill 3172 would bar the state from taking any “adverse action” pertaining to any “grant, contract, subcontract, cooperative agreement, loan, scholarship, license, registration, accreditation, employment, or other similar status” on the basis of someone’s “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction, including beliefs or convictions regarding marriage.”

The bill has been dubbed the “Save Chick-fil-A bill” because it would have prevented the San Antonio City Council’s March decision to exclude the food chain from San Antonio International Airport because it claimed Chick-fil-A owners’ Christian view of marriage would keep travelers from “feel[ing] welcome when they walk through our airport.”

Republicans control the Texas legislature, but Democrat state rep. Julie Johnson managed to prevent a debate and vote on the bill by invoking a “point of order” to have the bill removed from the debate calendar, Dallas News reports. H.B. 3172 subsequently missed a legislative deadline and is dead for the time being.

“Hopefully this is the day discrimination against the LGBT community dies in the Texas House,” Johnson declared. “I feel great[.] ... I’m going to go celebrate.” She also called H.B. 3172 a “hurtful piece of legislation.” Several lawmakers cheered the bill’s failure, with someone going so far to play a recording of “Taps” in the House chamber.

“It’s a shame we didn’t have a chance to have this important conversation tonight,” said the bill’s author, Republican state rep. Matt Krause. “But maybe there are other ways to have that conversation. We’ll try to find other ways to do that this session.” He said he would look for ways to revive the bill.

“I don’t care if you’re Chick-fil-A or Ben & Jerry’s,” Krause argued. “Anybody would want to make sure the government can’t take any adverse action for who you associate with.”

H.B. 3172 was one of several religious liberty bills proposed in Texas this year.

Others would bar state licensing agencies from limiting professionals’ ability to act on a “sincerely held religious belief”; let medical professionals refuse to provide non-emergency treatments such as abortions; let Texans choose not to provide goods, services, or participation in same-sex “weddings”; let judges refuse to perform “marriages” that conflict with their religious beliefs, protect businesses’ right to segregate bathrooms based on biological sex; and allow religious groups including university organizations to limit hiring, renting, or membership to individuals who abide by the group’s religious tenets.

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Former NFL football player Steve Fitzhugh addresses young people at the pro-life Youth Banquet after the National March for Life, Ottawa, May 9, 2019. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
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Former NFL player: My mom almost aborted me…that’s why I’m pro-life

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By Pete Baklinski

OTTAWA, May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Former professional American football (NFL) player Steve Fitzhugh revealed this week how he was almost aborted by his mother in 1962. 

The former safety for the Denver Broncos (1986–87) told young people at the May 9 Youth Banquet following the National March for Life in Ottawa, Canada how he grew up in a toxic family atmosphere of violence, promiscuity, alcohol and drug abuse, and divorce. 

Fitzhugh, 56, explained how his mother almost aborted him during the breakdown of his parents’ marriage. His mother was lying on a hospice bed dying of multiple cancers when she told him the story for the first time. 

“Your Dad and I had three kids,” Fitzhugh related about his Mom’s dying words. “It was apparent that we were growing apart and we were going to get a divorce. Somewhere in the making-up and breaking-up I got pregnant again.”

“There was no way I was going to raise these three kids and a baby on my own. So, I made arrangements to take care of my situation,” Fitzhugh’s mother said, as he related it. 

Fitzhugh said that what his mom told him next is all the more astonishing because she was not really a “religious woman,” although she “feared God.” 

He continued: “A few hours away from my abortion, in the early morning hours, I woke up out of a dead sleep with a cold sweat, and all I could hear was the word, ‘faith…faith…faith…faith…faith.’”

“Something told me, ‘By faith…keep this baby,’” Fitzhugh related. 

“And that’s why, as a former fetus, I oppose abortion,” he told the crowd of hundreds of young people as they applauded and cheered.

“I was just a few hours away from losing my chance,” he said. 

“I’m just so glad that she gave me breath, that she let me live, so I could have a chance of a lifetime, and I’m doing the most with my chance,” he said. 

While Fitzhugh was with the Denver Broncos for only two seasons, being sidelined due to a shoulder injury, this did not stop him from pursuing other dreams, including coaching, getting married, and now pursuing a doctorate (Ph.D.) in education. 

The Christian speaker and bestselling author now travels around the world, addressing thousands annually with a message about making positive choices in life. 

Fitzhugh co-founded “The House,” an after-school teen drop-in center in Washington, D.C. that at one time partnered with the Capitol Hill Crisis Pregnancy Center. He developed a school drug and alcohol prevention and cessation program. He also launched PowerMoves to coach listeners to “success and significance” through his talks. He is also the national spokesperson for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ “One Way 2 Play — Drug Free” program.

Fitzhugh challenged the young people in his talk in Ottawa, asking them what they are doing with their chance at life.

When asked if he has any dreams he still wants to accomplish, Fitzhugh responded: “I want to live my life in such a way that my legacy is still impacting lives long after I’m hanging out with Jesus on the other side.”

“That’s my goal — to have an audience of one, to live a life pleasing to my heavenly Father who will one day say, ‘Steve, well done my good and faithful servant, YOU'S MY BOY!”

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Seattle-area district school board instructs teachers to give Islamic blessings

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

SEATTLE, Washington, May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― As Ramadan began, a public school board urged teachers to assist Muslim pupils in adhering to the annual Muslim fast.

According to the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF), Dieringer School District in Washington state has asked teachers to follow guidelines set by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) about Muslim pupils’ religious practices during school hours.

“In March, CAIR submitted an ‘Informative Letter on Upcoming Islamic Holidays and Religious Accommodations’ to Superintendent Judy Martinson,” the FCDF reported.

“Martinson enacted the letter as official district policy when she distributed the letter to school principals, who in turn circulated the letter to all teachers and staff.”   

CAIR lawyer Amanda Misasi had asked that teachers not schedule “tests or important assignments” on two Muslim holy days, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha, that these holidays be added to school calendars, that fasting students be allowed to spend the lunch period in the library, and that teachers welcome Muslim students to the classroom during Ramadan by wishing them “Ramadan Mubarak” (i.e. “Have a blessed celebration”) or “Ramadan Kareem” (i.e. “May Ramadan be generous to you”).  

Misasi also requested facilities for in-school prayer.

“In addition to supporting Muslim students during Ramadan, you can also support Muslim students in your school by accommodating their need for prayer year-round,” she wrote. “One or two of which will typically occur during school hours, depending on the time of year.”

Daniel Piedra, FCDF’s executive director, believes that the instruction to bless Muslim students is a violation of the First Amendment.

“By urging teachers to bless Muslim students in Arabic, the District is running roughshod over the First Amendment’s mandate of government neutrality toward religion,” he wrote.

“A school district would never order teachers to ‘welcome’ Catholic students during Easter with ‘He is risen, alleluia’! Singling out Muslim students for special treatment is blatantly unconstitutional.”

Contacted by a concerned parent, FCDF sent a letter to Martinson saying several of CAIR’s suggestions “implicate serious constitutional questions.” Creating an official  “Ramadan Policy” has a “primary effect of advancing religion,” it said.

Quoting the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, FCDF reminded Martinson that a public school “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. … ”

“The Establishment Clause prohibits schools from singling out one religious sect for preferential treatment; the Free Exercise Clause forbids schools from burdening a student’s sincerely held religious beliefs,” the organization explained.

“The tension between these two prohibitions, as well as the sensitive First Amendment concerns in public schools, has created significant confusion about what educators may and may not do.”

Educators cannot give impressionable children the idea that the school promotes one religion over another, the organization reminded the superintendent.

“School officials must ensure that no policy or practice ‘conveys a message that a particular religion, or a particular religious belief,’ is ‘favored’, ‘preferred’, or ‘promoted’ over other beliefs,’”  FCDF wrote.

“Moreover, families condition their trust on public schools to educate their children ‘on the understanding that the classroom will not purposely be used to advance religious views that may conflict with the private beliefs of the student and his or her family.’”

While objecting with relative mildness to some of CAIR’s requests, FCDF strongly critiqued the idea that teachers should greet Muslim students with “Ramadan Mubarak” or “Ramadan Kareem”

“This recommendation exposes the district to serious government liability under the First Amendment,” the group wrote.

“Exchanging Islamic greetings with Muslim students impermissibly advances and promotes a religious message,” it explained.  

“In cases involving state participation in religious activity, a relevant question is whether an objective observer — here, a non-Muslim student — would perceive the Ramadan Policy’s encouragement of religious greetings as a state endorsement of prayer in public schools.”  

FCDF is also concerned by CAIR’s history of anti-Semitism.

“This case is yet another attempt by CAIR to infiltrate uninformed school districts so it can advance its subversive agenda,” wrote Daniel Piedra.  

“CAIR must not be allowed to indoctrinate impressionable schoolchildren under the guise of ‘diversity’ and ‘cultural awareness.’ FCDF is committed to keeping CAIR out of our America’s public schools.”

FCDF indicated that it would begin legal proceedings against the school board if it did not withdraw its “Ramadan policy.”

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Film companies announce boycott of Georgia to protest new heartbeat abortion law

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By Calvin Freiburger

May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Georgia this week became the latest state to ban abortion upon detection of a fetal heartbeat. In response, a handful of film production companies have announced they’re following through on threats to boycott the state.

House Bill 481 forbids abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected except in cases of rape, incest, physical medical emergencies, and pregnancies deemed “medically futile.” If allowed to take effect, it will ban abortions in all other cases as early as six weeks into a pregnancy starting in January 2020. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed it into law on Tuesday, declaring Georgia a “state that values life” and “stand[s] up for those who are unable to speak for themselves."

While the bill made its way through the legislature, dozens of celebrities and several Hollywood institutions such as the Writers Guild of America threatened to boycott the state if the ban was signed. The film industry has generated considerable jobs and revenue for Georgia’s economy.

