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The Christian Institute

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Prince Harry, Meghan Markle showcase LGBT on social media for ‘Pride Month’

The Christian Institute
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June 7, 2019 (Christian Institute) — Prince Harry and wife Meghan have come under fire for a social media post supporting LGBT groups to 'celebrate' Pride month.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex used their Instagram account to 'follow' eleven pro-LGBT groups to highlight their work, including prominent lobby group Stonewall.

The royals only follow a small number of accounts at one time, changing them regularly to give the groups maximum exposure.

Diana

In their post, which featured an image of Princess Diana, they said: "For the month of June we 'proudly' shine a light on PRIDE.

"This month we pay tribute to the accounts supporting the LGBTQ+ community — those young and old, their families and friends, accounts that reflect on the past and are hopeful for a deservedly more inclusive future.

"We stand with you and support you. Because it's very simple: love is love."

'No respect'

The post came in for criticism from a number of people who said it was not the place of royals to be involved in promoting particular political positions.

One said: "What happened to the Royal family doesn't endorse political beliefs/controversy beliefs one way or the other??"

Another commented: "Diana supported HIV patients not LGBTQ, stop using her for promoting your agenda."

Several others announced they were 'unfollowing' the account, with one saying: "You have no respect for the monarchy, its protocols and traditions".

Controversial issues

One commenter pointed out that there are a range of views on controversial social issues in other commonwealth countries, and that those who represent the Commonwealth should not broadcast their personal views.

Prince Harry also came in for criticism earlier this year for expressing his support for controversial transgender activist group Mermaids.

Published with permission from The Christian Institute.

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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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Cardinal Pell awaits verdict after prosecutor stumbles in appeal hearing

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The two-day hearing in Cardinal George Pell’s appeal before the Victorian Court of Appeal against his conviction for alleged child sex abuse in Melbourne, Australia, in the 1990s ended Thursday with a positive impression for the defense.

According to press reports, prosecutor Christopher Boyce “bumbled and stumbled” through his presentation on Thursday afternoon while Chief Justice Anne Ferguson, court president Justice Chris Maxwell and Justice Mark Weinberg made several remarks that appeared favorable to the Cardinal’s version.

The judges reserved their decision and Cardinal Pell returned to prison, where he will celebrate his 78th birthday in 23-hours-per-day solitary confinement. He has already spent three months of his six-year sentence in a maximum-security prison and will not be eligible for parole before having completed three years and eight months.

If his appeal is retained, he would be set free immediately, unless the judges ordered a retrial. If he is again found guilty, he could go before the High Court, which in contrast to the appeals court is known to be wary of overturning popular jury verdicts.

The appeals court decision is expected to be delivered within the next two weeks, although no date has been given.

Photos were circulated in the world media showing Cardinal Pell, the former head of Pope Francis’ council of advisers, being led handcuffed into the court. The most aggressive headlines called him a “convicted pedophile,” and the liberal media insisted that the case for the prosecution was convincingly set out on Thursday.

Pell himself has never ceased to proclaim his innocence; his defense was based on the fact that the verdict was unreasonable because the only surviving witness in the case was not reliable, and because there were two great irregularities in his trial, making the jury’s verdict of guilt “unsafe.”

The Cardinal’s defense was presented Wednesday by a renewed legal team led by Sydney-based Bret Walker, who argued that the jury was badly mistaken in finding Cardinal Pell guilty and that there are 13 obstacles to his conviction that should have been taken into account.

Speaking to judges who during the last weeks have been going deep into the documents in the case and who also went to visit the cathedral where the alleged abuse took place, Walker underscored all the “impossibilities” that make the victim’s witness unworthy of belief.

One of his main arguments was that Cardinal Pell, at the time one of the assaults are said to have taken place, was meeting parishioners at the western door of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne at a distance from the sacristy that was “as good as being across the Tasman” in the eyes of the law.

“If he was at the western door then the law of physics means this is literally and logically impossible for the offending to have occurred,” he said.

Walker added that the surviving choirboy was a liar and a fantasist.

During Pell’s first interrogation that was taped on video and broadcast, he had already told the police that if the alleged crimes took place after Mass on a big feast day in the sacristy (where the doors were always open and that was always very busy after High Masses) in the times and places named by the witness, there was no way he could have committed them. He even asked the police to repeat all the details, showing himself certain and relieved that there could be no case against him.

Besides, there were no other witnesses at all of the alleged abuse. The second choirboy in the case later died of an overdose. But he denied any abuse had taken place.

There were no witnesses of a second incident in which Cardinal Pell has been found guilty of groping the first choirboy even though the complainant said it happened in the midst of a 50-person choir, in a corridor crowded with other choirboys and in the presence of at least one other priest.

Many other contradictions and discrepancies abound. The main victim has repeatedly modified his testimony, recording different times and details in successive statements.

On Thursday, Boyce appeared shaken by the judges’ questions and made matters even worse for himself by almost immediately accidentally naming the surviving accuser, whose name should not have been revealed because he was a minor at the time.

Boyce called the accuser’s evidence “compelling” because of his willingness to “concede” some “things he got wrong,” also explaining somewhat incoherently that if the accusation had been so improbable, why would the accuser have made it up? “You answer your own question,” dryly responded Justice Maxwell.

In fact, Boyce’s arguments for Pell’s guilt appeared to rely on the fact that the former choirboy accurately described the sacristy where the first assaults were alleged to have taken place.

On the other hand, Boyce was at pains to explain how the prelate could have removed his ankle-length alb, a tunic with no opening tied in place with a cincture, as well as a chasuble, and held up his vestments while at the same time having both his hands around the boy’s head – a question put to him by Justice Weinberg.

Journalists at the hearing also say that when Pell’s master of ceremonies, Monsignor Charles Portelli, was asked to explain how a fully vested priest goes to the toilet, he answered: “You don’t.”

Boyce generally made a bad impression, even admitting that “rehearsing the platitudes may not be all that helpful.” He has already been accused by some of so badly bungling the case that the prosecution will lose.

The judges did not hesitate to point out his contradictions. For instance, they reduced him to silence when pointing out that contrary to what he claimed, the choirboy’s evidence has not been compelling since in the first trial the jury had found it impossible to agree unanimously on Cardinal Pell’s guilt, and the whole thing had to be done over again with a new jury.

They also underscored some weaknesses of the lawyer for Cardinal Pell’s line of defense concerning the “impossibility” of the alleged assaults. Weinberg said that may have misled the jury into answering the wrong question: whether the sexual abuse was “possible.” That was not the point, he insisted. The jury should have come to their decision taking into account that the prosecutors needed to prove their case “beyond reasonable doubt” and not only that the events were “entirely possible” as the prosecution had argued.

According to the Financial Review, the same judge said, “I have said previously in judgments that juries almost always get it right, but the word is almost.” Later, he added that “there were plenty of cases where the witness had seen truthful and believable but the jury verdict was still ruled unsafe,” according to that media.

Other sources remarked that Cardinal Pell brightened during the two-day hearing,  taking many notes and “chuckling” at some of the judges’ humorous remarks.

LifeSite has previously reported that critics of Pell’s trial have suggested that the evidence in the case may have been lifted out of a case reported by Rolling Stone magazine that presents striking similarities to his accuser’s allegations.

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Illinois bishop on barring politicians from communion: Something had to be done

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By Lisa Bourne

June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Thomas Paprocki felt a responsibility to issue a decree barring Illinois legislators from receiving Communion after they passed recent radical pro-abortion legislation for the sake of the lawmakers’ souls and because of the scandal they created.

The scandal would be even worse if the faithful thought bishops weren’t taking action to address the situation, Paprocki, the bishop of Springfield in the state capital of Illinois, told LifeSiteNews in an interview Thursday.

And as a “defining issue of our time,” the bishop said, abortion carries more importance than other issues.

“As a shepherd of the Church, I'm concerned for the salvation of their souls,” Paprocki said of the lawmakers, “as well as the salvation of souls who are watching their actions and are scandalized by this.”

“And if we as bishops don't say anything about it,” he continued, “that just adds to the scandal of people thinking that, “Well, these politicians are doing things that are very immoral and very sinful, and the bishops aren't saying anything about that. So you know that would make it make it even worse. I just felt an obligation or responsibility to respond to what was going on.”

Paprocki has decreed that state legislators who had a hand in passing Illinois’s new abortion law may not present themselves for Communion, in particular naming both the Senate President John Cullerton and the Speaker of the House Michael Madigan as forbidden from the Eucharist.

The June 2 decree and an accompanying June 6 statement were released Thursday. The statement explains the decree and states, “Bishop Paprocki, who is a canon lawyer, consulted with other canon lawyers throughout North America before issuing this decree.”

The Illinois Senate sent Senate Bill 25, the Reproductive Health Act, to the state’s governor for approval last Friday. It had passed in the Senate by a 34-20 vote.

The law creates a fundamental right to abortion and states the “fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights.” Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker has promised to sign the bill, and the law will go into effect immediately.

The abortion expansion bill has been described as the most radical piece of abortion legislation that has ever been introduced in Illinois and worse than New York’s notorious abortion law from earlier this year, also an expansion of abortion.

Paprocki, who had condemned the Illinois legislation late last month as a “gravely immoral action,” also cited Illinois House Bill 40, or the 2017 Act Concerning Abortion, in his decree.

In an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews, Paprocki stressed the significance of the issue, saying Church teaching about abortion is clear.

“There are some issues that are more important than others,” the Springfield bishop said. “And I would call those defining issues.”

“In many ways, abortion is a defining issue for our time,” said Paprocki.

He emphasized there should be no question that Catholic legislators who vote for abortion should refrain from receiving Communion until they are in a state of grace because Church teaching on abortion has always been clear.

“The teaching of this is clear and consistent over centuries of the Church,” Paprocki said, “so any politician should know that their voting for or promoting abortion is a seriously sinful thing and that they should not then be presenting themselves for Holy Communion until they are reconciled to the Church.”

“And I would argue that in order to be reconciled it would not be enough simply to say, “I'm sorry,” he continued. “But they would then have to make some effort to have their previous actions overturned.”

If legislators were instrumental in having pro-abortion legislation passed and still a member of the General Assembly, for example, Paprocki said, “They should introduce a new bill, or somehow make some legislative effort to have these abortion bills then overturned or repealed.”

While abortion is a defining issue, the bishop clarified that the interdict on Holy Communion applies to Catholics in any type of mortal sin, stating, “It would be the same thing for a person who is divorced and remarried without an annulment, for example, or a couple that's cohabiting and they're not married.”

He addressed the argument that the Church can’t speak about abortion because it has lost moral authority for its handling of the clergy sex-abuse crisis, comparing the situation to a parent trying to discipline their children.

“To say that a parent can’t correct a child because the parent is also sinful would be really abdicating the role of the parent,” the bishop explained. “You know a parent should indeed confront his or her own sinfulness and correct it, but at the same time, has a responsibility to the proper moral instruction to their children.”

The Church has lots of members that are sinful, he said, all humans are sinful, and sinfulness has to be confronted.

“But at the same time, that doesn't mean that we should, therefore, remain silent, or we've lost our right to speak out on these things,” Paprocki stated. “In fact, it's not just a right, it's a responsibility when that's what our job is as shepherds of the Church, is to shepherd our people, our concern for the salvation of souls.”

He clarified in the interview with LifeSiteNews that Canon 916, also invoked in the decree with Canon 915, applies to the individual and does not require action by a bishop, stating that someone conscious of grave sin should not present himself or herself for Communion. Paprocki said as well that the decree applies to any abortion legislation, and that this is clearly in accord with Church teaching.

Learn more about Bishop Paprocki’s views and past actions by visiting FaithfulShepherds.com. Click here.

See the full interview below:

For some people, the reason would be clear, but for those for whom it might not be, could you explain why you felt it necessary to issue this decree?

Well, I'm the bishop of Springfield Illinois, which is the capital of the state of Illinois.

