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Fr. John Duffell and Lady Gaga Instagram / Lady Gaga
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Gay activist priest who fundraised with Lady Gaga’s charity suspended for sexual misconduct

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By Lisa Bourne

NEW YORK, July 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The priest at the helm of an LGBT-affirming parish in New York who told a potential seminarian to lie to Church leadership about his sexuality has been suspended from ministry after a canonical penal process found him guilty of serial sexual misconduct.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York told Catholic News Agency (CNA) over the weekend that Father John Duffell had been found guilty of the canonical crime of sexual misconduct resulting from an administrative penal process conducted by the archdiocese, and that the suspension is indefinite.

A source close to Duffell told CNA the allegation concerned serial misconduct over a period of some years, the report said.

The news came to parishioners of New York’s Blessed Sacrament Parish in a July 1 letter from Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

“I write to share some unpleasant and somber news concerning Father John Duffell, your just retired parish administrator,” Dolan wrote. “Father Duffell has been directed not to publicly exercise his priestly ministry due to an allegation from the past that he abused his position of authority in a violation of his promise of celibacy.”

“The allegation was made first to the District Attorney, and then brought to our attention,” Dolan said. “This allegation involves an adult; it does not involve a minor. It is important that the archdiocese take such allegations seriously.” 

Although Dolan’s letter referenced Duffell as retired, Duffell was reappointed by the archdiocese for a one-year term as Blessed Sacrament’s administrator in October 2018.

Duffell was still listed as the parish pastor on Blessed Sacrament’s website and in the latest bulletin as of press time. The CNA report said that according to archdiocesan records, he’d been appointed administrator of the parish in 2014. 

Duffell, 75, was ordained in 1969 by Cardinal Terrence Cooke, and has served mainly at parishes in Manhattan and Yonkers.

Fr. Duffell was ‘beloved by the gay community’

Duffell denied the allegation in a report from the New York Daily News. The priest had announced his retirement last Sunday and had expected to remain at Blessed Sacrament for another few weeks, the report said, but he’d told family and friends in a letter those plans changed last Monday when he was called to the archdiocesan chancery office and given a decree of suspension.

“Many years ago there was an allegation of sexual impropriety with an adult which I categorically denied because it was not true,” Duffell wrote in the letter. “Those files were subpoenaed from the Archdiocese by the Manhattan District Attorney.”

The Daily News spoke to Duffell by phone Sunday, and the priest declined to answer several questions, but said the allegation was “nothing more” than him being accused of breaking his vow of celibacy, and that the DA’s inquiry had begun very recently.

The article termed Duffell an “advocate for the LGBTQ Community,” “who for years has bucked the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality.” Calling the priest “beloved by the gay community” in its headline, the news outlet said Duffell has made national headlines for upwards of a decade “for positioning himself as an ally of the LGBTQ community.”

‘The Church is not perfect …. You deal with it as a broken system; you lie’

Duffell has been a vocal proponent of LGBT affirmation in homilies and elsewhere.

At a 2011 Fordham University conference on sexual diversity and the Catholic Church while pastor of New York City’s Church of the Ascension, Duffell said regarding LGBT issues that “the Church is perhaps the only way of affecting change in the world,” but “the Church is not perfect.” 

Duffell told a conference participant to lie to Church officials about his same-sex attraction for the purpose of being accepted to the seminary.

The prospective seminarian had asked in writing how he should deal with the feeling that he is “broken” after being told he cannot enter the priesthood because he is homosexual.

“You’re not broken, the system is broken,” Duffell answered, “and therefore you deal with it as a broken system; you lie.”

The Vatican reaffirmed in 2008 the Church’s position that men who practice homosexuality, have deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the gay culture are not suited for the priesthood. Despite Pope Francis’ repeated expressions of permissiveness toward homosexuality, the pope has said as well that homosexuals should not be allowed to enter the seminary.  

‘Gay fellowship’

Blessed Sacrament, Duffell’s most recent parish assignment, has what it calls a “gay fellowship,” which is led by a man who “married” his same-sex partner in an Episcopal church in 2016. The parish organized a celebration of the “marriage” soon after the event, openly publicizing the gathering in the parish bulletin.

Catholic Church teaching holds that while same-sex attraction itself is not a sin, homosexual acts are sinful. Church teaching further states that “homosexual persons are called to chastity” (CCC 2359), which is also what its teaching says about all people, since sexual relations are reserved for marriage, which is between a man and woman (CCC 2360).

Duffell has had a close relationship with pop star Lady Gaga, according the New York Daily News. The performer, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, shared a photo of them together on Instagram in 2016, praising one of Duffell’s sermons. 

The picture underscored Duffell’s place of recognized LGBT advocacy, with Jesuit Father James Martin sharing it on his Facebook page and on Twitter, and drawing attention to Duffell’s appearing with the performer, stating, “Yesterday my friend Fr. John Duffell met a graduate of the Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York.” 