Now, several production companies have announced they will refuse to film in Georgia, The Hollywood Reporter reports. Blown Deadline Productions (producer of HBO's The Deuce), Killer Films (First Reformed, Carol, and Vox Lux), Colorforce (Crazy Rich Asians, American Crime Story), CounterNarrative Films (Netflix’s Triple Frontier), and Duplass Brothers Productions (Safety Not Guaranteed, Room 104) are all pledging to boycott the state.

But while Georgia may lose the business of various smaller film and television projects, the bulk of Georgia’s film-related economic activity is unlikely to be affected. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which represents Hollywood’s largest studios, is opting not to boycott, at least for the time being.

“Film and television production in Georgia supports more than 92,000 jobs and brings significant economic benefits to communities and families,” MPAA senior vice president of communications Chris Ortman said. “It is important to remember that similar legislation has been attempted in other states, and has either been enjoined by the courts or is currently being challenged. The outcome in Georgia will also be determined through the legal process. We will continue to monitor developments.”

The Washington Post notes that the most recent fiscal year enjoyed $2.7 billion in direct spending on filming of Hollywood blockbusters such as the Marvel Studios films and popular television series such as The Walking Dead. Georgia is particularly lucrative to filmmakers thanks to substantial tax credits offered by the state.

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Pope Francis attending weekly audience, Rome, March 27, 2019. Franco Origlia/Getty Images
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Pope: Critics would be ‘happy if we had hanged 100 abuser priests in St. Peter’s Square’

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By Diane Montagna
IUSG President Carmen Sammut sits next to Pope Francis. Meeting with IUSG, May 10, 2019.
Pope Francis compliments religious superior from India on her habit. Meeting with IUSG, May 10, 2019.
German superior general poses question to Pope Francis. Meeting with IUSG, May 10, 2019.

ROME, May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — If the Church had “hanged 100 abuser priests in St. Peter’s Square” at last February’s Vatican sex abuse summit, anti-abuse organizations “would have been happy” but it would not have solved the problem, Pope Francis told the International Union of Superiors General on Friday.

In an off-the-cuff address at the Vatican, the Pope also told several hundred women religious that neither secular clothing nor the traditional habit is “worse or better,” and that it all depends on “discernment.”

He also told the sisters that while “the Church is not just Denzinger” — a reference to the author of one of the best-known collections of dogmatic decrees and council definitions — faith and morals develop “in fidelity to Revelation.” He noted, however, that Revelation is “in continual movement to clarify itself” — as evidenced by his change to the Catechism on the death penalty, which he said is now “immoral.”

Meeting the Superior Generals

Entering the Paul VI Audience Hall on Friday morning, to the warm welcome of several hundred women religious from around the world, Pope Francis invited IUSG President Carmen Sammut to sit next to him for the meeting. 

“I never thought I’d be sitting at the right hand of the Father,” Sr. Carmen quipped before offering introductory remarks to the Holy Father on the groups’s plenary meeting this week in Rome.

Setting aside his prepared address, Pope Francis said he preferred to “have a dialogue” with the sisters.

In brief introductory remarks to the assembled religious, he said: “You number 850 from 80 different countries and are diverse. I was thinking of thirty years ago, a meeting with superiors general, each with her own habit. All of them the same in hiding themselves.”

“Today,” he continued, “each one has the habit chosen by the congregation. The modified habit, the traditional habit, a more modern habit, a national habit. I think we’ll give the prize to the superior of Jesus and Mary because she’s really elegant with the Indian habit.” 

Pope Francis thanked the religious for their “work of updating,” which he said is “risky.” 

“Growing is always risky,” he said, “but it’s riskier to get scared and not to grow. Because you don’t see the crisis now, but after you’ll be cowardly, little. Not a baby, an infant which is worse. Thank you for your work.”

The Holy Father then touched briefly on several points the IUSG president had raised in her remarks.

Regarding the clerical abuse crisis, he said: 

The Church’s solutions to the problem of abuse aren’t resolved from one day to another. A process has begun. Yesterday another document came out, and so slowly we are carrying out a process. Because twenty years ago until now we weren’t aware. Now we are becoming aware, with great shame — but blessed shame — shame is a grace of God. But it’s a process. And we have to go forward, forward, in a process step by step by step to resolve this problem. Some of the anti-abuse organizations weren’t happy with the meeting in February. “But, they didn’t do anything,” they say. I understand, there is interior suffering. If we had hanged 100 abuser priests in St. Peter’s Square, they would have been happy, but the problem would not have been resolved. Problems in life are resolved with processes, not occupying spaces.

On the particular problem of the abuse of women religious, he told the IUSG: 

It’s a serious problem. It’s a grave problem. I am aware of it, also here in Rome I am aware of the problems, of the information that arrives. And also not only sexual abuse of women religious, but also the abuse of power, abuse of conscience. We have to fight against this. And also the service that women religious offer: Please, service yes, slavery no. You didn’t become a religious to become the housekeeper for a cleric. No. But on this, let’s help each other. We can say no, but if the superior says yes. All of us together. Slavery, no. Service, yes. You work in the dicasteries, or as an administrator a nunciature, this is okay. But a housekeeper, no. If you are a housekeeper, do as Sisters […] who are nurses or keep house for the sick. This, yes, because it is service. But slavery no. On this, let’s help each other.  

Concerning the female diaconate and findings of the papal commission, he told the assembled women religious: 

On the female diaconate: when you all suggested that I appoint a commission — because the idea was yours — I said yes. I set up the commission. The commission did good work. There were all very able: men and women theologians. The all agreed up to a certain point, then each one had their own ideas. So I will give the President — I will give it to her officially today — the results of the little that everyone agreed on. Then, I have with me the personal report from each one, of ones who wanted to go further, of the ones who wanted to stop there. And this has to be studied, because I cannot make a sacramental decree without a theological, historical foundation. But they worked enough; it’s little, the result isn’t much, but it’s a step ahead. Certainly, there was a form of female diaconate in the beginning, especially in the region of Syria. I said it on the plane: they were assisting with the baptisms, in the cases of dissolving marriages, and the form of ordination was not the sacramental formula. It was, so to say — this is what those who are informed tell me, because I’m not an expert — it was like the abbatial blessing of an abbess is today, a special blessing for deaconesses. We’ll go forward. In time, I could have the members of the commission called to see how to go forward. I will officially give what was common, and I will keep, I have them — if someone is interested, according to the case, I have give them — the personal opinions of each one. But they did a good work, and I’m thankful for this. 

Pope Francis then commented on the broader question of the role of women religious in the Church, saying:  

We have to go forward in the question: what is the work of women, of religious sisters, in the Church, of women and of consecrated women. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s only a functionary work. No. Perhaps it might be — a head of a dicastery. But in Buenos Aires, I had a chancery head – there are many women who are chancery heads. It could be functionary, but it has to go beyond to something that hasn’t been developed, which we have still not understood well. I say the Church is female, the Church is a woman. Someone will say, “yes, this is an image.” No, it’s reality, it’s in the Bible, in the book of the Apocalypse. She is called the “bride” – the “bride” of Jesus. She is a woman. But on this theology of woman we have to go forward. 

The Pope then allowed approximately 40 minutes for questions (view full video in Italian here). The first question (at 20:45) came from a German superior general in a grey pants suit, who stood before the Holy Father and asked:

I am as Franciscan like you are and I’m here together with 850 general superiors and with many sisters who work in all the services of the Church. I speak for many women who wish to live respectfully and to serve the people of God like all other men. And we wish that today, as far as the question of women in the Church is concerned, we would not find the answer only on the basis of history or dogmatics. We also need these sources of Revelation. But we also need Jesus-like power — how Jesus treated women — and the answers we can we find today in the 21st century. I truly pray that you continue to reflect on this together with the commission, that we do not take only historical or dogmatic sources, but what humanity needs today: women, men, the whole people of God.

In his response to the superior general from Germany, the Pope covered topics from the development of doctrine and its application to the death penalty and female diaconate, to the need for “dialogue with the world” and his thoughts on the religious habit.

On the development of doctrine, he said:

It’s true what [the superior general from Germany] says. The Church is not only Denzinger, that is, the collection of dogmatic passages, of historical things. This is true, but the Church develops on her journey in fidelity to Revelation. We cannot change Revelation. It’s true the Revelation develops. The word is “development” — it develops with time. And we with time understand the faith better and better. The way to understand the faith today, after Vatican II, is different than the way of understanding the faith before Vatican II. Why? Because there is a development of knowledge. You are right. And this isn’t something new, because the very nature — the very nature — of Revelation is in continual movement to clarify itself. 

Also the very nature of the moral conscience. For example, today I said clearly that the death penalty is not acceptable — it’s immoral. But, fifty years ago, no. Did the Church change? No. Moral conscience has developed. A development. And the Fathers [of the Church] understood this. In the 800s [actually 400s] there was a French Father, Vincent of Lerins, who coined a nice expression. He says that the knowledge of faith — I’ll say it in Latin, and then I’ll translate it — ut annis consolidetur, dilaetur tempore, sublimeture aetate. That is, it grows with the years. It is continually growing. It doesn’t change, it grows. It expands with time. It is better understood. And with the years it is sublimated. 

If I see that what I think now is in connection with Revelation, it’s all right. But if it is something strange that is not contained in Revelation, also in the field of morals, which is not according to the field of morals, it’s not all right. That is why, in the case of the diaconate, we had to look to see what there was at the beginning of Revelation. And if there was something, let it grow and be clarified. If there wasn’t something, if the Lord didn’t want the sacramental ministry for women, it’s not all right. And for this, let us go to history and to dogma. 

On the need for “dialogue with the world,” he remarked:

I liked very much what mother said, because “it is not only this [i.e. doctrine],” she said. And it’s not only this. There are two more things: the first is dialogue with the world we live in. A living dialogue. And this dialogue with the world provokes new situations that require new responses. But these responses have to be in harmony with Revelation. 