And so we had this legislative action taking place at our capital, which is just a few blocks away from our cathedral. And I felt this is something that I have the responsibility, for what I would consider to be a very immoral piece of legislation that was taking place right there at our capital. And so I thought that it would be important for me, first of all, to protect the integrity of our sacraments and the clarity of our faith about this. Because we have a situation where very prominent Catholics are identifying themselves as Catholic, and at the same time are saying that they reject the Church's teaching on abortion and euthanasia and marriage and family life and a lot of different views. And I think as a shepherd of the Church I'm concerned for the salvation of their souls, as well as the salvation of souls who are watching their actions and are scandalized by this. And if we as bishops don't say anything about it, that just adds to the scandal of people thinking that, “Well, these politicians are doing things that are very immoral and very sinful, and the bishops aren't saying anything about that,” so you know that would make it make it even worse. I just felt an obligation or responsibility to respond to what was going on.

In the decree you specifically name the Illinois State Senate President and Speaker of the House; did you communicate with them before issuing the decree?

I did communicate with the speaker of the house on a couple of occasions about this.

I did contact Senator Cullerton's office. He did not return my phone calls, so after the vote was taken last week I followed up with letters to both of them with a copy of my decree. You also mention Catholic legislators in general who have cooperated in evil and committed grave sin by voting for any legislation that promotes abortion. So can you clarify a few things, that this applies to legislators while they're in the Springfield diocese vs. if they if they actually reside somewhere else. Jurisdictionally, can you clarify that?

I'm citing two different canons here, Canon 915 and Canon 916. And Canon 915 is the one that says a person should not be admitted to Holy Communion because they have obstinately persisted in manifest grave sin. And that one is directed by name to the Speaker of the House and the Senate President because they have a consistent pattern of not only voting for pro-abortion legislation but also facilitating it because of their leadership roles. So in 2017, they were very active in the passage of House Bill 40, which provided for taxpayer funding of abortion, as well as stating that if Roe vs. Wade is ever overturned that Illinois would continue to be a state where abortion would continue to be legal. And then the bill that was just passed last week, Senate Bill 25, was stating that abortion is a fundamental right, that an unborn baby doesn't have any independent rights of its own, and required also private insurance to pay for abortion. So you have this, that together with what I would call an aggravating factor of the leadership role, and promoting this legislation, therefore, is the reason why I cited the Senate President and the Speaker of the House by name as having Canon 915 apply to them. Cannon 916, on the other hand, I didn't name anyone. And, Canon 915, I was saying that they are not to be admitted, that does apply to them only in the Diocese of Springfield because that basically is an instruction to the minister of Holy Communion not to give them Holy Communion. On the other hand, Canon 916 is addressed to everyone, really, who is conscious of committing a grave sin. And so a person who has committed a grave sin should not present himself or herself for Communion, and that would be anywhere, not just in the Diocese of Springfield, that would be anywhere and for any grave sin, not just this sin. And so in that sense, it was just a reminder saying, to vote for pro-abortion legislation is a grave sin, and just like anyone else in the state of mortal sin, (they) should not approach for Communion. So it would be the same thing for a person who is divorced and remarried without an annulment, for example, or a couple that's cohabiting and they're not married. Also to those who are also in seriously sinful situations, that they should not be presenting themselves for the sacraments. But that burden is really on them and it does apply to them everywhere.

But is it not up to the bishop in the diocese where they reside to see that it's actually applied?

No, that would be with Canon 915, so Canon 916 applies to the individual. There's no action required by the bishop, really, in 916. If the bishop, or even a pastor, were to take this step of saying that you’re not going to be admitted to Holy Communion, that's Canon 915, and that has to be very specific, meeting those requirements of obstinate persistence and manifest grave sin.

Do you mean for this to extend beyond the recent law that was passed, as far as referring to the Catholic legislators in general, if they vote for any legislation that promotes abortion, did you mean for that to extend beyond the current law that's at hand?

Well, yes, because I'm saying, and I think this would be the clear teaching of the Church, that to vote for pro-abortion legislation is gravely sinful. So it's not tied to any specific piece of legislation, it's any abortion legislation. That's the consistent teaching of the Church, that's why I started out my decree with a quote from the Didache, which goes back to the first century of the Church, which declared, “You shall not kill the embryo by abortion, and shall not cause a newborn to perish.” So from the very beginning of Christianity, abortion and infanticide were considered to be sinful. I also then quote the Second Vatican Council, so a more recent teaching of the Church. In Gaudium et Spes, in paragraph 51, it says that abortion and infanticide are “abominable crimes.” I also quote Pope Francis in 2016. He said that abortion is a “very grave sin” and a “horrendous crime.” The teaching of this is clear and consistent over centuries of the Church, so any politician should know that their voting for or promoting abortion is a seriously sinful thing and that they should not then be presenting themselves for Holy Communion until they are reconciled to the Church. And I would argue that in order to be reconciled it would not be enough simply to say, “I'm sorry.” But they would then have to make some effort to have their previous actions overturned. So if they were instrumental in having pro-abortion legislation passed, if they’re still a member of the General Assembly, for example, they should introduce a new bill, or somehow make some legislative effort to have these abortion bills then overturned or repealed. It may be like a person who steals from someone, and you go to Confession and you ask for absolution. I've always been taught, and this is what we teach with regard to stealing, that in addition to being given a penance and Confession, you also have to make restitution. You can't steal a million dollars, for example, and say, “Gee, I'm really sorry about that, but I'm going to keep the million dollars.” If you're sorry about it, you’ve got to give the money back. And so similarly here, if you're really sorry about your abortion votes, then you have an obligation, I would argue, to do something to reverse that.

Further, in citing Pope Francis and Church documents in issuing this degree, how do you respond to someone who might say that the Church is too obsessed with abortion?

I would say, first of all, I don't think it's the Church that's pushing this as an issue in the public square. It's the pro-abortion movement that is keeping this at the forefront and pushing for extreme legislation that wants to make it possible for abortion to be legal anytime on demand. Secondly, I would say that there are some issues that are more important than others. And I would call those defining issues. Like in the 19th century, slavery was a defining issue for our country, and certainly for President Abraham Lincoln, a very famous citizen from Springfield that we're always very conscious of in our hometown there. But you know, just as it was that slavery was a defining issue in the 19th century, in many ways abortion is a defining issue for our time. And it's interesting to see how this is lining up in our country. It’s almost a reversal of roles from the 19th century. In the 19th century, you had the Southern states on the side of slavery and the North on the side of the abolition of slavery. And here you've got Southern states that are passing laws against abortion, states like Georgia and Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, all those states are promoting and fighting for respect for unborn human life. In contrast, you have states from the north, like Illinois and New York, on the wrong side this time of the moral issue. They're promoting something that is very seriously sinful. And I hope that just as in the place of slavery, eventually our country overcame and rejected slavery and became all united in rejecting not only slavery but also racism, it's my hope that our country will overcome the sin of abortion and be united in our respect for all human life.

In issuing the decree, Bishop, you mentioned, importantly, that some are going to point out the Church's own failings with regard to abuse of children.

And you say that “The same justifiable anger we feel toward the abuse of innocent children, however, should prompt an outcry of resistance against legalizing the murder of innocent children. The failings of the Church do not change the objective reality that the murder of a defenseless baby is an utterly evil act.”

My question is, how would you encourage Catholics facing that same argument - that the Church has lost moral standing due to the sex abuse scandal - how would you encourage them in articulating as you do that the abuse of children and abortion are both bad and that the failings of some Church leaders do not negate the reality of the evil of abortion?

Well, I would compare it to a parent trying to discipline their children.

You know, as parents would perhaps be mindful of their own wrongdoing as a child or even as an adult. And to say that a parent can’t correct a child because the parent is also sinful would be really abdicating the role of the parent. You know a parent should indeed confront his or her own sinfulness and correct it, but at the same time, has a responsibility to the proper moral instruction to their children. And so in a sense, Mother Church has lots of members that are sinful, we're all sinful, and we have to confront that sinfulness, and we are doing the best we can to try to confront the evil of clerical sexual abuse of minors. But at the same time that doesn't mean that we should, therefore, remain silent, or we've lost our right to speak out on these things. In fact, it's not just a right, it's a responsibility when that's what our job is as shepherds of the Church, is to shepherd our people, our concern for the salvation of souls. We’re concerned for the salvation of our politicians as well as the faithful in Churches who are rightly scandalized by these Catholic politicians who are taking up positions that are very contrary to Church teaching and are expecting that the Church will respond to that situation (concede on Church teaching).

 

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Tucker Carlson rakes YouTube for protecting ‘talentless Vox writers’ by censorship

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By Calvin Freiburger

June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Fox News primetime host Tucker Carlson entered the fray over YouTube demonetizing conservative comedian Steven Crowder during his Thursday broadcast, calling on Congress to intervene in the broader issue of online censorship.

Earlier this week, the Google-owned video giant cut off all revenue from Crowder’s channel, in response to demands by Vox personality Carlos Maza, who accused Crowder of “homophobic” humor and inspiring harassment of him personally. Crowder responded that Vox was trying to silence his frequent fact-checks of their videos.

On Thursday evening, Carlson commented on the story and interviewed The intercept cofounder Glenn Greenwald, a “married” gay man who said he personally deems Crowder a “contemptuous cretin” but nevertheless opposes YouTube’s action against him.

Quipping that YouTube’s supporters think "you shouldn't be allowed to mock talentless Vox writers," Carlson called Maza a “classic archetype on the left,” a “fascist posing as a victim” whom “no sensible adult” should take seriously.

Greenwald said that, despite his feelings about Crowder, he doesn’t “want to live in a world where our discourse is policed and determined by benevolent overlords, who runs Silicon Valley companies [...] YouTube caved in, not in defense of the marginalized person, but in defense of the powerful one, the one who despite being gay and Latino works for a major media conglomerate.”

“Imagine going into journalism and then begging corporations to silence and censor people,” he added.

“The real question,” Carlson said, was why Congress allows this to continue. He argued that Congress has recognized YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter as “the modern public square” via federal regulations that give them “special immunity from being sued for defamation or fraud. Immunity that we don't have on this channel, for example.”

“You guaranteed that to them through your representatives in the Congress,” he said. “And yet in return, these tech companies violate the terms of the deal every minute of every day. They're not open forums. There are ongoing exercises in control and censorship. The question is, how long will the rest of us stand for this?”

YouTube also announced this week it will be removing “thousands” of “extreme” videos pushing “hate,” which Crowder said includes “at least a few hundred are ours. They didn’t make a delineation between white supremacists and jokes. They didn’t make a difference between Nazis and this program.” Also caught in the dragnet have been history videos on the Nazis and even videos by the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center purporting to expose hate rather than promote it.

The conservative movement is divided on whether government should intervene to stop online censorship, and how. National Review’s David French argues it’s a problem only private market action can justly solve, while Human Events advocates establishing “platform access” as a civil right. The Trump Justice Department is currently looking into a potential antitrust case against Google.

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Australian rugby star fights back after being ousted from his sport for offending gays

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By Martin Barillas

MELBOURNE, Australia, June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Committed Christian and Australian rugby star Israel Folau is claiming before Australia’s Fair Work Commission that he was dismissed by his team because of his religion.

Lawyers for the former Wallabies standout confirmed Thursday that they filed papers against  Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Waratahs for breach of contract. Folau, a 30-year-old fullback, is seeking “substantial remedies” from his former employers, arguing that his termination was unlawful, according to Section 772 of the Fair Work Act that forbids discrimination on the basis of religion.

“No Australian of any faith should be fired for practising their religion,” Folau said in a statement.

"The termination has cost Mr. Folau the best years of his rugby career,” his lawyers stated in the filing, “participation at the Rugby World Cup, the chance to become the greatest Wallaby try-scorer (a decades-old record he was likely to break), and the associated exposure and opportunities."

The filing goes on to say, "As well as around $5 million in lost salary, Mr. Folau will claim in respect of the loss of these opportunities (renewal of contract, sponsorships, etc). The damages will be particularised in due course, but will be substantial. In addition, Mr. Folau will seek civil penalties.”