The following year, Blessed Sacrament’s “gay fellowship” partnered with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, an “LGBT-rights” group, to hold a fundraiser at the parish. The fundraiser, a dance party, benefitted the Born This Way Foundation, one other LGBT organization, and Blessed Sacrament’s outreach to the poor.

Born This Way takes its moniker from the Lady Gaga song of the same name, popular with the LGBT movement for its message that same-sex attraction and gender confusion are innate traits. 

The Church holds as well that human beings are not defined by their sexual inclinations.

Last month Blessed Sacrament’s “gay fellowship” sponsored as a fundraiser a staged reading of “Love! Valour! Compassion!” – a Terrence McNally play about eight gay men who spend three summer weekends together at an upstate New York vacation home. The event was promoted as an observation of the 1969 Stonewall riots, considered the birth of the “LGBT rights” movement.

Following the 2002 passage of U.S. Catholic bishops’ Essential Norms for dealing with clergy sex abuse, and in particular, the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, also called the Dallas Charter, Duffell had been among the most outspoken critics in the clergy of the Church’s policy. 

He co-founded Voice of the Ordained, a group for New York-area priests and former priests with concerns about the Dallas Charter.

“Ordained ministers of the gospel are a group very much at risk at the moment,” Duffell told the Washington Post in 2002. “Given the norms approved in Dallas, anyone can make any kind of accusation against us and we're dead meat.”

In May of that year, Duffell criticized the initial suspension of Charles M. Kavanagh, a priest who was eventually laicized, and who was removed from ministry that month over allegations that he sexually abused a high school seminarian in the 1970’s.

“You almost hope the punishment could be leveled after the facts were determined,” Duffell had told the New York Times.

“According to the cardinal, this is the policy that has to be in effect because this is what the people want,” he said. “I wonder if that's really true. Isn't somebody innocent until proven guilty?”

Duffell was a technical adviser for the 2000 movie Keeping the Faith, about a priest and a rabbi in love with the same woman, their childhood friend.

In his letter informing Blessed Sacrament parishioners of Duffel’s removal from ministry, Dolan said that retired auxiliary Bishop Gerald Walsh would serve as parish administrator until a new pastor is appointed.

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With Northern Ireland govt in crisis, UK to impose abortion, same-sex ‘marriage’

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By Lianne Laurence

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, July 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — British M.P.s passed amendments Tuesday to legalize abortion and homosexual “marriage” in Northern Ireland if the devolved Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont is not restored by October 21.

The British parliament voted 332-99 on Labour M.P. Stella Creasy’s amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill to legalize abortion in Northern Ireland, the BBC reported.

British M.P.s also voted 383-73 in favour of an amendment by Labour M.P. Conor McGinn to legalize homosexual “marriage” in the region, according to Extra.ie.

Abortion is allowed in the United Kingdom up to 24 weeks but is illegal in Northern Ireland, allowed “only when the mother’s life is at risk” or if there is risk of “permanent, serious damage to her mental or physical health,” reported the Catholic News Agency.

Homosexual “marriage” likewise is not recognized in Northern Ireland.

The British Parliament’s Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill is intended to keep government “ticking over” in Northern Ireland, where the devolved executive has not been functioning since a bitter split in 2017 between the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin, according to the BBC.

The bill allows the Northern Ireland Office to defer an election of a new assembly until October, or even January 2020 if necessary. Negotiations between the Northern Ireland’s political parties have been ongoing since May 2019, the BBC reported.

With M.P.s approving the bill’s amendments Tuesday, the British government is now “obliged” to pass laws legalizing abortion and homosexual “marriage” if the Northern Ireland Office does not call a Stormont election before October 21, Extra.ie reported.

Both the abortion amendment and the homosexual “marriage” amendment include the condition that if Westminster passes such laws, a future Northern Ireland Assembly could overturn or amend them, according to the BBC.

Clare McCarthy of Right To Life UK condemned Tuesday’s Westminster vote as “an unconstitutional and disrespectful attempt to override devolution in Northern Ireland and to attempt to impose abortion on demand on the Northern Irish people.”

“It is totally constitutionally inappropriate to bring forward abortion amendments to a Bill which has nothing to do with abortion in any way, to legislate on such a sensitive matter,” McCarthy said in a press release.

“The law on this issue should be a decision for the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives, not for MPs in Westminster to decide.”

Meanwhile, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh and Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Connor strongly condemned the abortion amendment last weekend, Catholic News Agency reported.

They urged Catholics and pro-life citizens to contact members of Parliament to object to the amendments before Tuesday’s vote.

Martin is “deeply concerned by suggestions that amendments are being considered to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill ... which will hijack this Bill to remove existing legal protection for unborn babies and to ‘fast track’ the legalisation of abortion on demand in Northern Ireland,” he said July 6.

“How tragic it is for humanity that some legislators would ‘fast track’ the ending of the lives of the most defenceless in our society,” said the archbishop. 