Dialogue. First there is development of the faith and of morals. I explained that: always with a foundation. Second, the harmony with Revelation in dialogue. Don’t be afraid to dialogue; it’s important. 

And the third thing is witness. And on this point, I think it is more important what the mother said, she mentioned it somewhat: the need for witness. Therefore, it’s true: not only dogmatics. With Denzinger, we go nowhere in concrete life. We know what the truth is, we know what the dogma is, but how do we face this, how do we make this grow is another thing. Denzinger helps us, because the whole of dogmatics is there — all of it. But we have continually to grow. 

Regarding the religious habit, Francis said:

I had referred to your habit. Some say: “But you have changed the habit. You have ruined the consecrated life.” Not at all. In the dialogue with the world, each congregation saw how it was better to express their own charism, to express themselves. And this one (pointing to the women religious) who doesn’t have a habit. This one has that kind of habit. That one has another. Neither one is worse or better. Every congregation carries out its own discernment. 

And with this I come to the key word: to discern. We need to discern. It’s not all black or white, or even grey. It’s all a journey. It’s all a journey. But let’s walk on the right road, the road of Revelation. We cannot walk on another road. 

Pope Francis concluded his remark to the German superior general saying:

I don’t know if I responded to all the nuances in mother’s question, but I think that this works as a response. It’s true, not only dogmatic definitions and historic things will help. Not only. But we cannot go beyond Revelation and dogmatic expressions. 

You understand this? We are Catholics, eh? If someone wants to create another Church, he’s free. 

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Oregon parents sue school over teacher’s unwanted ‘transgender’ lessons to 8-year-old son

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By Calvin Freiburger

MARION COUNTY, Oregon, May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Two parents in Oregon have filed a million-dollar lawsuit against Woodburn School District over a second-grade teacher they say took it upon himself to give their eight-year-old son one-on-one gender lessons after erroneously assuming the boy was transgendered.

The Nellie Muir Elementary School student had special permission to use a staff restroom due to a digestive condition, but a female teacher allegedly noticed him entering the restroom and assumed it was due to gender discomfort, the Salem Statesman Journal reported. The lawsuit alleges that the teacher pulled the boy out of recess to show him videos and books "in an effort to promote (him) becoming transgender.”

The teacher allegedly developed a lesson plan without any authorization from the school district in April 2018, keeping him alone in a classroom and not letting him go to recess until he got through various videos and books. The materials included the book I Am Jazz and episodes of the TV series of the same name, as well as Who are You? The Kid's Guide to Gender Identity.

The materials came recommended by an "unknown non-school employee transgender individual," according to the lawsuit.

This went on for three sessions over the course of a week, at the end of which the teacher told the boy to share the books with his parents, who were extremely shocked to find out that she would expose (their son) to various sexual concepts, such as the difference between male and female body parts," according to their attorney, Edgar Diaz. The teacher’s actions "constituted an extraordinary transgression of bound of socially tolerable conduct."

They filed a complaint with the school, which attempted to dismiss it on the grounds that "If this happened in Portland, it would not be a big deal." The school found that the teacher had pulled the boy from normal activities and shared “potentially controversial” materials with him without his parents’ consent, but merely recommended that the teacher abide by the school’s “controversial issues” policy and notify parents of future decisions to alter a student’s day.

The lawsuit is seeking damages for false imprisonment, negligence, and emotional distress, and says the ordeal has given the boy gender distress rather than resolving any, including confusion that he might become a girl and an aversion to “girl-related” activities. He is also in counseling for depression, aggression, and isolation, and “has also become afraid of attending his current school, seeing (the teacher) and using the boys' bathroom.”

A year after the incident, the boy still has not healed, Fox 12 reported. “He feels different now, he feels confused. To hear your son say that … on a couch talking to a therapist, holding back tears – it’s very heartbreaking,” his mother said (his parents are remaining anonymous to protect their son’s privacy). “Still today, a year later, if he plays with my niece, he’s a girl in that moment … if he plays with my nephew, he’s a boy.”

Even if the child had started out gender-confused, the teacher’s intervention likely would have done more harm than good. Studies indicate that between 80 percent to 90 percent of children experiencing gender confusion outgrow it on their own by late adolescence, and that even full gender “reassignment” surgery often fails to resolve gender-confused individuals’ heightened tendency to engage in self-harm and suicide.

According to board-certified endocrinologist Dr. Michael Laidlaw, I Am Jazz’s claims that transgender children such as Jennings are “born this way” and have “girl brains” are contradicted by established research and medical knowledge, and it omits key details that would complicate the narrative, such as Jennings suffering from depression and taking hormone blockers, and is likely to be permanently infertile and incapable of any sexual sensation due to his “treatment.”

The lawsuit is seeking $79,999 to pay for current and future therapy and other medical treatment, as well as $920,000 for mental and emotional damages. The school district says it will not comment on an ongoing lawsuit, but the parents say the teacher is still working at the school.

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Thomas Cardinal Collins gives a homily at St. Patrick's Basilica in Ottawa prior to the National March for Life, May 9, 2019. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
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WATCH: Cardinal explains why it’s ‘essential’ to begin March for Life with Mass

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By Pete Baklinski
National March for Life, Ottawa, May 9, 2019. Pete Baklinski /
National March for Life, Ottawa, Canada, May 9, 2019. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
National March for Life, Ottawa, Canada, May 9, 2019. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews

OTTAWA, May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Toronto's Cardinal Thomas Collins told Canadians gathered for a pro-life Mass in the nation’s capital prior to the March for Life that “fruitful” action will only arise from a genuine relationship with the risen Jesus. The same was true for the apostles almost 2,000 years ago, he said. 

“The readings of Easter season from the Gospel of John remind us that the foundation of apostolic action must be recognition of the risen Lord. Fruitful apostolic action arises out of that recognition, ‘it is the Lord,’” he said during his May 9 homily at St. Patrick’s Basilica in downtown Ottawa.

Cardinal Collins pointed out that this encounter with Jesus, as chronicled in the New Testament, led the apostles to accomplish “vigorous and creative goals.”

“It is the Acts of the Apostles, not the dreams of the apostles, or the wishes of the apostles, or the thoughts and plans of the apostles. It is the Acts of the Apostles: A boldness and action that rises out of that contemplative encounter with Jesus who sends us on our mission,” he said. 

Just as “seeing the Lord” led to “action” for the apostles, the Cardinal said, so too must it be for pro-life advocates who seek justice for the preborn targeted by abortion.

“That is why it is absolutely essential that we begin the March for Life today with mass,” he said. He added later that “our action arises out of our encounter with our risen Lord in the Eucharist.”

The Cardinal said that a relationship with the risen Lord will lead to actions such as helping “uninformed people” whose “reason has been clouded by the fog of misinformation being pumped out by the secular elite in our society” to move them “where they need to be.”

He specifically mentioned pro-abortion activists in this regard, who annually “scream and shout” in an attempt to disrupt the peaceful March for Life.

“Words will not move them, at least not yet. And so we need to pray for them and silently witness. This is not a noisy rally in which we fire slogans back at those who fire slogans at us. Please, let us abstain from that, let's not get into that game. No. For those who are hostile, a silent prayer for witness is what is called for. It is much more powerful and effective than a volley of words,” he said. 

Cardinal Collins noted how every opponent that pro-life advocates may encounter throughout the day is a potential ally through the grace of God. 

“We must especially recognize that we are simply servants of God who loves those who oppose us, and those who attack us, and those who espouse destructive approaches to life. This calls us constantly to fervent and silent prayer for them — and fasting — for those who have that view,” he said. 

“Remember, Saul approved of the killing of Stephen and went on attacking Christians, imprisoning them, killing them, until on the road to Damascus, God broke through even his hardness of heart. Every opponent we encounter is a potential ‘Saul’ bent by God's grace to be transformed into ‘Saint Paul,’” he added. 

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Hundreds of pro-lifers rally in Philadelphia to call out Democrat ‘bully’ Brian Sims

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By Calvin Freiburger

SIGN THE PETITION: Pennsylvania lawmaker must resign for attacking pro-lifers. Sign the petition here.

PHILADELPHIA, May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A lineup of leading pro-life advocates gathered in Philadelphia Friday morning outside of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility where State Rep. Brian Sims filmed himself berating peaceful pro-life activists, including teen girls.

Over the weekend, the Pennsylvania Democrat posted a video in which he followed a woman who was quietly walking and praying a rosary, attempted to shove his phone in her face, and repeatedly called her her “shameful,” “disgusting,” “racist,” and an “old white lady.”

Another of Sims’ videos shows him approaching three girls outside Planned Parenthood, who he calls “a bunch of pseudo-Christian protesters who’ve been out here shaming young girls for being here,” then offers “$100 to anybody who will identify these three.” Afterward he approaches a male protester and asks, “What makes you think it’s your job to tell women what to do with their bodies?” But before the man can answer, Sims declares, “The truth is, I’m not really asking, because I don’t care. Shame on you,” and walks away.

The videos sparked an intense critical response online, with conservative commentator Matt Walsh proposing a pro-life rally outside the abortion center to “show Sims and everyone else that we are not going to sit back submissively while pro-lifers are abused for speaking out in defense of the unborn.”

The idea quickly caught on, and Live Action got involved to organize it in a matter of days, with “hundreds” turning out according to NBC Philadelphia.

Live Action founder Lila Rose spoke throughout the rally, introducing the speakers as well as delivering her own remarks. “We invited Brian Sims here today to listen to another point of view,” she noted, but Sims did not attend. “This threatening, menacing behavior, has yet to be any member of the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania,” she added, before the crowd erupted into chants of “resign now.”