“I will forever be grateful and proud to have played the sport I love for our nation,” Folau said. “Ours is an amazing country built on important principles, including freedom of religion. A nation made up of so many different faiths and cultural backgrounds will never be truly rich unless this freedom applies to all of us. The messages of support we have received over these difficult few weeks have made me realise there are many Australians who feel their fundamental rights are being steadily eroded.”

Folau was the focus of LGBTQ outrage and a disgruntled rugby establishment in Australia when he posted Scriptural condemnations of homosexuality and other perversions. In an April post on Instagram, Folau used an image that listed "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters. Hell awaits you." He added, “Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.”

His contract was terminated in May after a ruling from a three-member panel, thus making his ineligible to participate in this year’s Rugby World Cup matches.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him. _______________ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these , adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-‬21 KJV _______________ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38 KJV _______________ And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30 KJV _______________

A post shared by Israel Folau (@izzyfolau) on

When Rugby Australia ruled that he violated its code of conduct, he lost not only a contract that was expected to run until 2022 but lucrative sponsorship deals with companies such as Land Rover and Asics.

He decided not to appeal the decision, saying he was considering court action.

Whether Folau is allowed to play Australian rugby again may be in doubt. Chairman Peter Beattie of the Australian Rugby League Commission reaffirmed the National Rugby League’s view that Folau is banned for good because rugby is “an inclusive game with respect for all.”

Folau had been expected to join his teammates at the Rugby World Cup in Japan this year.

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Vatican all but wipes out conservative order of nuns for ‘too much prayer’

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By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews.com) — All but five of the 39 Little Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, a conservative French religious order, have been relieved of their vows by the Vatican after refusing to submit to a group of Vatican-appointed commissioners led by a habitless liberal nun who wanted to impose “modern orientations” on the group, in the sister’s words.

The 34 nuns, who dress in traditional habits and care for the disabled and elderly in four different nursing homes, have been asked to relinquish their facilities and their religious dress now that they are no longer considered members of their institute. The fate of the nursing homes and their residents is now in question.

The ruling comes from the Holy See’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, which oversees religious orders and institutes, led by Cardinal João Braz de Aviz. Previous attempts by the sisters to overturn the congregation’s rulings against them by appealing to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura have failed, with the court reportedly dismissing their case without allowing them to fully present their arguments.

“Having looked to remaining faithful, as much to the Church as to the charism granted by Our Lord to Mother Marie de la Croix, having tried to find, many many times, a path of dialogue with Rome, having offered peaceful solutions, no agreement having been found, the authorities in Rome in charge of the Consecrated Life have now decided to choose to release us from our religious vows,” the sisters announced on June 3, following the issuance of the decision on May 23.

“Whilst it is true that in the context of the moral pressure and the impasse that we found ourselves in, we were driven, last October, against our profound wishes, to ask to be released from our vows, since no other solution had ever been offered to enable us to remain in communion with the Church: we are profoundly wounded by this and remain sadly surprised that Rome has preferred to accept that request rather than accepting the peaceful solutions which we had put forward and which were possible,” the sisters added.

The lay-led Association in Support of the Little Sisters denounced the decision as a “grievous injustice” and blamed the bishop of the Diocese of Laval, Thierry Scherrer, for a personal vendetta against the group’s conservative mother superior that has now led to the destruction of the order.

“Mgr Scherrer wanted the head of the Superior General on a platter,” wrote the association. “An entire Congregation has been destroyed!”

“This unjust and violent decision gives rise to grave damage both moral and material to the Little Sisters of Mary who have given their lives in the service of the Church, in perfect fidelity to their religious vocation,” they add.

According to their lay supporters, the sisters were accused of a variety of offenses against modern sensibilities, including engaging in “too much prayer,” the use of the traditional habits, “deviant authoritarianism,” being “too classical” in their thinking, and being “unmoving” in their adherence to the charism of their institute. They also say the commissioners tried to turn the sisters against each other, offering prestigious positions in the order if they would conform to the commissioner’s authority, but their tactics failed. When the nuns refused to admit the commissioners, they were threatened with excommunication and requested to be relieved of their vows to avoid that outcome.

The support association says the decision to relieve the sisters of their vows instead of working out a solution with them came at the behest of Sr. Geneviève Médevielle, the principal apostolic commissioner named by the Vatican. Médevielle is a religious sister who dresses in lay clothing and wears a short haircut without a head covering. She is a professor of ethics at the Catholic Institute of Paris and the author of the recently published book Migrants, Francis, and us. Médevielle writes in defense of Amoris Laetitia against “conservatives and traditionalists” who criticize it.

The nuns were also reportedly under attack by the archbishop of Toulouse, Robert Le Gall, who prohibited one of the nuns’ houses from attending their more traditional form of Mass in their community chapel, apparently following their refusal to participate in Le Gall’s mass at the nursing home chapel due to their rejection of his liturgical practices.

Click here to read LifeSite’s November article detailing the conflict.

“Authoritarianism” and “moral harassment” from Church authorites led to destruction

The sisters’ support association is threatening to undertake legal measures against those who have brought about the destruction of the institute as an act of “moral harassment,” which is actionable under French law. The association promised that “as a matter of justice legitimate actions will be undertaken against those responsible, whatever their involvement, to obtain redress and to reveal the entire truth about this affair.”

The French Catholic newspaper La Croix further reported yesterday that the sisters “today are threatening Sister Geneviève Medevielle with a lawsuit for moral harassment.”

“It was with an authoritarianism and in a context of moral harassment, initiated by the Bishop of Laval, Mgr Scherrer, that the ecclesiastical authorities preferred to reduce the Little Sisters of Mary the Redeemer to the lay state, on 23rd May 2019, rather than opting for a peaceful solution, repeatedly proposed by the Little Sisters, but never really considered by the Congregation in Rome!” the support association declares on its website.

Our suffering enables us to live our vocation more fully, say sisters

The sisters, for their part, say  they will continue to live their life of prayer and see their suffering as enabling them to live their vocation even more deeply.

“Certainly, we have not lived through these two sorrowful years in order to lose the treasure which is for us the charism received from Mother Marie de la Croix. We want to continue to live together, in a life of prayer and service. Ecce!” the sisters write.

“Paradoxically and mysteriously, we live perhaps more than ever perhaps what is at the heart of our vocation: following in the way of Our Lady, to take our part of suffering in the fulfilment of the plan of our Redemption, in reparation, for the saving of souls, for the sanctification of priests, for the Church so damaged by all sorts of scandals, for the world. If Christ, our souls’ spouse, judges us worthy of carrying such a Cross, we must render thanks to him, in all things.”

Requests for comment from the Holy See were not answered by publication time.

Previous LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Conservative order of nuns on verge of destruction following Vatican interventions

Contact information (please be polite and respectful in all communications):

Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life:

Cardinal Prefect Joao Braz di Aviz: [email protected], phone: +39. 06. 69884121
Archbishop Secretary José Rodríguez Carballo: [email protected], phone: +39. 06. 69884584
General email form can be found here.
Information: +39. 06. 69884128; +39. 06. 69892511
Fax: +39. 06. 69884526

Association of Support for the Little Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer:

Main webpage in English: https://www.soutienpsm.com/severedifficulties

(You may also select French, Italian, or Spanish at upper right of webpage.)

Chez Mr Marcel MIGNOT
1 Avenue de Montréal
Résidence Montréal 2
72000 Le Mans
​Email: [email protected]

To sign the petition of support for the Little Sisters: https://www.soutienpsm.com/signer-la-petition-anglais

Click here for links to detailed coverage by the French blog Riposte Catholique (can be translated to English easily with Google Translate — in Chrome browser right click on webpage and select “Translate to English”).

Contact the author at [email protected].

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D.C. ‘pride’ parade bans American and Jewish flags, but allows Palestinian banners

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Organizers of an upcoming LGBT “pride” parade in the nation’s capital are taking heat from both sides for forbidding American and Israeli flags at the event while permitting flags that express solidarity with the Palestinian people.

D.C. Dyke March organizer Yael Horowitz says the event forbids “nationalist symbols,” including the flags of “nations that have specific oppressive tendencies,” Forward reported, including the U.S. Stars & Stripes and anything that resembles an Israeli flag.

“The issue is where the Star of David is positioned in a way that looks like an Israeli flag, it creates an unsafe space,” claimed organizer Rae Gaines, who identifies as Jewish. “It really is a shame that Israel took this symbol of Judaism and turned it into this nationalist symbol (...) but there are so many other Jewish symbols that we can use to express our Judaism, like a Star of David (on a necklace), like a yarmulke, a tallit.”

“Our Jewish values teach us that our struggles are interconnected and that our liberation is bound up with the liberation of all peoples, Palestinians included,” Horowitz and Gaines declared in the Washington Blade. “When we hear allegations that the Dyke March is anti-Semitic for taking a pro-Palestine stance, we feel betrayed by the Jewish community. We choose to prioritize Palestinian lives and justice in Palestine over lazy symbols.”

Jewish groups and other pro-LGBT organizations have denounced the Dyke March for the policy. Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt called it “anti-Semitic, plain and simple,” while the National LGBT Task Force withdrew its support for the event.

While the Dyke March organizers favor Palestinians over Israel, the latter is drastically friendlier to homosexuality. 

Israel has a variety of pro-LGBT policies, including “anti-discrimination” provisions, open military service, and same-sex adoption. By contrast, male homosexual acts are illegal in much of the Palestinian territories, and many homosexual Palestinians flee to Tel Aviv to avoid persecution.

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Pastor calls for God to judge Illinois for extreme pro-abortion legislation

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By Calvin Freiburger

SPRINGFIELD, June 6, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The pastor who led the Illinois House of Representatives in prayer last Friday admonished the chamber for advancing virtually unlimited abortion in the state, calling on God to judge lawmakers’ abandonment of preborn babies.

Illinois lawmakers are currently considering the so-called Reproductive Health Act (RHA), which like similar bills in other states would codify a “fundamental right” to abortion, establish “that a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the law,” and repeal numerous restrictions and regulations on abortion including protections for infants born after failed abortions. It passed the state House last week, and awaits action by the Democrat-controlled state Senate. 

The legislation “allows abortion throughout pregnancy, up to the moment of birth, for any reason. It allows abortions by a non-doctor in a facility that's not inspected and doesn't have to report injuries,” Susan B. Anthony List National Campaign Chair Jill Stanek said. Stanek is an Illinois native and former nurse who witnessed babies being born alive and left to die in Chicago. “It strips away conscience protections for pro-life health care workers and forces all health insurance policies to cover abortions, including religious organizations.”

On Friday, Pastor Corey Musgrave of Fairfield’s New Beginnings Church devoted his opening prayer to the sanctity of life, Illinois Review reports. Musgrave had been invited to lead the prayer by Republican state Rep. Darren Bailey.

“God, we thank you for the ability to choose our own direction, even though those choices have consequences,” Musgrave said. “All throughout Your word, it is clear You have given us a choice [...] so God, I confess here today that I have not always made the right choice, and I thank you for being a merciful God that forgives and restores when we turn back to You.”

“This state has decided to go its own way apart from you,” he continued. “Lord, You have told us those things which You hate, and among them are hands that shed innocent blood.”

“So, God, we have made our appeals to the leaders of Illinois this week on behalf of those innocent babies who do not yet have a voice,” he declared. “We have been a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves as You have commanded us. Those appeals were denied, but we have one final appeal left and that is to the courts of Heaven.”

Musgrave asked God to “rise up...and judge Illinois for the sanctioned destruction of the innocent unborn. For when Your judgements are in this state, the inhabitants of Illinois learn righteousness. In this House I pray for justice to roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty river. In Your judgement I pray that You would remember mercy for we know that You, oh God, do not want anyone to be destroyed.”

Several female Democrats in the chamber turned their backs to Musgrave during the prayer, Tristate Homepage reports. The pastor said later that those who took offense misunderstood his message.

“The word judge or judgement some people misconstrued...as wrath or I wanted God to do something bad, no,” he said. “The definition of judge is to make a decision and my prayer is to God you have to make a decision on this because we are hopelessly divided as a nation on this issue.”

“I don't have hatred for anyone,” he added. “I love the mother that had to make that choice and is dealing with it or the legislators that put this in.”

Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who vowed in January to make Illinois “the most progressive state in the nation when it comes to guaranteeing women’s reproductive rights,” has said he intends to sign the RHA into law.

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Explosive report: Bishop sexually harassed priests, seminarians, spent millions of Church dollars

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

WEST VIRGINIA, June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― An explosive report alleges that the retired Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston was a sex pest who spent millions of dollars on an “extravagant and lavish lifestyle.”

According to an article that appeared Wednesday in the Washington Post, Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, 75, gave cash gifts totaling $350,000 to fellow priests, including important prelates and young priests upon whom he allegedly foisted his attentions.

The report also detailed sexual harassment and bullying: “...a succession of younger male clerical assistants complained to church officials in West Virginia that Bransfield was sexually harassing them. Similar concerns were raised about Bransfield’s conduct in Philadelphia, where he taught at a Catholic high school, and in the District of Columbia, where he was head of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception from 1990 to 2005.”

Seminarians were apparently told to make their “boundaries clear” or that they had no choice but to participate in “sleepovers” and trips with Bransfield.

The Post had obtained two versions of “a confidential report to the Vatican,” the fruit of an internal investigation of Bransfield’s 13-year tenure as bishop, as well as emails and copies of financial records.

There were two versions of the report because the prelate in charge of the investigation, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, cut the names of the 11 important clerics to whom Bransfield wrote checks out of the final report. One of them was Lori himself. Others included Cardinals Donald Wuerl, Timothy Dolan, Kevin Farrell, Bernard Law (deceased), Edmund Szoka (deceased), and Raymond Burke, as well as papal nuncios Archbishop Pietro Sambi (deceased), Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, and Archbishop Christophe Pierre.

The financial records reveal that Bransfield also gave money to family members in the clergy, with over $9,000 going to his nephew Fr. Sean Bransfield, who is the vice chancellor of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and over $1,000 going to his cousin Monsignor Brian Bransfield. Monsignor Bransfield is the general-secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Bishop Bransfield has served as the president of the Board of Trustees for former Cardinal McCarrick’s Papal Foundation, a charity which collects money from wealthy American Catholics to give to charitable projects of interest to the pope.  

Lori released a statement on June 5 saying that he returned the money he received as gifts to the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and “asked that it be given to Catholic Charities.”

A spokesman for Wuerl told the Post that the cardinal “received honoraria for speaking invitations in the Diocese of Wheeling and other commemorative events, as well as modest gifts to mark personal celebrations, such as an ordination anniversary.”

A spokesman for Farrell told the Post that Farrell received “voluntary donations” from Bransfield and others for the renovation of his apartment in the Vatican.   

Viganò told the Post that his staff had told him that such gifts were customary in America and that he had given the money to charity.

“I believed it would be a distraction to select particular individuals for identification who had received gifts and that it would raise questions as to why we selected some individuals and not others. The basic point the report tried to make is that gift-giving was part of Bishop Bransfield’s excessive spending,” Lori said in a video released June 7. He said the investigators found there was “no expectation of reciprocity in return for financial gifts from Bishop Bransfield.”

“But if I had to do it over again, especially at a time when we’re trying to create greater transparency and accountability, the report would have included the names of those bishops who received gifts, including my own, with some notation that there was no evidence to suggest that those who received gifts reciprocated in any way that was inappropriate,” he said.

Lori said Bransfield’s gifts to him had been given “mostly at the holidays and including my installation as bishop.”

The unusual source of Wheeling-Charleston’s wealth

The money had not been Bransfield’s to give. Although West Virginia has one of the highest poverty rates in the country, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is rich because, strangely enough, it owns oil in Texas.  

“The roots of the West Virginia diocese’s unusual wealth date back to the late 1800s, to a friendship struck on a transatlantic cruise ship between a bishop from Wheeling and a New York heiress,” the Post reported.  

“When she died in 1904, Sara Catherine Aloysia Tracy left the majority of her estate to the diocese, including a large tract of land in west Texas. Oil was discovered there decades later.”

The diocesan oil brings in an average of $15 million a year and funds an endowment “now valued at $230 million,” the Post disclosed.  

Soon after his 2004 appointment to the diocese, Bransfield apparently declared that the money was his and went on a spending spree. According to the Post’s account of Lori’s report, the bishop “spent $2.4 million in church money on travel, much of it personal, which included flying in chartered jets and staying in luxury hotels.” He and his staff drank almost $1,000 worth of alcohol a month and, after a fire damaged a bathroom in his residence, the bishop ordered renovations which cost $4.6 million. According to Archbishop Lori, Bransfield remodelled his other diocesan residence and began work on his retirement residence.

Then there was the flower bill.

“When Bransfield was in the chancery, an administrative building, fresh flowers were delivered daily, at a cost of about $100 a day — almost $182,000 in all,” the Post reported.

Bransfield also spent thousands of dollars on clothing, luxury items, and “personal expenses.”

Homosexual bullying  

However, love of luxury was allegedly not the the bishop’s only vice. The report into Bransfield’s tenure also details homosexual bullying.

According to the Post: “...a succession of younger male clerical assistants complained to church officials in West Virginia that Bransfield was sexually harassing them. Similar concerns were raised about Bransfield’s conduct in Philadelphia, where he taught at a Catholic high school, and in the District of Columbia, where he was head of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception from 1990 to 2005.”

“At least six of Bransfield’s clerical assistants in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston were broken by the experience,” Vicar for Clergy Anthony Cincinnati told investigators. Seminarians or young priests appealed to leaders in the diocese, to no avail, the report says. They were instructed to “make your boundaries clear,” it says, “or told that they had no choice but to join Bransfield in such activities as sleepovers at his residence and on trips,” the Post reported.

Bransfield’s spree came to a sudden end when he tendered his resignation upon his 75th birthday last September. By then he had been the subject of a 2007 investigation into what the New York Post called “an alleged groping incident” and had been implicated in another priest’s 2012 sex abuse trial. All bishops must offer to resign at 75, and it is customary for the pontiff to accept or refuse, based on the circumstances. Under these circumstances, Francis accepted at once and appointed Lori, the archbishop of Baltimore, the pillaged diocese’s apostolic administrator.

‘The accounts of those who accused Bishop Bransfield of sexual harassment are credible.’

On June 5, Lori issued a long statement concerning the Bransfield scandals. Reminding the laity that he had already told them some things about the investigation into the allegations of financial and sexual impropriety, Lori said he should tell them more.

“Regarding allegations of sexual harassment of adults by Bishop Bransfield, the investigative team determined that the accounts of those who accused Bishop Bransfield of sexual harassment are credible,” he wrote.

“The team uncovered a consistent pattern of sexual innuendo, and overt suggestive comments and actions toward those over whom the former bishop exercised authority,” he continued.  

It seems that no minors were involved.

“The investigation found no conclusive evidence of sexual misconduct with minors by the former bishop during its investigation,” Lori said.  

“It should be noted that due to privacy concerns and at the request of those who alleged harassment by Bishop Bransfield, the alleged victims and their personal accounts, which for them are a source of deeply-felt pain and humiliation, will not be disclosed by the Diocese.”

The archbishop promised that the victims, as well as all priests and lay personnel at the  Wheeling-Charleston chancery, will receive counseling. The known victims will be reimbursed for “mental health assistance.” There will also be a third-party reporting system for allegations against the diocese’s future bishops.

Lori also revealed that Bransfield’s “pattern of excessive and inappropriate spending” was enabled by a “culture of fear.”

“As we seek to understand how such behavior was able to occur over the course of Bishop Bransfield’s 13-year-long tenure, it is evident from those who spoke with investigators that the Bishop’s management style and personality undermined the effectiveness of diocesan policies, controls and oversight procedures,” he wrote.

“In some cases, it is apparent that the judgment of diocesan personnel was impacted by the culture of fear of retaliation and retribution that the former bishop fostered.”

‘Misrepresented’

Bishop Bransfield told LifeSiteNews over the phone that he feels that he’s been “misrepresented.”

“I just feel that I’ve been misrepresented in many, many ways,” he said.  

Bransfeld said that he was not allowed to participate in the investigation, and that he has never seen the materials described in the Washington Post article. He also said that the investigation was supposed to be kept confidential, and that he was supposed to be able to defend himself.

“It was not kept confidential,” he said, referring to the leak to the Post, “and I have not been able to defend myself.”

“I feel that I have no say, no input, and [the investigation] is adversarial in nature.”

He concluded by saying that he wanted to be careful in what he said, as he was not supposed to be speaking to the press.

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Brad Pitt disavows ‘straight pride’ parade’s use of his name

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By Calvin Freiburger
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June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt is calling on the Massachusetts conservative group planning a ‘Straight Pride’ parade in Boston to remove his name and image from its website, and to stop invoking him as their “mascot.”

As LifeSiteNews covered this week, the organization called Super Happy Fun America (SHFA) wants to organize a Boston Straight Pride Parade for this coming August, to “achieve inclusivity and spread awareness of issues impacting straights in Greater Boston and beyond.” A semi-facetious tone runs throughout the SHFA website, including a page claiming Pitt, a “hero to straight men all around the world,” as its mascot, USA Today reports

Following coverage of the group’s parade plans, Pitt has privately contacted the organization to demand it stop using his name and face, according to The Hollywood Reporter. SHFA’s Mascot page now reads, “the Straight Community has adopted [Redacted] as our mascot! Congratulations to [Redacted] for being the face of this important civil rights movement.”

SHFA also followed up with an announcement claiming that right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos (who is homosexual) will not only replace Pitt as mascot, but serve as the parade’s grand marshall.

“I might technically be a sequined and perfectly coiffed friend of Dorothy’s, but I’ve spent my entire career advocating for the rights of America’s most brutally repressed identity—straight people—so I know a thing or two about discrimination,” the site quoted Yiannopoulos as saying. Yiannopoulos himself has not publicly confirmed his involvement with the event.

While LGBT advocates assail the event as “homophobic,” and the organizers have a history of events designed to tweak Boston’s left-wing sensibilities, the proposed parade does pose serious questions about the LGBT lobby’s logical consistency in demanding recognition of homosexual pride while condemning the very concept of heterosexual pride.

In Boston’s case, it also draws attention to city officials’ elevation of LGBT pride above other values and beliefs, such as flying LGBT flags above city hall while forbidding Christian flags.

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Martin Luther King was a sexual predator, newly-released FBI evidence suggests

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By Pete Baklinski

WARNING: The following report contains sexually graphic language.

June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Recently declassified FBI documents suggest civil rights religious hero Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a sexual predator who preyed on dozens of women. FBI transcripts of secret audio recordings of King’s private life allegedly reveal a man who exploited his fame and status to commit heinous sexual acts with countless women across the country, including allegedly witnessing another minister forcibly rape a “parishioner” while King “looked on, laughed and offered advice.” The FBI documented King's sexual exploits in the 1960’s up until his assassination in 1968. 

David J. Garrow, a left-wing scholar and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of King, uncovered evidence of King as a “sexual libertine” while combing through a trove of newly-released FBI documents that were included in the "John F. Kennedy" files maintained by the National Archives. The files were released online in 2017 and 2018. 

The FBI had been wiretapping King’s hotel rooms looking for evidence that he was connected to the “Communist Party.” What they found instead was evidence of King’s sexual "degeneracy and depravity" that included hiring prostitutes, partaking in violent sex orgies, engaging in “unnatural sex” practices, and offering advice to a friend as he raped a woman. It is suspected that King’s sex abuse involves 40 to 50 women, almost all of them black. It is the written records of the wire-tapping that have been released. The audio tapes themselves, which are the basis for the transcripts and would verify their veracity, are sealed until 2027. 