“Do not tell me Planned Parenthood cares for women,” Rose declared, encouraging listeners to get involved in sidewalk counseling themselves. “We are here because we know women deserve better.”

Dr. Monique Ruberu, an OB/GYN and local 40 Days for Life campaign leader, spoke of the importance of sidewalk counseling to saving lives and giving women in crisis the help they need, with over 50 confirmed instances of Philadelphia efforts saving lives. “Sadly, we also know that when we aren’t present, there’s nothing but silence. Nobody to offer resources. Nobody to offer love, nobody to offer support.”

“We’re not here to rebuke people, to harass people, we’re here to love,” she said. “To love the moms, to love the babies, to love the workers, to love the abortionist, to love the sidewalk escorts, even those who persecute us.”

Richara Krajewski, a board member of the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia, emphasized the disconnect between how the abortion lobby conducts itself and its claims to racial sensitivity.

“Real racism is co-opting the language of liberation,” she said. “Real racism is a so-called white ally telling us we need to choose between our dreams and our babies,” the “idea that older white women cannot care for black or brown women,” and “advocating for the annihilation of someone whose value it not apparent to you.”

“Mr. Sims, we will not stop coming here to pray,” Krajewski declared. “I believe that not only does everyone have a right to life, but I have the right to stand here and offer hope to others.”

Ashley Garecht, the mother of two of the girls seen in the video, told the crowd how she was always pro-life yet initially skeptical of the impact of sidewalk counseling before being exposed to the work of Abby Johnson. “We are here to witness the tangible fruit of incredible effort,” she said. “God is working in incredible ways.”

“About ten blocks from where we stand is the house where James Madison lived,” she continued. “This city is where the self-evident, unalienable right to life was first declared. And our forefathers believed in our right to liberty so strongly that they specifically enumerated our rights in our Constitution. And no one, not even an elected official, can take that away from us.”

Walsh took the podium later, expressing gratitude that “we’re not merely complaining right now,” but “decided to do something...We’re here putting skin in the game right now, saying to the pro-life activists on the front lines right now that they are not alone.”

Walsh hoped that the turnout helped Sims understand that “if you try to shut us up we’re only going to get louder...because we know that our cause is just...I know why you use scare tactics, [because] that’s all you have. I can tell you why babies should not be killed [as can rest of audience]. Can you look us in the eyes and tell us why babies should be killed?”

Toni McFadden, founder of the Relationships Matter ministry, came to share her story of post-abortion healing, from an abortion clinic nurse who told her that her baby was “nothing” and “just the size of a pea,” to the “excruciating pain” she suffered two months after taking RU-486, to her boyfriend abandoning her and her fall into despair.

But years later, with the help of a friend who got her involved in a campus Bible study, God “saved my soul.” What’s more, God healed her boyfriend as well, and they reconnected, married, and now have four children. “We have a God that redeems,” McFadden declared.

Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood insider-turned-pro-life leader, told the crowd that her takeaway from watching Sims videos was, “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen someone who needs Jesus more than that man. We’re going to pray for him. But we’re also going to stand up.

“I can’t believe he didn’t show up today, he got the invitation from me several times alone,” she quipped. “But he didn’t stand up, because it is cowardly to defend death; it is courageous to defend life.” While the event was sparked by Sims’ treatment of pro-life activists, Johnson took the opportunity to remind the crowd that it was “nothing compared to what those little children go through inside.”

“This battle is not gonna be won in the halls of Congress,” she claimed. “It’s not gonna be won in the White House. It’s gonna be won in the sidewalks.”

Lauren Muzyka, executive director of Sidewalk Advocates for Life, noted that it was apparent from Sims’ own video that the pro-lifers he harassed were peaceful, and took the opportunity to stress the fact that this particular Planned Parenthood location has failed 13 of its last 23 patient safety inspections, with offenses ranging from neglecting to do background checks on employees to failing to report child sex abuse.

“Fine medical facility you have here Planned Parenthood; they are very pro-women,” she said sarcastically. “We call on Brian Sims to resign. And Mr. Sims, you owe an the elderly grandmother, to the women, to the minor children you harassed.”

State Republican Party chairman Val DiGiorgio has requested that U.S. attorney William McSwain, Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro, and Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner open criminal investigations into Sims for “intimidation and harassment.” Krasner’s office confirmed that it is reviewing the request.

Sims at first responded to his critics with defiance, challenging “Bible Bullies’ to “bring it” because he “see[s] right through” the “fake morals” and “broken values” of “bigots, sexists, and misogynists.” On Tuesday, he admitted only to being overly “aggressive” while continuing to frame pro-lifers as “harassers.”

The power of praying outside abortion clinics | The Van Maren Show

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Abby Johnson calls out Brian Sims: ‘We are not going to be bullied’

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SIGN THE PETITION: Pennsylvania lawmaker must resign for attacking pro-lifers. Sign the petition here.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Former Planned Parenthood director turned pro-life activist Abby Johnson was one of several women to address the cheering crowd at Live Action’s rally at an abortion facility in Philadelphia today. The rally was held in response to Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims’ harassing of peaceful pro-life protestors at the same location.

Johnson told the cheering crowd that even though she invited Sims to the event, she couldn’t believe he didn’t show up. “He got the invitation several times from me alone.”

“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anybody that needs Jesus more than that man right there,” she stated. 

Johnson, who asked the crowd to pray for Sims, said the real reason he didn’t come is because “it is cowardly to defend death” but “courageous to defend life.”

Echoing what she said just a day earlier at the Canadian March for Life, Johnson said, “We are not going to continue to be bullied as pro-lifers. I am sick of this idea that just because we are Christians we cannot stand up and defend ourselves, that we cannot stand up and defend our unborn brothers and sister. We are going to stand up. We will continue to speak up day after day after day.” We have to “turn our prayers into action.”

Johnson concluded her remark by saying that the pro-life “battle” is “not going to be won in the halls of Congress. It is not going to be won in the White House. It’s going to be won right here, on these sidewalks where abortions are taking place. Because our goal must not be to simply make abortion illegal. Our goal is to make abortion unthinkable.”

Johnson recently appeared on LifeSite's The Van Maren Show podcast. Listen below.

The Van Maren Show is hosted on numerous platforms, including SpotifySoundCloudYouTubeiTunes and Google Play.

For a full listing of episodes, and to subscribe via various channels, visit our webpage here.

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Orphans from the Armenian Genocide of the early 20th century.
Raymond Ibrahim

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Remembering the forgotten Armenian Genocide of 1019 AD

Raymond Ibrahim
By Raymond Ibrahim

May 10, 2019 (American Thinker) — Last April 24 was Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Millions of Armenians around the world remembered how the Islamic Ottoman Empire killed — often cruelly and out of religious hatred — some 1.5 million of their ancestors during World War I. 

Ironically, most people, including most Armenians, are unaware that the first genocide of Christian Armenians at the hands of Muslim Turks did not occur in the twentieth century. Rather, it began in 1019 — exactly one thousand years ago this year — when Turks first began to pour into and transform a then much larger Armenia into what it is today, the eastern portion of modern-day Turkey.

Thus, in 1019, "the first appearance of the bloodthirsty beasts ... the savage nation of infidels called Turks entered Armenia ... and mercilessly slaughtered the Christian faithful with the sword," writes Matthew of Edessa (d. 1144), a chief source for this period. Three decades later, the raids were virtually nonstop. In 1049, the founder of the Turkic Seljuk Empire himself, Sultan Tughril Bey (r. 1037–1063), reached the unwalled city of Arzden, west of Lake Van, and "put the whole town to the sword, causing severe slaughter, as many as one hundred and fifty thousand persons."

After thoroughly plundering the city — which reportedly contained eight hundred churches — he ordered it set ablaze and turned into a desert. Arzden was "filled with bodies," and none "could count the number of those who perished in the flames." The invaders "burned priests whom they seized in the churches and massacred those whom they found outside. They put great chunks of pork in the hands of the undead to insult us" — Muslims deem the pig unclean — "and made them objects of mockery to all who saw them."

Eight hundred oxen and forty camels were required to cart out the vast plunder, mostly taken from Arzden's churches. "How to relate here, with a voice stifled by tears, the death of nobles and clergy whose bodies, left without graves, became the prey of carrion beasts, the exodus of women ... led with their children into Persian slavery and condemned to an eternal servitude! That was the beginning of the misfortunes of Armenia," laments Matthew. "So, lend an ear to this melancholy recital."

Contemporaries confirm the devastation visited upon Arzden. "Like famished dogs," writes Aristakes (d. 1080), an eyewitness, "bands of infidels hurled themselves on our city, surrounded it and pushed inside, massacring the men and mowing everything down like reapers in the fields, making the city a desert. Without mercy, they incinerated those who had hidden themselves in houses and churches."

Similarly, during the Turkic siege of Sebastia (modern-day Sivas) in 1060, six hundred churches were destroyed, and "many [more] maidens, brides, and distinguished ladies were led into captivity to Persia." Another raid on Armenian territory saw "many and innumerable people who were burned [to death]." The atrocities are too many for Matthew to recount, and he frequently ends in resignation:

Who is able to relate the happenings and ruinous events which befell the Armenians, for everything was covered with blood[.] ... Because of the great number of corpses, the land stank, and all of Persia was filled with innumerable captives; thus this whole nation of beasts became drunk with blood. All human beings of Christian faith were in tears and in sorrowful affliction, because God our creator had turned away His benevolent face from us.

Nor was there much doubt concerning what fueled the Turks' animus: "This nation of infidels comes against us because of our Christian faith and they are intent on destroying the ordinances of the worshippers of the cross and on exterminating the Christian faithful," one David, head of an Armenian region, explained to his countrymen. Therefore, "it is fitting and right for all the faithful to go forth with their swords and to die for the Christian faith." Many were of the same mind; records tell of monks and priests, fathers, wives, and children, all shabbily armed but zealous to protect their way of life, coming out to face the invaders — to little avail.

Anecdotes of faith-driven courage also permeate the chronicles. During the first Turkic siege of Manzikert in 1054, when a massive catapult pummeled and caused its walls to quake, a Catholic Frank holed up in with the Orthodox Armenians volunteered to sacrifice himself: "I will go forth and burn down that catapult, and today my blood shall be shed for all the Christians, for I have neither wife nor children to weep over me." The Frank succeeded and returned to gratitude and honors. Adding insult to injury, the defenders catapulted a pig into the Muslim camp while shouting, "O sultan [Tughril], take that pig for your wife, and we will give you Manzikert as a dowry!" "Filled with anger, Tughril had all Christian prisoners in his camp ritually decapitated."

Between 1064 and 1065, Tughril's successor, Sultan Muhammad bin Dawud Chaghri — known to posterity as Alp Arslan, a Turkish honorific meaning "Heroic Lion" — "going forth full of rage and with a formidable army," laid siege to Ani, the fortified capital of Armenia, then a great and populous city. The thunderous bombardment of Muhammad's siege engines caused the entire city to quake, and Matthew describes countless terror-stricken families huddled together and weeping.

Once inside, the Islamic Turks — reportedly armed with two knives in each hand and an extra in their mouths — "began to mercilessly slaughter the inhabitants of the entire city ... and piling up their bodies one on top of the other[.] ... Beautiful and respectable ladies of high birth were led into captivity into Persia. Innumerable and countless boys with bright faces and pretty girls were carried off together with their mothers."

The most savage treatment was always reserved for those visibly proclaiming their Christianity: clergy and monks "were burned to death, while others were flayed alive from head to toe." Every monastery and church — before this, Ani was known as "the City of 1,001 Churches" — was pillaged, desecrated, and set aflame. A zealous jihadi climbed atop the city's main cathedral "and pulled down the very heavy cross which was on the dome, throwing it to the ground," before entering and defiling the church. Made of pure silver and the "size of a man" — and now symbolic of Islam's might over Christianity, the broken crucifix was sent as a trophy to adorn a mosque in modern-day Azerbaijan.

Not only do several Christian sources document the sack of Armenia's capital — one contemporary succinctly notes that Muhammad "rendered Ani a desert by massacres and fire" — but so do Muslim sources, often in apocalyptic terms: "I wanted to enter the city and see it with my own eyes," one Arab explained. "I tried to find a street without having to walk over the corpses. But that was impossible."

Such is an idea of what Muslim Turks did to Christian Armenians — not during the Armenian Genocide of a century ago, but exactly one thousand years ago, starting in 1019, when the Turkic invasion and subsequent colonization of Armenia began.

Even so, and as an example of surreal denial, Turkey's foreign minister, capturing popular Turkish sentiment, recently announced, "We [Turks] are proud of our history because our history has never had any genocides. And no colonialism exists in our history."

Note: The first Turkic invasion of Armenia (and others) is documented in Raymond Ibrahim's recent book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West. American Thinker reviews of the book can be read here and here.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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California faculty votes to boot Chick-fil-A off campus, compares Christian chain to selling porn

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By Calvin Freiburger

SAN LUIS OBISPO, California, May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The faculty of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to recommend expelling Chick-fil-A from campus, with one of the school’s leaders drawing a bizarre moral equivalence between the Christian food chain and other unsavory practices.

Chick-fil-A has had a location on campus for 25 years, but on Tuesday 38 of Cal Poly’s academic senate’s 44 members voted to recommend terminating it, SF Gate reports.

"We don't sell pornography in the bookstore and we don't have a Hooters on campus — we already pre-select those kind of things based on our existing values," academic senate Vice Chair Thomas Gutierrez said. "This is a similar thing, the difference is we're actually profiting from this. So our money, every dollar a student is spending at Chick-Fil-A, is going to these causes that are in violation of our values."

Chick-fil-A is famously operated on the Christian principles of its national leadership, including closing on Sundays, listing “to glorify God” as part of its corporate purpose, and its active charitable arm. For years, liberals have advocated boycotting the chain due to CEO Dan Cathy’s stated opposition to same-sex “marriage” and the company’s donations to social conservative groups such as Family Research Council and Focus on the Family.

University spokesman Matt Lazier endorsed the faculty’s premise that Chick-fil-A was “intolerant,” but disagreed with their conclusion of what to do about it.

"While university administration passionately disagrees with the values of some of the organizations the president of Chick-fil-A has chosen to make personal donations to, we do not believe in responding to intolerance with intolerance," Lazier said. "Rather, we must model our values of inclusion – that means upholding the rights of others to have different perspectives and ensuring there is space in our community for differing viewpoints and ideologies, even those that may be in direct conflict with our own."

Despite pro-LGBT activists’ common insinuations that the company’s Christian conservatism translates to “excluding” or otherwise mistreating anyone, many homosexual employees and customers have attested to positive, welcoming experiences with Chick-fil-A.

Should the faculty ultimately convince Cal Poly’s administration to remove Chick-fil-A, it would also require canceling a five-year contract extension chain and the school signed in 2018. The academic senate argues the cost of doing so would be worth it, to ensure that “(business) partners are held to the same high diversity and inclusion standards of as the rest of the campus community."

Despite hostility from activists, academia, and local governments, Chick-fil-A continues to thrive. The company’s sales have tripled over the past decade, the Wall Street Journal reports, and now it’s poised to take its place as the third-largest restaurant chain in the United States, just behind McDonald’s and Starbucks.

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Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin

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Pope Francis issues law requiring clergy, religious to report sex abuse

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By Martin Barillas

ROME, May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis on Thursday issued an apostolic letter that requires all priests and other religious to report to their superiors any credible accusations of clerical sexual abuse and cover-ups.

The Pope’s motu proprio is titled “You are the Light of the World” (Vos estis lux mundi), which is taken from the Gospel of Matthew and makes mandated reporters of the more than 415,000 priests and more than 700,000 religious women around the world. The document requires them to inform Church authorities when they become aware or have “well-founded motives to believe” that a member of the clergy or a female religious has sexually abused a minor or possessed child pornography, or when a superior has covered up any such crimes. It does not require that they report allegations to civil authorities.

The new law further provides whistleblower protections for those reporting on sexual abuse while also requiring dioceses to put systems into place by June 2020 to receive confidential allegations. Another key point in the new document is that it provides procedures for pursuing investigations when the accused is a bishop, cardinal, or religious superior. In the past, victims and accusers have complained that investigations against the hierarchy have languished, as was the case with the now disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada, who leads the Vatican office for bishops, gave an interview to accompany the release of the new law. According to the AP, he said: “We have said for years that priests must conform to certain strict rules, so why shouldn’t bishops and others in the hierarchy do the same?” Cardinal Ouellet added, “It’s not just a law, but a profound responsibility.”

Following the annus horribilis of 2018, which saw the laicization of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick among other scandals, Pope Francis is taking further steps to combat clerical abuse while emphasizing concrete action. The pope says at the beginning of the apostolic letter, “In order that these phenomena, in all their forms, never happen again, a continuous and profound conversion of hearts is needed, attested by concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church.”

Pope Francis recalled in the document that “crimes of sexual abuse offend Our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful.” He called on the clergy to fight these crimes, in what is seen as a result of the February 2019 Meeting on the Protection of Minors held in the Vatican.

While the new law does not require clerics and religious sisters to report allegations to police, it does require that they obey local civil reporting requirements. It also indicates that reporting to Church authorities should in no way interfere with a civil requirement and provides universal norms, which apply to the whole Catholic Church.

The new law is procedural and not criminal in nature. It can be applied retroactively, thus requiring clerics and sisters to report old cases of sexual misconduct and cover-ups. In years past, reporting was a matter of conscience for clerics and religious. With the new motu proprio, it becomes Church law.

That said, the new law does not prescribe any punishments for failure to report abuse, and there are no sanctions so far for dioceses that fail to comply. However, failure to comply could bring about accusations of negligence or cover-up. The new norms “apply without prejudice to the rights and obligations established in each place by state laws, particularly those concerning any reporting obligations to the competent civil authorities.”

The motu proprio defines reportable sex crimes as sex acts with minor or vulnerable persons; forcing adults “by violence or threat or through abuse of authority, to perform or submit to sexual acts”; and child pornography. The document defines a cover-up as “actions or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid” civil or canonical investigations.

Violence against novices and seminarians must also be reported. Although the word “seminarian” does not appear in the document, Cardinal Ouellet explained that “in addition to the abuses against minors and vulnerable adults, it also refers to molestation or violence through abuse of authority: this means that cases of the abuse of religious by clerics, or abuse of seminarians or novices by their superiors are also included in the regulations.”

The pope also required that victims must be given support by the Church hierarchy, as well as assistance that includes medical, psychological, and spiritual guidance. Financial reparations are not contemplated in the document.

When there are claims of sexual misdeeds or cover-up laid against a bishop, religious superior, or Eastern Rite patriarch, they must be reported to the Holy See and the metropolitan bishop, who has responsibilities beyond the geographic area of his dioceses alone. Unless the metropolitan finds that a claim is “manifestly unfounded,” he must immediately ask permission from the Vatican to begin an investigation. The new law requires a turnaround response from the Vatican within an unprecedented 30 days — unusual for the remarkably lethargic Vatican bureaucracy. Then the metropolitan has 90 days to conduct an initial investigation, subject to extension. Lay experts can be consulted by the bishops investigating abuse.

Once the metropolitan’s investigation is brought to a close, it is sent to the Vatican for instructions. Procedures already exist for further investigation of and sanctions on bishops. The law requires Vatican offices to share information, despite a centuries-old tradition of files and authority jealously guarded by the various congregations and dicasteries.