Garrow presents all of this information in his May 30 article, "The troubling legacy of Martin Luther King," linking to numerous FBI source documents. He relates how in one instance that took place in January 1964, King and friends went to visit in a wire-tapped hotel room in Washington with a fellow minister, Logan Kearse, who a brought “several women ‘parishioners’ of his church.”

‘The group met in his [Kearse’] room and discussed which women among the parishioners would be suitable for natural or unnatural sex acts. When one of the women protested that she did not approve of this, the Baptist minister immediately and forcibly raped her,’ the typed summary states, parenthetically citing a specific FBI document (100-3-116-762) as its source. ‘King looked on, laughed and offered advice,’ Sullivan or one of his deputies then added in handwriting,” writes Garrow, quoting from the FBI transcripts.

Garrow relates another instance when King and company participated in a “sex orgy” with 12 people at another wire-tapped hotel. 

“At the Willard Hotel, King and his friends’ activities resumed the following evening as approximately 12 individuals ‘participated in a sex orgy,’” he writes, quoting the FBI material. FBI agents described what they witnessed as “acts of degeneracy and depravity.”

“When one of the women shied away from engaging in an unnatural act, King and several of the men discussed how she was to be taught and initiated in this respect. King told her that to perform such an act would ‘help your soul,’” states the FBI document. 

“King announced that he preferred to perform unnatural acts on women and that he had started the ‘International Association for the Advancement of Pussy Eaters’,” the FBI transcript states. 

Comments Garrow: “Anyone familiar with King’s often-bawdy sense of humour would not doubt that quotation.”

Garrow quotes one FBI agent who interviewed 28-year-old white prostitute Gail LaRue, a mother to four children, about a violent sexual encounter she and a friend had simultaneously with King. 

Stated the FBI report about the May, 1964 interview: “Gail stated to this investigator that ‘that was the worst orgy I’ve ever gone through’,” adding that “she had declined a subsequent request.”

While King’s cheating on his wife was generally a well-known fact, this newly revealed information requires what Garrow suggests must be a “painful historical reckoning” with who King really was. 

“King’s far-from monogamous lifestyle, like his binge-drinking, may fit albeit uncomfortably within his existing life story, but the suggestion—actually more than one—that he either actively tolerated or personally employed violence against any woman, even while drunk, poses so fundamental a challenge to his historical stature as to require the most complete and extensive historical review possible,” he wrote. 

Garrow related earlier this week that he was forced to publish his work in Britain’s Standpoint magazine after U.S. left-leaning mainstream media sources, including New York Times, Washington Post, Atlantic, LA Times, and the Guardian refused to publish his discovery of King’s secret sex life as found in the FBI transcripts. The Atlantic even published a piece defending why it refused to publish the report, citing that it wanted more than a transcript, but the “audiotapes” which are sealed until 2027. The Washington Post later headlined a piece about Garrow’s discoveries with the word “Irresponsible” followed by “Historians attack David Garrow’s MLK allegations.”

While Garrow makes it clear that the veracity of the transcripts will not be known until 2027 when the audio files are unsealed, he argues there is nothing to suggest the transcripts are not genuine. He acknowledges that the FBI had a vendetta against King, even sending King a suicide letter with instructions that there is "one thing left for you to do. You know what it is." 

The document’s recently-released final pages, narrating events until March 30, 1968, suggest that the unfinished revision was abandoned following King’s assassination on April 4. Without question Sullivan and his aides had both the microphone-transmitted tape-recording, and a subsequent full transcript at hand while they were annotating their existing typescript; in 1977 Justice Department investigators would publicly attest to how their own review of both the tapes and the transcripts showed them to be genuine and accurate. Throughout the 1960s, when no precedent for the public release of FBI documents existed or was even anticipated, Sullivan could not have imagined that his and his aides’ jottings would ever see the light of day. Similarly, they would not have had any apparent motive for their annotations to inaccurately embellish upon the actual recording and its full transcript, both of which remain under court seal and one day will confirm or disprove the FBI’s summary allegation.

Garrow admits in the end that the "new hoard of largely-unredacted, previously unreleased FBI documents raises more questions than can presently be answered."

'Sexual abuse of women'

Garrow, who is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, has been accused by voices on the left in veiled language of contributing to racism through the publication of the FBI information. The historian, however, defended himself, saying that the information on King should not be looked at in terms of the “racial context,” but in terms of “gender.” 

“What has more and more stood out to me is that we need to look at this behavior in the context of gender, in terms of the abuse of women, because that’s what we see here, whether with the prostitute or with the woman who was allegedly raped in this group scene at the Willard Hotel,” he told Dominic Green of The Green Room during a podcast this week. 

“Everything we’ve seen here in the United States for the past two years has, again and again, highlighted what a deep extensive history there is of the mistreatment of women by powerful men. And, in this material, that maltreatment of women is especially the case with these mostly, except for the prostitute, being black women,” he added. 

“So, I think the fundamental issue that is raised by my account, that is raised by these documents, has more to do with the sexual abuse of women than with questions of race.”

'Devastated by revelations'

Pro-life leader Ryan Bomberger, chief creative officer of The Radiance Foundation, told LifeSiteNews that King's achievements "can, and must" still be celebrated, but one can no longer "ignore the personal failures."

"I know the memories of our historical heroes are sacrosanct. Some feel that addressing their flaws will erase or diminish their achievements. While I have celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.’s history-changing rhetoric on individual and societal morality and his sacrificial actions in the fight for justice, I’ve grown increasingly disturbed by his own reprehensible moral failings. From plagiarism in his doctoral work and his historic 'I Have a Dream' speech, to his denial of the inherent Divinity of Christ, to his confused and uninformed promotion of Planned Parenthood, allowing his acceptance (via his wife, Coretta) of the inaugural 1966 Margaret Sanger Award, I’ve had deep concerns about this civil rights champion," he said. 

"These latest revelations of King’s prevalent infidelity to godly character only reinforce the reality that his public virtuousness didn’t match his private vileness. I’m no advocate of purging flawed American figures from the public square; it would make for a vast empty space. But I don’t support sanitizing the lives of people like MLK. I won’t pretend his FBI-documented multiple affairs (including reportedly laughing while witnessing rape) and character contradictions don’t severely clash with a call to righteousness and justice. It comes down to integrity," he continued. 

"We can, and must, still celebrate his achievements but cannot ignore the personal failures. There has to be a congruency between what people say and what they do. As a husband and father of four, this truth is essential," he added. 

Princeton University professor Robert P. George and Rev. Eugene F. Rivers, in a piece published June 3 in The Public Discourse, related how they were “devastated by these revelations” of King treating women as “mere sex objects,” adding that the revelations “lowered King in our estimation.”

“As he traveled the country, he sought out women to use for nothing more than sexual pleasure; he took advantage of his stature and fame to seduce them; he participated in orgies; and, as we’ve noted, there is evidence that he allowed a colleague to force himself on an unwilling woman—indeed, a woman who objected to being asked to perform an immoral act,” they wrote. 

“All of this is to be condemned. It is to be condemned unequivocally—no ifs, ands, or buts. It was against the biblical Christian faith that King presented himself as holding and in whose name he spoke against racial injustice. It was against the natural moral law, which he rightly invoked in denouncing segregation and Jim Crow. It was against the Gospel proclaimed then and now by faithful Christians of all traditions and, with special force, by those of the Black church tradition which King inherited from his father, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr.,” they continued. 

George and Rivers stated, however, that “knowing the truth about King” in no way “diminishes our esteem for him, negate his work and witness in the cause of racial justice.”

“What King said about racism and segregation was true: they are contrary to the biblical teaching that each and every human being is made in the image and likeness of God and is, as such, the bearer of inherent and equal dignity; they violate the natural law,” they write. 

George and Rivers argue that King should not be stripped of his “honors for his wrongdoing.”

“Shocked by what has recently come to light, some may call for monuments to King to be taken down and for boulevards, schools, and the like that are named in his honor to be renamed. We ask our fellow citizens not to go down this road. The monuments and honors are obviously not for King’s objectification and exploitation of women, but for his leadership and courage in the fight for racial justice. Everyone understands that. Future generations will understand it too,” they write. 

The revelations of King’s sexual exploitation of women comes at a time when big names within the Catholic Church have suffered a fall from fame due to the revelation of their own secret sex lives. Such people include former cardinal Theodore McCarrick and now-deceased founder of the Legionaries of Christ Marcial Maciel. 

The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh suggested in a May 30 report that instead of erasing King from memory for his sins, people should “humanize” him by acknowledging his “darker elements.”

“We do not justify their sins or rationalize them. We discuss them, openly and honestly. And we don't look to turn them into cartoon villains, either. We see them as men — nothing more or less than that,” he wrote. 

“If they achieved great things, if they managed feats that few could manage, if they altered the course of human history, then we honor those accomplishments and perhaps even build statues in remembrance. We don't erase anyone from the history books just because they had personal flaws — even very serious flaws. But perhaps we add another page or two. We keep the monuments because the monuments are part of our history and culture, but we keep in mind that the person commemorated by the monument was just that — a person. And that is how we think of them and remember them.”

Rod Dreher commented in The American Conservative on May 26 that it would be “immoral to overlook” the new revelations on King.

“The greatness of what King achieved in American history cannot be gainsaid. But like so many other great men, he was profoundly flawed. It is immoral to overlook or dismiss the women King exploited and possibly even abused (watching with lascivious relish as a pastor colleague raped a church lady) for the sake of protecting an idol,” he wrote. 

“As Standpoint‘s editor wrote, if we are going to tell the ugly truth about sexually abusive churchmen, then we have no good reason to lie when one of them is named the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King,” he added. 

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Biden supports tax-funded abortions day after catching heat for opposing them

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By Calvin Freiburger

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ATLANTA, June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Following a single day of indignation from pro-abortion activists and fellow Democrats, former Vice President and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden formally renounced his past support for restricting taxpayer abortion funding via the Hyde Amendment.

Biden found himself in hot water this week for saying he still supported the annual budget language that forbids most taxpayer dollars from funding abortions except for those in cases of rape, incest, or to save a mother’s life. After a video showed him answering “yes” to an activist asking if he would “commit to abolishing” Hyde, the Biden campaign claimed he had misheard the question and still supported the amendment – while reserving the right to change his mind depending on the progress of “draconian attempts to limit access to abortion.”

The stance drew the ire of Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and most of his Democrat primary competitors, most of whom are currently working to stake out the most pro-abortion stance possible.

On Thursday evening, Biden announced at a Democrat National Committee fundraising gala that he no longer supports the Hyde Amendment, The Hill reports.

“If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's zip code,” Biden declared. “I can't justify leaving millions of women without the access to care they need, and the ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right.” He added that he makes “no apologies” for his previous stance, but claimed that he realized “circumstances have changed” while developing a health plan and running into the “problems that Hyde now presents.”

Republican National Committee chair Ronna Romney McDaniel slammed Biden for flipping, in the process reminding voters of the former vice president’s past and present plagiarism scandals:

“Joe Biden’s support for taxpayer funding of abortion after decades of opposition is just the latest example of Democratic extremism on abortion,” Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser responded. “Long gone are the days of ‘safe, legal, and rare.’ Since its implementation in 1976 when it was strongly supported by Democrats, the Hyde Amendment has saved the lives of more than 2 million Americans who otherwise would have been victims of taxpayer-funded abortions. There’s nothing ‘rare’ about millions more abortions if the Hyde Amendment is repealed.”

Biden’s new stance brings him in line with the rest of the Democrat field. The former vice president already had a radically pro-abortion record; as a senator he generally voted in lockstep with Planned Parenthood and NARAL. As former President Barack Obama’s running mate, Biden spent eight years in what was arguably the most pro-abortion administration in American history, during which he told a Chinese audience he “fully understand[s]” and was “not second-guessing” the country’s practice of forcing families into abortion and sterilization.

Biden, who claims to be an observant Catholic, said in 2015 that he was “prepared to accept as a matter of faith” that “at the moment of conception there's human life and being,” but wasn’t prepared to “impose” a “rigid” or “precise” view on abortion that was “born out of my faith” (ignoring that science is equally conclusive on when life begins). He didn't explain why he's against the law protecting preborn children he acknowledged are human.