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Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin

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California Dept of Education passes obscene K–12 sex ed over parent protest

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By Martin Barillas

SACRAMENTO, May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Despite appeals from pro-family organizations, the California Department of Education approved on Wednesday controversial changes to the state’s health and sex education framework. 

The department ignored large protests mounted by concerned parents and taxpayers, unanimously approving guidelines for teaching courses to elementary school grades about sexual orientation, sex-trafficking, and LGBTQ doctrine. The meeting in Sacramento, the state capital, focused on revisions to the state’s sexually explicit Health Education Framework, which makes recommendations for the state’s K–12 public school health curriculum for the next ten years.

Before the meeting, about 200 people rallied at Capitol Park to denounce the revisions of the framework. Stephanie Yates of Informed Parents of California asked, “How are they helping kids find themselves when they are confusing them about who they are, or they could possibly be nothing at all.” Her organization was founded in 2018 and now has more than 20,000 members on Facebook. Filling the lobby at the building where the Board was meeting, members of the public acclaimed Yates while watching her on a live feed as she said the new revisions include pornography and political maneuvering. “This stuff should be taught at home,” she said, according to the AP.

Informed Parents of California is organizing demonstrations at local offices of the Department of Education in each of the counties across the state on the morning of May 17. The group’s flyers proclaim to state bureaucrats, "They serve us, not the other way around. They cannot use our children for their sociopolitical agendas. We will stop at nothing to protect our children." Participants are being asked to keep their children home from school that day.

The revisions have received support from the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.

Speaking for the Department of Education and echoing Planned Parenthood talking points, Kindra Britt said, “After rising levels of sexually transmitted diseases in teenagers nationwide, this framework was created to help provide necessary education to ensure that students are equipped to make informed and educated decisions when it comes to their sexual health.” Britt also said the revisions were designed to “take the needs of our LGBTQ youth into consideration to make sure they felt safe and supported while at school.”

According to the approved framework, children as young as five may be taught about transgenderism and gender identity. In middle school, teen students will be asked to talk about masturbation, while high school teens will have textbooks that offer advice on anal sex. While the framework does not mandate that specific topics be addressed, it does offer support to teachers to do address them. According to the AP, Samuel Garrett-Pate of the homosexualist organization Equality California said, “Too often LGBTQ students in particular don’t receive information during sex education that teaches them about healthy practices.” The AP quoted Yates of Informed Parents California: “It’s not the birds and the bees. It’s not biological anymore. It’s not sex ed. It’s sexuality education.”

One of the books that has galvanized parents in opposition is titled “S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties.” Despite its depictions of sado-masochism, bondage, anal sex, and other buggery, Stephanie Gregson of the state Department of Education told the AP: “It’s an award-winning book that speaks to all of the different types of relationships that our students are engaging in.” That book and several other resources were dropped from the framework but are still not banned in the classroom. Some teachers have expressed concern over going against their conscience and that they could lose their jobs if they do not use the pronouns preferred by transgender students.

“Parents did not sign up for this type of sexual indoctrination,” said Jonathan Keller, president of the California Family Council, according to a statement on the group’s website. “The state of California should not force moms and dads to choose between participating in public school and protecting their children’s innocence. No student needs to be exposed to this graphic and explicit material. It’s child abuse.”

Several organizations have called the revisions and suggested materials “sexually explicit,” “obscene,” “offensive, reckless, and immoral.” Students are allowed to opt out of lessons about sexual health, but they are obligated to attend classes on LGBTQ issues including gender identity and discrimination, as well as same-sex “marriage,” and explain social issues such as the Supreme Court ruling on marriage. “Our priority is to make all children feel comfortable at school,” said the Department of Education in a statement, adding, “Dispelling myths, breaking down stereotypes and linking students to resources can help prevent bullying, self-harm, feelings of hopelessness, and serious considerations of suicide.”

Signed into law in 2016, the California Healthy Youth Act mandates that students in public middle and high schools must receive comprehensive sexual health and HIV prevention education. It also allows the teaching of these issues to elementary school students.

This article has been updated.

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Abby Johnson at the National March for Life, Ottawa, Canada, May 9, 2019. Pete Baklinski / LifeSiteNews
Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne

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Abby Johnson to Canada March for Life: ‘Stop being so dang polite’ in abortion fight

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By Lianne Laurence

OTTAWA, May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Abortion won’t end in Canada until pro-life advocates stand up and say enough is enough, Abby Johnson said at the March for Life rally Thursday.

The author of Unplanned and former Planned Parenthood abortion facility manager exhorted the thousands of people on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill to “be not afraid.”

“One thing I have learned in Canada: you are the most polite people in the world,” Johnson said.

“You gotta stop being so dang polite. Life is on the line. Children are being killed, dismembered in their mothers’ wombs. There is nothing polite about abortion, and it is time for us to stop cowering to the liberal media, to your Liberal parliament. Enough is enough.”

The March for Life marks 50 years since abortion was legalized in Canada, and an estimated 4 million children have been aborted in the country in the half-century since then.

There are now 300 abortions a day in Canada, which has no law restricting abortion.

Johnson’s book Unplanned tells how she walked out of Planned Parenthood after witnessing an ultrasound abortion of a 13-week-old unborn child.

She is now a Catholic, 37 weeks pregnant with her eighth child, and the founder of And Then There Were None, a proactive ministry to abortion workers, with Unplanned adapted into a hit movie that has inspired many Americans to reject abortion and take up the pro-life cause.

Johnson, a Texan, did not spare media, Christians, or pro-lifers in a bracing address that was often interrupted by roars of approval from the crowd.

To the media “that may be tempted to spend the bulk of their time … giving attention to the people over there, the vile protesters with their vile signs who are defending killing the most defenseless among us,” Johnson pointed out that wasn’t the real story.

“It is time to stand up to the media who will try to silence is us, who will try to take away our freedom of speech, enough is enough.”

To Christians and their leaders, Johnson said: “It is time for us to stop cowering in our Christian churches.”

“We need a radical spiritual conversion in Canada, and that is going to start in the church. And my question to the clergy who are here today: what are you afraid of?” said Johnson.

“We are waiting to hear your voices from the pulpit. We are waiting for you to lead on this issue,” she said to huge cheers.

Johnson invoked the words of Pope Saint John Paul II: “Be not afraid.”

“If abortion is going to end, it is not going to end in the halls of Parliament,” she said.

“It is going to end because each one of you raised your voices and said enough. No more death, no more evil. Not on our watch.”

She emphasized that it’s essential that pro-lifers pray, but they must also act.

“It is time to break free from the fear that binds us. To heck with the repercussions. It is time to use our voices and act, and don’t stand there and tell me that I’m going to pray for an end to abortion; you better pray, and you better do something with that prayer,” said Johnson to loud applause.

She also said the movie Unplanned would make it to Canada.

Lisa Wheeler, co-producer of the movie, said in a press conference Wednesday the producers had effectively been blocked from distributing the film in Canada.

“It’s coming, I promise,” Johnson told the rally Thursday.

“It’s time for the nation, it is time for the world, to see what I saw. It’s time for the nation to know that because of the radical mercy of Jesus Christ we are forgiven.”

The impact of the Unplanned has “been amazing,” Johnson told EWTN’s Kevin Dunn.

“We’re over a month out, and I’m still waking up to messages from people saying ‘I walked into the film pro-choice, I walked out pro-life,’” she said.

“I’m getting messages from women who went into the film who were considering abortion…then walked out and chose life for their children,” added Johnson.

“We’ve had about two dozen abortion workers contacting our ministry And Then There Were None, finding hope in Christ, and healing,” she said.

“So I mean the miracles, they just keep coming. They keep happening, and that’s the power of God.”

The National March for Life is Canada’s largest pro-life event and is organized by Campaign Life Coalition, the national pro-life, pro-family political lobbying group.

The event continues today with an all-day youth conference.

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Big Tech’s separate and unequal treatment of Christians and conservatives

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By Ryan Bomberger

May 10, 2019 (Radiance Foundation) — Big Tech always preaches about treating people equally, but the tech companies never do. Funny how their "algorithms" never seem to suspend liberals' accounts. The religion of Inclusion is a fraud. As I write this, my organization's Twitter account (@LifeHasPurpose) has been suspended for over two weeks for violating their cardinal rule — don't tweet the truth.

On April 13th we responded to Representative Ilhan Omar's (D) outrageous diminishment of 9-11 in a speech to CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) saying "some people did something." CAIR has been designated, by the way, as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates. Twitter absurdly accused us of "hateful conduct" for these words: "She describes an act of war as 'some people did something'? #IlhanOmar is not a victim. The 2,980 Americans who were slaughtered by Muslim terrorists were the victims. American Muslims lost no more civil liberties than we ALL did after #September11 thanks to the #PatriotAct."

So now historical revisionism is part of Twitter's mission statement? As with all things "progressive", Twitter looks at the world in an inverted way. Instead of seeing the terrorism as the "hateful conduct", it deemed a tweet denouncing terrorism as "hateful conduct." This clueless censorship happens during a time when yet another terrorist attack, perpetrated by Islamic terrorists via ISIS, slaughtered 250 lives — Christians attacked while worshipping Easter. Oh, wait, I mean Jesus. 

This targeted censorship is just the beginning. My colleague, E.W. Jackson, the outspoken VA Senate candidate, had his Twitter account deactivated on the same day as mine. Hollywood actor James Woods, who has 2.1 million followers, had his account deactivated on April 20th. It looks like our accounts are still active, but we're all locked out of them, so we can't tweet or interact at all.

It's no secret. Twitter applies its "rules of conduct" unequally. How many liberals decry having their Twitter accounts suspended? None. Well, unless they defy the pseudoscience of LGBT activism. A hardcore "feminist" named Meghan Murphy dared to buck Twitter's protections for #LGBTQXYZ. She tweeted a basic scientific fact: "Women aren't men." Her account has been permanently suspended

Then there's Representative Brian Sims, a Democrat lawmaker and gay activist from my home state of Pennsylvania who spews nothing but hate for Christians...and white people (annnnnnd, he's white). He recently threatened to dox teenage girls and an elderly woman who were peacefully protesting outside of a Planned Parenthood in Philly. He proudly posted his bullying selfie videos on Twitter. His account remains active, of course. He gets an #LGBT pass.

Speaking of racism, there's Louis Farrakhan. His virulent racism and anti-Semitism is spread in repulsive tweets. Twitter, apparently, isn't repulsed. Farrakhan's tweet, "I'm not anti-Semite. I'm anti-termite." and many other actual hate-filled words remain untouched on his unsuspended account.

Twitter's supposed appeal process is a sham, too. We've submitted five appeals. Although their auto-responder claims it may take up to a few days to respond, they've never responded. Big Tech is out of common folks' reach. They're too important to allow contact with an actual human. Free speech and democracy? Not on their watch. 

They're too insecure in their worldview to be challenged with facts by those outside the Silicon Valley bubble of omniscience. 

Welcome to this not-so-brave new world, where Big Tech largely controls the flow of information, use of pronouns, and how expansively "hate" is defined. Facebook just recently announced that Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Laura Loomer and Louis Farrakhan have been removed, among others, from their platforms. Of course, the Washington Post labeled them all "right-wing leaders." CNN called them all "far-right extremists." Louis Farrakhan is the extremist, and he's a radical leftist who hates the GOP and Trump in particular. "The wicked Jews want to use me to break up the women's movement...Tamika, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez [founders of ultra-liberal March For Women], our sister with the #MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter — the women shook the world the day after President Trump was elected," Farrakhan told his audience during his vile Savior's Day speech where he claimed to be Jesus.   

I don't know whom the Left thinks it's fooling — each other, I guess. In a CNN interview Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey made this laughable declaration: "The real question behind the question is, 'Are we doing something according to political ideology or viewpoints?' And we are not. Period," Dorsey said. "We do not look at content with regards to political viewpoint or ideology. We look at behavior."

This is dangerous. Where are all the alleged "civil rights" groups on this blatant discrimination? They're silent on this rampant censorship, because it's their leftist ideology that's being protected. These same "progressives" demanded that a baker from Colorado had to be "Open to All" and serve everyone and every event. Yet the world's largest public platforms flaunt their separate and unequal treatment and denial of services to online users every single day. It's Jim Crow 2.0. 

Out of principle, I'm not deleting the tweet (we've been shadow-banned for years anyway). I have no hate for Muslims. I have no hate for Rep. Ilhan Omar. I hate a lie. It's why my wife and I created the Radiance Foundation — to illuminate the truth about the human condition and declare that every human life has purpose. Facebook, Google, Twitter and Apple — they're totalitarian tech. This is all just a pre-game show. They're merely ramping up for the 2020 elections, purging what they're bogusly calling "misinformation" and "extremism" to clear the Democrats' path of ideological obstacles. They'll continue to widen their "hate speech" nets to the point where the only thing that slips through are their own intolerant words in a sea of fake diversity.

Published with permission from the Radiance Foundation.

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Lloyd Marcus

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The day LGBT enforcers attacked me…and everyone who knew me

Lloyd Marcus

May 10, 2019 (American Thinker) — My wife Mary and I met with several black relatives for dinner at a restaurant in Baltimore. The jovial conversation drifted to politics. I was stunned that they know nothing about several important political issues. Because they watch only mainstream media, my relatives are either misinformed or uninformed.

For example, my relatives have never heard of sharia law. When I explained the tyranny of sharia and how leftists are promoting it in America, my relatives were shocked. Overwhelmed, a relative said, "I've heard enough. Can we change the subject?"

The second thing that disturbed me was my relatives' intense fear of pushing back against LGBTQ indoctrination that is impacting their lives. As I said, these are not political people. And yet, they know they had better not get caught opposing LGBTQ activists forcefully infiltrating every aspect of our lives, from public education to entertainment to Sunday morning worship.

A relative said her two granddaughters told her about a picture posted on the internet by their cousin. Their cousin is a girl who posted a picture of her kissing her girlfriend. All these kids are in elementary school. Disturbed, my relative asked her son, her granddaughters' father, about the picture. He begged his mom not to say anything about the picture. He feared that disapproving of their cousin kissing her girlfriend could lead to him being deemed an unfit parent and losing custody of his daughters.

Another relative said his two little granddaughters were painting their fingernails. Having a little fun, he bent his hand femininely and said, "Paint my nails, too." The little girls immediately turned stone-faced. They said, "That's not funny, Pop-pop. It's not right to make fun of them like that." My relative was taken aback by how upset his granddaughters were with him. He did not know that kids are taught beginning in pre-K that homosexuality is superior to heterosexuality.

Another relative chimed in about a visit at his adult daughter's home. His granddaughter looked beautiful in her gown for a formal high school event. He was shocked when her date arrived. It was a girl wearing a tuxedo. He thought this was terrible but hid his feelings, fearful of offending his daughter and granddaughter. He knew they would think he was an old-fashioned, out-of-date hater if he showed any sign of disapproval.

Folks, LGBTQ activists' domination of our culture has come a long way from the days when they claimed they wanted only tolerance. Today, they demand that we bend a knee in total submission and approval of their lifestyle in education, entertainment media, and even Christian churches. LGBTQ activists are aggressively seeking to ban the Bible, declaring it bigoted hate speech. LGBTQ activists seek to make it illegal to counsel those who wish to transition from LGBTQ lifestyles.

Leftists are thrilled about Corpus Christi, which is a blasphemous movie in which Jesus and his disciples are portrayed as homosexuals. And yet, leftists are demanding that public schools forbid students from drawing pictures of Mohammad because sharia law says that to do so is blasphemy.

My late dad, Dr. Rev. Lloyd E. Marcus, said homosexuals were coming out of the closet and forcing us who believe the Bible into the closet. Truer words were never spoken.

Years ago, I wrote an article about how LGBTQ activists were aggressively seeking to infiltrate and take down Christian institutions like the Boy Scouts of America. Tragically, LGBTQ activists have transformed the Boy Scouts away from its Christian founding, principles, and values. Everything I stated in that article was 100% true. Shockingly, Christians, conservatives and Republicans who usually agree with me backed away from me. My article was branded "mean-spirited" and "anti-Christian."

At that time, I was chairman of a PAC that helped to elect conservative candidates. LGBTQ activists attacked our candidate, demanding that the candidate disassociate from this "hater," Lloyd Marcus. My employer warned that if the bad press intensified, he would be forced to request my resignation. This was my first time personally experiencing the wrath and punishment of LGBTQ activists, simply because I warned people about their mission to bully us into submission.

The surprising intensity of the LGBTQ attacks, reporters chasing me down and sticking microphones in my face, scared me. I could not give a rat's derrière about what leftists think of me. I had to fight off feelings of guilt as I witnessed LGBTQ enforcers attacking everyone associated with me.

My wife Mary and I prayed about the situation. My wife is awesome. Mary said, "You must spread truth without fear of man." Life has taught us that while my paycheck came from my employer, God is the true source of our financial security. The heated attacks over my LGBTQ/Boy Scouts article faded away. I was not fired.

However, another of my controversial articles sparked tension between my employer and me. Mary and I concluded that I must be free to write as I am led by God. I resigned from my position as chairman of the PAC.

For years, leftists have accused me of being a black "Uncle Tom sellout," highly paid by the Republican Party. This is not true. Quitting my position as chairman of a PAC was a serious financial decision, an act of faith. God is faithful and has sustained us. Praise God!

I left our family gathering at the restaurant feeling a bit disturbed that my relatives were so politically clueless and so fearful of attempting to stop LGBTQ activists from forcing their anti-Christian agenda down the throats of our children. Still, I am determined to continue spreading the truth and standing up for what is right. God is the source of my strength.

On a positive note, my wife Mary is a crab cake snob. The crab cakes at Romano's restaurant were excellent.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
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Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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The polar bear population has been at a record level for the past several years contrary to alarmist claims. Shutterstock
Jack Hellner


Media parrot climate doom predictions no matter how many times they’re wrong

Jack Hellner
By Jack Hellner

May 10, 2019 (American Thinker) — It is truly sad that U.N. reports on the climate and extinctions are printed throughout the media to push the agenda and scare the public, especially the children, with no questions asked and no attempt to verify the information in the reports.

People who pretend to be journalists just report these predictions as if they are factual while never seeming to look back and see how bad previous predictions have been.

The following article says one million species are threatened because of humans. It says there are a total of eight million animal species. I am sure there is not a list of the one million endangered or a list of the eight million. The numbers are purely made up. 

One million species threatened with extinction because of humans

One million of the planet's eight million species are threatened with extinction by humans, scientists warned Monday in what is described as the most comprehensive assessment of global nature loss ever. 

Their landmark report paints a bleak picture of a planet ravaged by an ever-growing human population, whose insatiable consumption is destroying the natural world.

The global rate of species extinction "is already tens to hundreds of times higher than it has been, on average, over the last 10 million years," according to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), a UN committee, whose report was written by 145 experts from 50 countries.

The actual number of species on the endangered list appears to be 3,000, so why are we told that one million are endangered?

Endangered Species: Once They’re Gone, There’s No Bringing Them Back

Currently, more than 3,000 species of animals are considered endangered. In the United States, the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 to help with conservation efforts, but there are now three times as many endangered species as there were just ten years ago.

If you look up the number of species that have gone extinct since the last (almost) 120 years, it is 477, or around four a year. I am sure most of those started going extinct long before fossil fuels could have caused the problem. So four species per year, and the U.N. puts out the prediction of one million, and journalists like puppets just print this. 