Last month, Biden endorsed the idea of legislatively codifying Roe v. Wade in federal law, which would effectively bar states from enacting pro-life laws regardless of whether the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturns the 1973 ruling.

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Father Theodore Hesburgh, former University of Notre Dame president
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Alumnus accuses former Notre Dame head of whittling down school’s Catholic identity

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By Martin Barillas

WASHINGTON, D.C. June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Fr. Ted Hesburgh, who led Notre Dame University for 35 years, spent that time “bartering away” the university’s Catholic identity in exchange for academic prestige, according to one reviewer of Hesburgh’s recently released biography.

In an interview with LifeSiteNews, notable attorney William Dempsey, who leads the Sycamore Trust, a group of Notre Dame alumni, said that while Hesburgh’s efforts to pull Notre Dame out of the “Catholic ghetto” to rank alongside the Ivy League have benefited the university, Notre Dame “does not even come close” to fulfilling the basic definition of a Catholic institution.

Notre Dame no longer meets the definition of a Catholic institution, said Dempsey, for failing to have committed Catholics as a majority of its faculty. While a desire to broaden the scope of the university may have been admirable, Dempsey faulted Fr. Hesburgh for not setting up safeguards to prevent the deterioration of the university’s Catholic identity when he added non-Catholic faculty.

“That’s a real indictment of the Catholic identity of Notre Dame University,” Dempsey told LifeSiteNews, “and exactly parallels about what [Fr. Wilson D.] Miscamble” — the author of the just released American Priest: The Ambitious Life and Conflicted Legacy of Notre Dame’s Father Ted Hesburgh — “said was Hesburgh’s responsibility in that respect.”

Hesburgh was a leader in the secularization of Catholic campuses across the United States. He urged the Congregation of Holy Cross to relinquish control of the university to a lay board of trustees and convinced the leaders of top Catholic universities to sign the so-called Land O’ Lakes statement that defined the Catholic university as being free of outside institutional control. Ex Corde Ecclesiae, a 1990 document laying out the criteria necessary to qualify as a Catholic school, has been seen by some as the Vatican’s riposte to the American Catholic declaration of independence in academic matters.

In the interview with LifeSiteNews, Dempsey acknowledged Hesburgh’s personal piety, daily celebration of the Mass, and endless kindnesses to people he met. However, he referred to his review of Miscamble’s book in The Catholic Thing, in which he wrote of Hesburgh: “He was an ardent American assimilationist. He wanted America’s education, government, business, and cultural leaders to count him and his university as one of them. And in that he enjoyed considerable success.” As Hesburgh gained plaudits from liberals, Dempsey told LifeSiteNews, he was later crowned chairman of the pro-abortion Rockefeller Foundation and served on the federal Civil Rights Commission and the Harvard University Board of Overseers.

Hesburgh claimed that during his tenure at the Rockefeller Foundation, he had not voted on the programs at odds with Catholic teachings on abortion and contraception. But his official involvement with that group, which promoted abortion and contraception worldwide, “was unquestionably scandalous,” according to Dempsey.

Dempsey agrees with Miscamble that Hesburgh’s outspoken views on civil rights and the war in Vietnam were at odds with his relative silence on abortion. “To speak on abortion,” Miscamble wrote, “would have put him at odds with so many of his friends in the American establishment[.] ... It was not simply a concern about putting at risk the personal status and acceptance he had won; he represented Notre Dame, and his university was in the midst of striving to improve and to build its reputation as a modern American university.”

This striving bore fruit: Hesburgh boosted Notre Dame’s endowment from $9 million to $30 million in ten years. It now stands at $13.1 billion, having been endowed by nonprofits and corporations whose interests have conflicted with Catholic teachings.

While Hesburgh led the university in 1980, the late Joseph Buttigieg began teaching English at Notre Dame. He became a founding member and president of the International Gramsci Society, having translated and edited the three volumes of Antonio Gramsci’s ‘Prison Notebooks.” Gramsci was a philosopher who is considered one of the most important proponents of Marxism. Buttigieg’s son, Pete Buttigieg, is the homosexual mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Democratic candidate for president.

Hesburgh’s legacy lives on in Fr. John Jenkins, who as president of Notre Dame served on the board of the international nonprofit Millennium Promise. Dempsey said that when he and the Sycamore Trust, which has frequently been at odds with the university, noted that Millennium Promise was involved in population control, Jenkins — like Hesburgh — insisted at first that he had not voted on those programs. Unlike Hesburgh, Jenkins would ultimately resign from the board.

Another example of Hesburgh’s legacy to Notre Dame was Jenkins’s announcement that murals depicting Christopher Columbus that line the corridors of the main building on campus would be removed.

In April, Jenkins announced his opposition to putting an internet filter in  place that would keep pornography from appearing on campus computers, writing, “We do not believe a mandatory filter is the best solution for us” but expressing his openness to students voluntarily adopting one.

In 2009, Fr. Jenkins conferred an honorary doctorate degree on then-president Barack Obama, despite the latter’s outspoken advocacy for abortion and the redefinition of marriage. The honor stirred considerable controversy among Notre Dame alumni and among faithful Catholics. A Catholic priest was among 19 pro-lifers who were arrested as they protested against Obama. Noted theologian Mary Ann Glendon had earlier declined the university’s Laetare medal because of the honor to be conferred on the president. Fr. Miscamble was also among those who opposed the honorary degree.

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Carole Novielli

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Popular UK medical journal officially declares its support for abortion

Carole Novielli
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Lancet editorial supports abortion
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Guttmacher Lancet Commission supports abortion rights

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June 7, 2019 (Live Action News) — The Lancet has joined the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist (ACOG), American Medical Association, Contraception, and other medical organizations in their openly advocating abortion rights. The once prestigious United Kingdom–based journal describes itself as "an independent, international weekly general medical journal," but in its May 2019, Volume 393 edition, the Lancet's editorial board made the decision to become an outright advocate for abortion, calling "the right to access abortion" an "empty construct in some states in the USA."

Quoting a statement of support for abortion by pro-abortion medical organizations like the American Medical Association (AMA), Lancet editors even stunningly degraded pro-life and religious voices — including pro-life women — who advocate for preborn children by asking, "So, among all this regressive, religious, and repressive law-making, where are the advocates for women?"

The Lancet editorial was published in response to pro-life laws recently enacted in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, and other states. Studies published by The Lancet can reach an international audience. Live Action News has previously quoted from The Lancet's edited and peer-reviewed studies, including:

Lancet cover advocates for abortion, May 2019

The Journal's May 2019 cover doubled down, quoting the editorial, which reads in part:

On May 15, 2019, the Alabama State Senate passed a bill that restricts the right to abortion by criminalising doctors who do the procedure. This was followed the next day by the Missouri State Senate passing a law forbidding abortions after 8 weeks of pregnancy….

We reported, in 2017, on the start of the race to deny women their reproductive rights as Texas, Kentucky, and Utah introduced bills fundamentally undermining abortion access. The two years since have seen these laws increasing in number and scale to the point where the right to access abortion is now an empty construct in some states in the USA.

The need for women to access these services, to which they are currently constitutionally entitled, is not something that can be addressed with a ban, much less a ban of the sort that fails to allow for abortion in even the most extreme cases, such as rape….

It is right for these organisations to stand up for the rights of doctors, who are criminalised for doing their jobs, but we must all stand up for women. Abortion is a settled, inviolable right that is central to achieving not only reproductive health goals but women's freedom over their own bodies. It is of the utmost importance that medical organisations, journals, NGOs, and advocates come together to condemn the rolling back of abortion laws and campaign for rights to be respected.

In 2016, The Lancet partnered with Planned Parenthood's former "special affiliate," the Guttmacher Institute (named after a former VP of the American Eugenics Society) to form the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, which advocates for abortion globally. Money for that commission was funneled by the Packard Foundation, which has been funding abortion training, and specifically, the expansion of the abortion pill within the United States.

On its website, the journal boasts, " […] The Lancet has sought to address urgent topics in our society, initiate debate, put science into context, and influence decision makers around the world. The Lancet… retains at its core the belief that medicine must serve society, that knowledge must transform society, that the best science must lead to better lives."

Better lives for whom? Not for children in the womb, who are brutally shredded and dismembered:

But there is nothing medical about taking lives of innocent babies, simply because a person bigger and stronger no longer wishes to be pregnant. And there certainly isn't anything scientific about the dehumanization and genocide of an entire group of humans in the womb.

Published with permission from Live Action News.

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Sohrab Ahmari. EWTN via YouTube
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Conservative civil war erupts after writer blasts ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’

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By Stephen Kokx

Analysis

June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Sohrab Ahmari’s apostasy from mainstream American conservatism (also known as “classical liberalism”) and embrace of what Human Events’ global editor in chief Raheem Kassam has called “a more muscular, conservative nationalism” has stirred up a hornet’s nest of activity.

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What’s got everyone so riled up? Ahmari recently suggested that the government should ban pro-LGBT Drag Queen Story Hours at public libraries.

Ross Douthat, Rod Dreher, Matthew Schmitz, and Michael Brendan Dougherty are just some of the increasing number of right-of-center “thought leaders” commenting on Ahmari’s conversion. Countless other outlets, including many liberals, have published op-eds about it as well — Bloomberg, Vox, The Week, The Atlantic, the Washington Examiner, and Reason, to name a few.

Most establishment conservatives were left unpersuaded by Ahmari’s arguments in favor of wielding the power of the state to advance the common good. He’s a “theocrat,” whined one libertarian. Believing that the state can inculcate morality is “wishful thinking at best and dangerous in the worst case,” wrote a contributor to The Federalist. Others, more measured, still want to know what policies Ahmari has in mind. A fair concern.

Differences aside, all agree with Ross Douthat's contention that the thirty-something editor of the New York Post’s op-ed page has basically lit the fuse to the debate that will decide the future of conservatism in the United States.

Here’s what happened. On May 29, Ahmari announced his departure from “fusionist” conservatism in an essay for the increasingly anti-liberal website First Things. What that means is that he’s basically given up on the old alliance of neoconservatives, libertarians, and social conservatives and thrown his lot in with the emerging coalition of Trump-inspired economic nationalists, religious conservatives, and foreign policy realists and non-interventionists.

In his article, Ahmari took aim at National Review senior writer and Never Trumper David French, primarily because he’s opposed to the state disallowing Drag Queen Story Hours at public libraries. A seemingly fed up Ahmari threw up his hands and denounced the dogmatist view held by civil libertarians like French that says using the state as a tool is anathema.

“Conservative Christians can’t afford,” Ahmari writes, the “luxuries” of “procedural liberalism” and pluralism. “Progressives understand that culture war means discrediting their opponents and weakening or destroying their institutions. Conservatives should approach the culture war with similar realism.”

Ahmari’s main, undeniable point is that French’s approach has failed to halt the advancement of the far left’s agenda and the degradation of America. Social conservatives should fight the culture wars “with the aim of defeating the enemy and enjoying the spoils in the form of a public square re-ordered to the common good and ultimately the Highest Good,” he writes.

Ahmari admits in his nerve-striking article that “government intervention will not be the answer to every social ill” but that he still takes issue with those like French who have “a great horror of the state, of traditional authority and the use of the public power to advance the common good, including in the realm of public morality.”

Ahmari’s decision to support the more populist variant of conservative thought is no small matter. For one, he’s more or less a creature of the establishment. An up-and-coming commentator and bestselling author with bylines at The Wall Street Journal and the Jewish-run neoconservative Commentary, his rejection of the status quo likely made him a Benedict Arnold figure to many on the right.

But Ahmari gave warning signs he was heading in this direction. In February of this year, he signed on to a First Things declaration titled “Against the Dead Consensus.” Other, mostly young, conservative Catholic intellectuals added their names to it as well. Some of them have “integralist” tendencies. Reading like a Viktor Orbán speech, the manifesto calls for leaving behind the “pre-Trump conservative consensus” that “failed to retard, much less reverse, the eclipse of permanent truths, family stability, communal solidarity, and much else.” The statement goes on to say the old conservatism “surrendered to the pornographization of daily life, to the culture of death, to the cult of competitiveness. It too often bowed to a poisonous and censorious multiculturalism.”

First Things editor Rusty Reno wrote in a pro-Ahmari essay that now is the time for religious and social conservatives to take the lead on the political right. “The libertarian and classical liberal leaders have shown that they will not confront directly multiculturalism and identity politics,” Reno correctly argues. “Religious and social conservatives have a substantive vision of the common good, one all Americans can share. This gives us a basis on which to turn back the most destructive forces in our society.”

Where does this leave things? It means there’s a full-blown civil war (long overdue) between those who take an absolutist approach to free market economics, limited government, and free speech and those whose nationalistic, populist, and/or religious views make them want a more robust state that promotes virtue and restricts vice in order to fight, among other things, secularism and globalization.

At present, social media censorship, tariffs, foreign policy, multinational corporations, and immigration are just a few of the issues parties involved in this debate disagree over. It’s not that there hasn’t been a lack of consensus on these things before. It’s just that it hasn’t been as stark and out in the open as it is now, thanks in large part to the election of Donald Trump. Since he won the GOP’s presidential nomination in July 2016, the Overton Window has been expanded, and the vise grip low-tax, deregulation, foreign policy interventionists had on the political right for decades was loosened, possibly for good.

The issue now for the nationalist, conservative movement, especially for Ahmari, Reno, and others, is, how do they lead? What, specifically, are the policies they will propose, and how will they win elections, especially after Trump is out of office? Where are the future politicians who will represent this coalition going to come from and who will be their voters?

Some of those questions have already been answered and are getting answered more in depth by various writers. More will come in due time. Some were addressed in this confrontational hour-long debate between Ben Shapiro and Tucker Carlson. Watch it to get a better sense of just how much the two camps disagree on what constitutes proper government involvement, especially in the economy, in promoting the common good.

One thing Christians should keep in mind amid all the back and forth that will take place in the months and years ahead is something Rod Dreher brought up in a blog post. In Wisconsin recently, a science teacher recently revealed himself to be a transgender “woman” to his students. At a gay Pride rally in California, leftists held up signs that said, “ALL MEN SHOULD BE PENETRATED.” Dreher, who tweeted that he’s 75% with Ahmari and 25% with French, astutely remarked:

Now, Ahmari-French Debate observers, ask yourself: is it really possible to argue reasonably with people who are so fanatically committed to this revolution that they would be proud of proclaiming, on the lawn of a state capitol, that “All Men Should Be Penetrated”? That they would find it a cause for celebration that a middle-aged male teacher would spring this kind of thing on his students, and propagandize them?

This is the new normal that progressives want for us. If you don’t go along with it, you are deemed a hater and a bigot. Serious question: where is the space for rational dialogue with these revolutionaries?

In January, I wrote about the failure of the French strategy and its naïve faith in “proceduralism” and endlessly trying to reason with progressives. In my article, I argued that despite the best efforts of many God-fearing people, the West is in a situation today not unlike the time before Noah. Modern man does not seek what’s true and beautiful. His nature has been so warped by sin, unfettered freedom, and technology that he probably can’t even grasp the natural law anymore. Even if he did, he wouldn’t live by it. Seeking to merely co-exist with the corrupt, modern world is not an option. Christians must, as Brent Bozell Jr. did in the 1960s and ’70s, take a supernatural approach to politics. They must convert souls to Jesus Christ and advocate for policies that aid man on his journey to eternity: just wages, closing businesses on Sunday, a pro-family tax code, censoring public displays of irreligion, and other similar initiatives.

Social conservatives mustn’t be afraid to break ranks with mainstream American conservatives. They should, when necessary, use the authority of the state to uphold what is true and prudently restrict what is false and damaging to civic life. Error has no rights. They must lead the fight and no longer be content with being what Ross Douthat has called “junior partner” status in the conservative alliance.

Carol Robinson, a Catholic who wrote for Integrity magazine in the 1940s, once said, “Man thirsts for the infinite, not the wholesome. He will only be wooed away from the dynamism of the devil by Christian dynamism, and Christian dynamism comes from the supernatural.” A “naturally good society is impossible to fallen man.” Sound advice for today’s religious conservatives if you ask me.

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Fr. Kevin Cusick YouTube / screenshot
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Opinion

How online vitriol silences fundamental truths: Twitter mob erupts over priest’s modesty tweet

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By Lisa Bourne

June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – What happened to Father Kevin Cusick with his Twitter account this week typifies the fallen state of the world and social media discourse today.

Word spread Wednesday among Catholics on the social media platform that Father Cusick’s account had been banned or deleted, depending on who was tweeting about it.

Cusick, a Catholic priest serving in southern Maryland who is also an author and blogger, was prolific on Twitter.

He has been vocal about various things occurring in the Church and the world, and doesn’t generally mince words. Today, that gets you into trouble, with liberal big tech and the synonymous left, and just about anybody with a keyboard and an opinion.

Cusick took his account down after controversy surrounding one of his tweets earlier this week concerning another priest who’d asked a woman at Sunday Mass over the weekend to cover her shoulders. Cusick made the request in his tweet for ladies to dress modestly to help preserve the purity of men at Mass and avoid awkward situations.

“Ladies, a priest I know was forced on Sunday to ask a woman at Mass to cover her shoulders,” Cusick said. “Please help the priest to protect the purity of the men at holy Mass by choosing to dress modestly. The alternative is awkward for all involved. Thank you.”

The Twitter mob’s pounce was swift and fierce – torches, pitchforks, and all.

People quibbled with Cusick’s use of the word “forced” when referring to the priest having to ask a woman to cover her shoulders. And they ridiculed the idea that bare shoulders should constitute any problem.

The feminist class excoriated the notion of a man presuming to request a woman change her manner of dress. They, and others, attacked the idea that women should have to act to preserve purity in men.

And of course, the anti-Catholic continent dropped by in typical fashion to tar the whole Church with the clergy sex abuse brush.

It was classic social media vitriol for our time.

‘Everybody's head is ready to explode’

Before this happened Wednesday, a colleague told me he had the sense that everybody's head is ready to explode ... on a whole array of issues.

Undeniably many people have come to where they cannot simply disagree with someone, and they have lost the ability for reasonable debate or discussion in favor of being just plain nasty.

Faithful priests welcome here

I had the pleasure of meeting Father Cusick briefly last fall at the U.S. Bishops’ fall meeting, and I’d previously cited him writing for LifeSite.  

I’ve always found him to be a steady, sound, and intelligent voice of orthodoxy.

Cusick is a military veteran. He’s served his country, and he’s serving the Church. He’s explained his decision in his column at The Wanderer, and may or may not need my defense, but it’s freely given.

Why such hate for modesty?

It should be clear that Father Cusick saying the other priest was “forced” to make the request was polite speech. I’m thinking the other priest would likely have preferred to not have to say something about the woman needing to be better covered, but was obliged to in the pursuit of preserving modesty at Mass.

Father Cusick was asking ladies to use their free will to choose to dress modestly for Mass. Why is that such a problem?

It’s easy to see how the idea of bare shoulders being an issue would be a joke to many, given the ubiquitous graphic sexuality cesspool to which much of our culture has sunk. When it’s all sex all the time on all forms of media out there, shoulders are hardly shocking anymore.

I submit that people really need to stop, take a breath and also a minute to think. Perhaps there still are places where consideration of more decorum is in order.

If there’s a place where it absolutely is in order, it’s in God’s house, whether with the Tridentine Mass or not.

We’re too desensitized

I submit as well that the presumption that a woman’s bare shoulders can’t be a source of immodesty at Mass only serves to effectively demonstrate the coarsened attitudes in our culture toward the human body.

A woman’s shoulders can indeed be beautiful and attractive; the human body is a beautiful thing. That’s a good thing, and we should acknowledge it. But we’re foolish if we try to deny that even a woman’s shoulders, certainly depending on how they’re presented, can prompt certain thoughts in others.

We should accept that God made something beautiful in the body, but also accept that certain parts should be reserved for certain situations.

Do I think sleeveless tops should be banned at Mass?

No, but let’s not kid ourselves anymore, sleeveless tops very often mean playing peek-a-boo with a woman’s nearby breasts. It only takes common sense to determine if something is too revealing for Mass, even using subjective judgment, and I do think we should want to dress in a way that honors God.

‘Because it’s his job’

I’m as independent as the next woman, but I have no problem at all with a priest reminding his flock that dressing modestly for Mass should be the norm – because it’s his job, and because dressing respectfully for Mass is the right thing to do.

If you’ve opened your eyes and seen how many people dress, whether for Mass or not, then no explanation is needed for why this reminder is, in fact, quite appropriate.

I’m not a prude, but I’ll take a priest willing to defend modesty and the dignity of women and men any day over the alternative.

We all have a stake in one another’s purity

Father Cusick’s tweet might have caused the loudest head explosions from the assertion that women have a stake in preserving the purity of men.

Are the sexes really that at war with each other that we have to pretend that showing skin doesn’t have the potential to trigger a reaction?

No woman deserves to be sexually assaulted, no matter how she dresses. It shouldn’t need to be stated. But it also shouldn’t need to be stated that there are implications for immodest dress.

It’s only logical to acknowledge the fact that showing more skin is going to draw attention.

Why is it a problem to dress modestly for Mass? Are we so much at war with ourselves that we no longer recognize that we all have a stake in each other’s purity and salvation?

As women, do we really care that little about others, and about ourselves?

Modest dress is not oppression. And immodest dress is not empowerment.

The Vatican requires that women cover their shoulders when they visit. During my first time there I did so happily, at a hot time of the year. It didn’t take away from my visit or my dignity; on the contrary, it was a reminder of it.

Showing respect for Our Lord and ourselves is the least we can do at Mass.

Too much modesty isn’t the problem

The Church’s sex abuse scandal, as heinous as it is, does not negate Father Cusick from having a say in things, certainly not this.

While he does have a different standard than the laity in terms of public discourse and accountability, he did not sign away the right to freedom of speech at ordination.

Those who don’t like what Father Cusick had to say should have been able to disagree while being decent and reasonable about it – employing the actual definitions of decency and reason, not today’s non-standard of “What offends me is hate speech and should be quashed.”

Priests must speak

There may be some Catholics critical of the idea of priests or bishops evangelizing via social media. While the character limit clearly restricts the promulgation of deep thoughts, it’s still where much of the world resides and thus where they can, and often where they must be reached.

For my part, I’m not looking for the Summa on Twitter, but I am very much heartened by faithful shepherds who are out there standing for the Church, even if it means they are served ugly dust-ups as Father Cusick was.

If nothing else, their being willing to step out in this fashion shows they have skin in the game – that they care about their flock.

Cusick has been frank about the things of the world that are at odds with our faith, which expectedly garners enemies. That some of those ridiculing him over his tweet are Catholic is telling as to just how lost we have become.

With fellow Catholics like these, who needs enemies?

And absolutely, the priests and bishops who do evangelize on social media must take great care, as do we all, lest they get wrapped up and be devoured by this so often very toxic element of the world. It appears Father Cusick had this in mind with his decision to leave Twitter. Good for him.

Still, we need more forthrightness and clarity from our clergy, not less, and that includes on social media.

Catholics who follow Father Cusick were disturbed at the news that his account was shut down.

One doesn’t have to attend a particular priest’s parish or reside in a certain bishop’s diocese to be a member of his flock.

If you were on a plane, and it was in danger of going down, you wouldn’t quibble over parish affiliation when approaching the priest on the plane for absolution of your sins. Likewise in the day-to-day, if you realize the gift of the priesthood, you value the presence of faithful priests wherever you encounter them.

I’m not a member of Father Cusick’s Maryland parish, but as a Catholic I’ve been enriched by his presence on Twitter.