10 Animals that Have Gone Extinct in the Last 100 Years

Nearly 500 species have gone extinct during the last century–and in most cases, we humans are to blame. According to a 2015 study by the National Autonomous University (UNAM), 477 species have disappeared since 1900 due to our degradation and destruction of their natural habitats. The researchers said it was the largest mass extinction of species in history.

In 1989 the UN predicted disaster and we only had ten years left to fix the problem. They were 100% wrong but journalists and other Democrats pushing the agenda to take trillions away from the public don’t care. 

U.N. Predicts Disaster if Global Warming Not Checked

June 29, 1989

A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. 

Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of ″eco- refugees,′ ′ threatening political chaos, said Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program, or UNEP. 

He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control. 

In 2015, Yale University estimated that there are three trillion trees on Earth. Previous estimates were 400 billion. Why would we believe any estimates when previous estimates were 700% off? If they go from 400 billion to three trillion, does that make it appear that humans, CO2, and fossil fuels are destroying the planet?

There are 3 trillion trees on Earth – but they're disappearing fast

A study led by Yale University researchers has found that there are over 3 trillion trees on Earth - but they are disappearing at an alarming rate.

The study found that there are around 3.04 trillion trees on Earth, or around 422 for each person on the planet.

The number is a huge increase on the previous global estimate, which was just over 400 billion trees worldwide.

We have been told that humans and CO2 are killing the oceans so now they only estimate that there are 3.5 trillion left. That seems to be an odd definition of dying. 

How Many Fish Live in the Ocean?

According to the best estimates of scientists, there are 3,500,000,000,000 (3.5 trillion) fish currently living in the ocean.

Then there were all those looming disasters projected by scientists on the first Earth Day almost fifty years ago. 

A quick summary: We would all be dead by 1985 to 2000. (I would ask Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez what she thinks of that one.)

We would be out of food either in the 1970s or 1980s.

During the 1980s, four billion people would die, including 65 million in the U.S. 

By 1980, urban dwellers would have to wear gas masks to survive. 

Soon, none of our land will be usable because of too much nitrogen.

The rivers will be out of oxygen, and freshwater fish will all be gone.

By 1995, 75% to 80% of species will be gone.

And ecologist Kenneth Watt said, because we were going into an ice age, that the Earth would be four degrees cooler by 1990 and eleven degrees colder by 2000. I thought CO2, humans, and fossil fuels caused warming and it was a consensus, so how did anyone predict a coming ice age?

18 spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, expect more this year

1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that "civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind."

2. "We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation," wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, "Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction."

4. "Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make," Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 Mademoiselle. "The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years."

5. "Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born," wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled "Eco-Catastrophe! "By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s."

6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the "Great Die-Off."

7. "It is already too late to avoid mass starvation," declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, "Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine."

9. In January 1970, Life reported, "Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half…."

10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, "At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it's only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable."

11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America's rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in his 1970 that "air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone." Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during "smog disasters" in New York and Los Angeles.

13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons "may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945." Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out.

14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, "By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won't be any more crude oil. You'll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill 'er up, buddy,' and he'll say, `I am very sorry, there isn't any.'"

15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, "Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct."

17. In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that "since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it."

18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. "The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years," he declared. "If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age."

Why the hell would anyone with a brain take U.N. reports as factual when so many have been spectacularly wrong by direction and amount? Why would politicians base any policies on these crackpot reports, especially since we know that scientists have manipulated the numbers when their previous predictions have been wrong?

Should the public just be willing to hand over trillions to government bureaucrats to control our lives? Does anyone believe that politicians and bureaucrats can control temperatures, sea levels, and storm activity if we hand over trillions to them? If they do, they are a few bricks short of a load. 

The big question is, why would journalists, who are supposed to fact-check and investigate what they publish or report, just repeat all these things as if they are factual? 

Why are people who question these reports called stupid and deniers and blocked so often from debate?

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon

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Denying biological reality, mainstream media go all in on ‘man gives birth’ story

Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon Van Maren

May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — When I spotted the headline in the Charlotte Observer earlier this week, I had to do a double-take: “The man in the maternity ward,” it read. The tenderly written story, framed as a beautiful human interest piece, begins like this:

Liam Johns steps inside the ultrasound clinic and looks around. He’s relieved the waiting room is empty. Maybe no one will notice me, he thinks. Liam is 5-foot-6, with a beard and a baby bump.

You can probably see where this is going. Johns, it turns out, is part of a growing trend — or at least, a trend that the media would have us believe is growing: pregnant men. Of course, it is biologically impossible for a male to become pregnant, so the media are simply assuming that you are enlightened enough to have accepted a series of increasingly unhinged premises over the past half-decade or so: that men can become female by identifying as female, and vice versa.

Liam Johns is a woman identifying as a gay male. As such, this story is regarded with great interest by the media, who love these eye-popping combinations of sideshow craziness with progressive virtue-signalling. Thus, The Charlotte Observer “followed the year-long journey of Liam’s pregnancy to fatherhood.” Again, you are simply expected to accept certain things without asking any questions that a decade ago would have made you sane but today make you an irredeemable bigot. Things such as fathers giving birth to their own children.

Despite the fact that the Observer obviously expects you to suspend credulity long enough to embrace its “man gives birth” storyline, the paper has another motive as well: normalization. Those at the Observer realize that some people clicking on this story are going to regard all of this with some measure of dubiousness, thus they frame the story as one of a despised minority overcoming “society’s most ingrained assumptions — that only women give birth.” Again, there is no recognition here that this is not an “ingrained assumption” so much as a “scientific fact,” but belief in biological reality has now been recast as transphobia.

The Observer accompanied the story of Liam Johns, who began to “transition” from female to male at age 19, with a series of photographs intended to assist the readers in wrapping their minds around the story: the bearded Johns lying on an examining table, clutching the child’s father’s hand, and closeup artsy black-and-white shots that are supposed to be tender but actually emphasize how bizarre this entire thing is. One shirtless photo reveals Johns’s scarred chest, where she had her breasts surgically removed at age 27. The beard was grown with the help of hormone injections. The photographer was trying hard, but it is obvious to anyone not steeped in postmodern ideology that something profoundly unnatural and tragic is happening here.

The way these stories are written is also a huge indication of how the media want us to view this issue. Consider this line, for example, describing Johns’s arrival at puberty: “His mother told him it was about time to start wearing a bra.” When you read that, you instinctively recoil: it feels wrong. Why would a boy be told by his mother to wear a bra? You instinctively feel sorry for “him.” Of course, everything makes sense when you stop and remind yourself that we are actually talking about a teenage girl here — a fact that the media deny. If you are a girl but say you are not, that is that. Rewrite the story. Transform reality.

But you’re not supposed to ask questions. Johns always longed for a child, we are told, and thus obviously preserved her ability to conceive and carry a child despite getting surgery to look like a man. Johns married Duane Danielson because Danielson wanted children, too, and it took four months for them to get pregnant. Again, an obvious fact that we are supposed to ignore: A man cannot get another man pregnant. The only reason Danielson could impregnate Johns is because Johns is a female. They are not a gay couple. Johns is not a man. Men cannot get pregnant. Reading this story, written in a supposedly objective fashion in a major newspaper (there are apparently follow-up pieces to come), is what it feels like to experience gaslighting.

It is an awful thing to consider the fact that the mainstream media, the progressive politicians, and the entertainment industry have thrown themselves into attempting a historically unprecedented transformation of our entire society. The world they are seeking to usher in is one where personal autonomy has become so radical that biological reality must bend to your will, and those of us who want to shout that the emperor has no clothes must be forced to play along. These new ideologues have their feet planted firmly in mid-air and are demanding that we join them down the rabbit hole.

And we can expect things to get much, much crazier in the years ahead.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews John Barros, a dedicated defender of the unborn who has prayed outside an abortion facility through the last nine years, in spite of suffering from cancer and a recent stroke, and helped saved thousands of lives. You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 

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Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike

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Report claims Pope Francis read and liked book on homosexuals at the Vatican

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By Maike Hickson

May 14, 2019 update: This report now contains the full text of the message from the person who met with Pope Francis and discussed 'Inside the Closet of the Vatican'.

May 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Crux reports today that an advocate fighting against sexual abuse recently met with Pope Francis in a private audience and that the Pope told him that he read Frédéric Martel's book Inside the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy. “He said he read it. He said it was good and that he knew of many of them. We discussed good gays and the gays who are evil, but because of power,” the advocate said in a text message obtained by Crux (read full message below).

Pope Francis is said also to have known about some of the homosexual people working at the Vatican.

This information comes from a text message that was sent to Martel himself and that Crux was able to read. The author of the message was contacted, but wished to remain anonymous.

Martel's main thesis is that the Vatican's clergy has large numbers of homosexuals among them and he proposes the Church drop the ban on homosexuality. In his view, the sexual abuse crisis is linked to those “hidden” homosexuals who are not allowed to admit their homosexuality.

Speaking with Crux, Martel states that in the Church, “there is a singularity where 80-85 percent of the victims of the priests are boys or men.”

“In the Church the link is clear,” he says.

As Martel reports to Crux, “Most of the homosexual clergy he has interviewed 'have a sexuality that is sublimated and repressed,' which in his view leads not only to living a double life and even crime, but also creates problems in terms of accountability.”

“All the stories of cover-up are intrinsically linked to homosexuality,” Martel said. “In 90 percent of the cases the bishop who covers up is himself homosexual. When something happens, he is afraid of the scandal, he is afraid of the ‘mediatization’, he’s afraid of the trial because he fears that his own homosexuality may be revealed.”

Martel is convinced that this culture of secrecy at the Vatican opens the door to blackmail. “There is a lot of blackmail,” he said.


Full message obtained by LifeSiteNews:

"After I met you [Frédéric Martel] in Rome, I met with the Pope and asked him about your book[.] He said he had read it. He said it was good. That he knew of many of them. He told me being gay is not a problem. We discussed good gays and those gays that are evil but because of power."

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