In a brief initial statement responding to inquiries, Cusick’s editor at The Wanderer said he’d informed them he voluntarily shut down his Twitter account “for the good of the Church.”

I certainly hope, for the good of the Church, that at some point his voice comes back to social media.

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The one charge that truly enrages feminists: Accuse them of being immodest

By Dr. Joseph Shaw

June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Last week saw the deletion of another Twitter account by someone who aroused the anger of the mob. Fr. Kevin Cusick deleted his account when, after tweeting about the importance of modest attire in church, he was overwhelmed by angry responses. Actually, “angry” was not the right word. It was deranged.

Twitter’s moderators inevitably found that Fr. Cusick has breached their rules.

In explaining why women should cover their shoulders, Fr. Cusick volunteered the suggestion that it was for the benefit of men who are otherwise distracted during Mass. This fits the same pattern of thought expressed by Maryann White, a mother who wrote to a Notre Dame student paper that the leggings worn by some female students in the Notre Dame Basilica distracted her sons. White also suffered a huge social media backlash. The more substantial objection made against both Fr. Cusick and Mrs. White is also that made against the judges or police officers who occasionally make the mistake of warning women that they increase the chance of being raped by wearing practically nothing, late at night, in less salubrious city districts, while under the influence of alcohol.

The key objection is that if anything bad happens as a result of women wearing certain clothing or behaving in certain ways, it is entirely the responsibility of the men who are the immediate causes of those bad things, whether it be impure thoughts or rape, not the women involved at a previous stage of the chain of causes.

No one would deny that blame for rape, to take the more extreme case, lies with the rapist, and it may seem over the top to suggest that anyone is suggesting anything different. The point, however, is that however carefully expressed, these kinds of remarks about the consequences of certain kinds of female attire are read as a form of “slut-shaming”: the accusation of having low sexual standards. And the fact is, there is a connection. Immodesty is an indication of low sexual standards, and Fr. Cusick and the others are, when all is said and done, accusing certain women of immodesty. The targets of this criticism are stung by it.

But hang on — you might say: Does anyone today (apart, perhaps, from Fr. Cusick’s supporters) care about being immodest? Isn’t the standard response to “slut-shaming” the “slut walk,” the flaunting of extreme immodesty? Surely, immodesty is a virtue among many today? And what could “low sexual standards” even mean in this day and age?

Well, strange as it may seem, accusations of sexual impropriety, made against women, remain the most furiously resented of all possible accusations. Accuse feminists of being cowards, liars, murderers, or thieves, and they’ll laugh it off. Accuse them of sleeping with anyone who asks, and they’ll turn up on your doorstep and burn your house down — in a manner of speaking — and then, no doubt, pretend to laugh it off, make a virtue of their promiscuity, and parade down the streets in their underwear to prove the point.

This is an empirical observation; the question of why this remains such a sensitive issue is another one. A century ago, people said the price women put on themselves affected their social prestige, desirability, or honor. Women who gave themselves away, so to speak, had a low value; women who held out for a higher price, a higher one. Is it possible that such an idea is at work in the minds of paid up feminists in 2019? They would certainly reject it consciously. All the same, search Twitter for “slut shaming,” and it is clear that something very strange is going on.

Whatever the explanation of this sensitivity about sexual standards, there is another difficulty with Fr. Cusick’s argument. If the problem with immodest clothing in church is its effect on men, then the same standards of modest clothing would logically seem to apply equally outside church — say, on the beach. But surely what we want is an explanation of why we have a special obligation of modesty in church — why, in fact, it is not right to wear beachwear to attend Mass.

Instead of talking about modest clothing, I would suggest we talk about clothing appropriate for the occasion. It is still possible, just about, to have a rational conversation about clothing appropriate for the office or for funerals; we should be able to have one about what is appropriate for Mass as well. One should not sport beachwear to Mass, if one can help it, for the same reason one should not wear it for a meeting with clients. More formal clothing is a way of showing respect to the people one is meeting. Never mind the other church-goers: in Mass, one is meeting, in a special way, the most important Person of all.

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Online perverts now have the terrifying power to use your face in porn videos

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By Jonathon Van Maren

June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In a recent report on how pornography is turning high schools into a “battlefield,” I noticed one particularly disturbing testimonial from a male student named William, aged 17:

People just talk rubbish about other people online. But then banter turns into something worse. Like Photoshopping certain people’s mothers into poses. Then the pictures go round the whole school. You’ve got no chance of stopping that. People just do it and the school has no authority over it because it’s what goes on in your personal time. Parents can’t stop it. That’s not realistic. They don’t know what’s going on, so it doesn’t really matter to them.

If you shudder to imagine a photoshopped pornographic image of someone you love making the rounds, you should know that things are about to get much, much worse in the world of digital pornography. As the UK’s Metro pointed out recently, “With the advent of deepfake porn, the possibilities have expanded even further, with people who have never starred in adult films looking as though they’re doing sexual acts on camera. Experts have warned that these videos enable all sorts of bad things to happen, from paedophilia to fabricated revenge porn.”

Deepfakes, for those of you who haven’t yet heard of them, are images and videos that utilize “deep learning AI to forge something not actually there.” This can be used in all sorts of ways, including the creation of nonexistent speeches that feature politicians or others saying things that they did not say (Bloomberg created an example of this to show how easy it is)—or to create pornographic videos featuring people who had nothing to do with the sex acts being performed in them. This has already happened to a number of female celebrities, with Selena Gomez, Emma Watson, and Scarlett Johansson all have their faces edited into porn videos. As it turns out, this isn’t tremendously difficult to do:

Using a generative adversarial network – or GAN. This is a type of AI that has two parts; one which creates the fake images, and one that works out how realistic it is, learning from its past mistakes Autoencoders are another way to create deepfakes. These are neural networks that can learn all the features of a given image then decode those features so they can change the image These methods vary in efficacy and quality, with GANs giving less blurry results but being trickier to train. Samsung recently created an AI that was able to make deepfake videos using single images, including the Mona Lisa and the Girl With A Pearl Earring. We saw these iconic paintings smiling, talking, and looking completely alive. In recent weeks, there has been an explosion of face swapping content, with Snapchat and FaceApp (among others) releasing realistic filters that allowed you to see your looks as the opposite gender, as well as previous ageing filters going viral once more. 

Experts already say that it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between a deepfake video and a genuine one. Additionally, most revenge porn laws only ban the distribution of explicit images, rather than the creation of fictional images, leaving those who will be the targets of deepfake porn with no legal recourse for the time being. Experts are already asking: what happens if a deepfake porn video starts to circulate, and everybody believes that it is genuine? How can an ordinary person without the resources of, say, a high-profile actress, fight back?

Especially considering the ugly misogyny of online culture and the propensity of trolls to resort to sexual harassment, it seems likely that this has the potential to become a commonplace practice, with people targeting their opponents with deepfake porn imagery. This was already done to a prominent female journalist in India, who vomited when she saw the video and said, correctly, that she was being targeted in order to “silence” her. For many, simply the fact that there are people using these sorts of videos for sexual purposes is profoundly disturbing and can feel like a violation all on its own. Experts are saying that governments should make pre-emptive moves to head off this incoming trend by passing laws dealing specifically with online sexual harassment.

As technology is increasingly recruited to feed our society’s insatiable sexual appetites, things are going to get worse. Sexting and the distribution of intimate images are already destroying a generation of young people, and many of them have made decisions that will haunt them for the rest of their lives before they can even drive or vote. I agree with the experts on this one: Everything within the legal realm of possibility should be done to prosecute, fine, and penalize those who create and distribute deepfake porn imagery as well as revenge porn. This has gone too far, and we will see suicides if something is not done.

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On pro-life vs. pro-abortion, the United States are more divided than ever

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By Dr. Michael Brown

PETITION: Support Bishop who is barring 'Catholic' pro-abortion politicians from Holy Communion. Sign the petition here.

June 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — I recently wrote about the coming civil war over the issue of abortion, and day by day, state by state, the divide is getting more pronounced and more extreme.

Let’s take a look at a map of America to see where things stand at the moment.

As broken down by NBC News, the states of Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia — forming a chain — along with Utah have passed strong pro-life bills. (In the vocabulary of NBC, of course, these are “anti-abortion” laws.)

Of interest is the fact that in most of these states, the bill passed with overwhelming approval in each of the legislative houses. For example, the Alabama bill, prohibiting most abortions, with severe penalties for abortion practitioners, passed by a vote of 74-3 in the House and 25-6 in the Senate. That’s what you call decisive.

In Missouri, where most abortions after 8 weeks were prohibited, the bill passed by a margin of 110-44 in the House and 24-10 in the Senate.

In Louisiana, which prohibits most abortions once the baby’s heartbeat is detected (one of 5 states to pass this law), the vote was 79-23 in the House and 31-5 in the Senate. This bill is also noteworthy in that it was signed into a law by a Democrat governor.

And there are 6 more states which have considered (or are considering) new pro-life legislation (Florida, South Carolina, Minnesota, West Virginia, and Tennessee; a pro-life bill did not succeed in Maryland). Grouping these on the map along with the 8 states that have already passed pro-life bills makes for a solid bloc, especially in the Southeastern United States.

If we add in Texas, where a very strong pro-life bill failed to pass in April, that bloc becomes even bigger.

A battle is also taking place in North Carolina (again, adding to this significant bloc of states), where legislators are trying to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the Born Alive Protection Act.

It’s also significant that there are presently 6 states with only one abortion clinic (North and South Dakota, Missouri, Mississippi, Kentucky, and West Virginia), with Missouri poised to close its last clinic until stopped by a federal judge.

Without question, major strides are being taken by pro-lifers, and sooner or later, one of these state laws will be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, potentially leading to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

On the flip side, New York, Virginia, Kansas, and now Illinois have passed (or proposed) new bills that are the most extreme pro-abortion laws in our country’s history. And in California, Governor Gavin Newsom is inviting women to come to California to abort their babies. (Is this not utterly macabre?)

As for the new law in Chicago, Liberty Counsel explains that it “is even more extreme than New York’s infanticide law. The ‘Reproductive Health Act’ repeals the state’s ban on partial-birth abortion, allowing abortions through nine months, and requires insurance companies to provide coverage.”

Yes, the bill “strips all rights from unborn children” — this is done quite explicitly, stating that the fertilized egg or embryo or fetus has no rights — and it “changes the definition of viability, and legalizes abortions through all nine months of pregnancy, up to the moment of birth, for any reason. The bill eliminates the Abortion Performance Refusal Act so that medical professionals will be forced to recommend, perform or assist in abortion procedures. This legislation also compels insurance plans to provide ‘coverage for abortion care,’ and all licensing requirements for abortion facilities would be removed.”

So, while state after state is choosing life, other states are choosing death, even allowing for things as barbaric as partial-birth abortion, along with refusing to guarantee medical care for babies who survive abortions.

Surely these grotesque and obscene bills will ultimately be overturned. Surely Americans will wake up to their defense of the indefensible. Surely the tide will turn — at least, that is my fervent prayer and hope.

As for the impending (and already growing) civil war over abortion, Axios quotes these representative, polar-opposite positions.

According to Sue Liebel, Mississippi director for the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, “For pro-life folks, these are huge victories. And I think they’re indicative of the momentum and excitement and the hope that’s happening with changes in the Supreme Court and having such a pro-life president.”

In contrast, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Kristin Ford, “The gloves are off” (among abortion opponents). “They feel like they have the wind at their backs and they don’t have to dance around their true intentions anymore.”

Indeed, we do feel the wind at our backs, but it is the wind of life, of esteem for every person, no matter of how fragile, of love for both the mother and her child.

It’s up to us, now, to seize the moment, to continue to change hearts and minds through every godly means at our disposal, to make the case for life.

The opposition will be fierce, but we’re gaining ground every day, and with a concerted, nationwide effort, bathed in prayer and fasting, we could witness a glorious, transformative pro-life revolution. And the more vehement the hatred that comes our way, the more determined we must be to “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

Let’s do it for the sake of the little ones.

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