“It is urgent to restore an executive in Northern Ireland, so that the common good of all our people can be served,” added Martin.

“There is something particularly cynical, however, in taking advantage of the present political crisis to remove the right to life of the most vulnerable of our people; the unborn baby. The common good cannot be served in this way,” he said.

Bishop Treanor circulated a letter at weekend Masses in his diocese, which includes parishes in Antrim, Down and Derry, asking Catholics to contact their M.P. “to register their objection to this undemocratic process,” the Irish Times reported.

It is “vital” that Northern Ireland citizens “and especially Christian citizens, take note that the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill, now before the Westminster Parliament, is being used to introduce amendments aiming to liberalise provision of abortion in Northern Ireland without the say-so of either the citizens of Northern Ireland or their elected representatives,” the bishop wrote.

Treanor viewed “with the deepest concern this eleventh hour initiative by some MP’s to table amendments to a Bill, whose primary function is to put in place measures to accommodate the ongoing absence of a Northern Ireland Assembly,” he wrote.

“The issue of the protection of human life and the redefinition of marriage are not … devolved matters, which should be decided upon by the people of Northern Ireland,” Treanor stated.

Democratic Unionist Party deputy leader Nigel Dodds denounced the decision by Labour to add amendments to the bill as “deeply unhelpful” to the talks at Stormont, and said it was wrong for M.P.s at Westminster to try to take control of such issues in Northern Ireland, according to the BBC.

Bishop John Sherrington, auxiliary bishop of Westminster and life issues spokesman for the English and Welsh bishops, also urged Catholics to object to the bill’s amendments, CNA reported.

“Such a change would leave Northern Ireland with a significantly different abortion framework to the Republic of Ireland, where, following the recent referendum, there is a twelve week limit,” Sherrington stated.

“It would also leave Northern Ireland, England and Wales with some of the most extreme abortion laws in the world, and more than twice the limit of most European countries,” he said.

Right to Life UK said if the amendment passed, it “would potentially lead to significant numbers coming across the border for abortions from the Republic of Ireland,” where abortion is generally limited to up to 12 weeks, reported CNA.

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Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent

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Vincent Lambert’s impending death now ‘irreversible’ as hospital stops food, water

Jeanne Smits, Paris correspondent
By Jeanne Smits

Analysis

REIMS, France, July 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — There is no longer any hope for Vincent Lambert, France’s Terri Schiavo. After six days without food and five without fluids — except for the sedatives and painkillers being administered to a man who is purported to have no consciousness of the world around him or of his own body — damage to his vital organs has become “irreversible.” He may still live for a few days, perhaps even a week. But on the pathway to death on which he was placed for the third time last Tuesday, Vincent has passed the point of no return.

In a heartbreaking statement published this Monday by those members of his family who have fought so bravely for Vincent’s life and for his transfer to a specialized unit in which his handicap and severe brain damage would have been properly addressed, Pierre and Viviane Lambert, his parents, and David and Anne, two of his siblings, announced that there would be no more legal action.

They wrote:

Dear friends who have supported us so strongly throughout these six years,

This time, it is finished. These last days, our lawyers have continued their legal action and carried out ultimate actions to ensure that the suspensive appeal benefiting Vincent at the UN be respected. To no avail.

Death is now inevitable. It was imposed on him as well as on us. While we do not accept it, we can only resign ourselves, in sorrow and with incomprehension, but also in Hope.

We all wanted to thank you for your friendship, love, support and prayers over the years. There is nothing more to do but to pray and accompany our dear Vincent, in dignity and silent prayer. By thought and prayer you are all close to us, with Vincent.

We ask the journalists present in front of the CHU to have the decency to respect our family intimacy in these sorrowful moments.

Pierre, Viviane, David and Anne.

Their lawyers, Jérôme Triomphe and Jean Paillot, also published a short communiqué acknowledging that they had no more legal options. Last Friday, their last-ditch appeal to the administrative tribunal of Châlons-en-Champagne was rejected.

They also filed a complaint, on the same day, against Dr. Vincent Sanchez, who initiated the end-of-life procedure last week, for “attempted murder with premeditation.” According to mainstream French media, Sanchez was heard by the police in Reims last weekend. But whatever becomes of this lawsuit, it will be too late for Vincent Lambert.

Triomphe and Paillot stated:

All through last week, we have taken many ultimate actions to try to ensure that the suspensive appeal benefiting Vincent at the UN be respected. We no longer have any recourse and it is now too late. Vincent is dying. The situation Dr. Sanchez put him in is now medically irreversible. These moments are very sorrowful for everyone.

The time has come for silent prayer, together with the whole family, out of respect for Vincent and his surroundings.

There will be no further statements.

The two lawyers took up Vincent’s cause from the start in April 2013, marking their first victory by forcing the Reims university hospital where he lies in a geriatric and palliative care department to feed and hydrate him after a full 31 days without food and only 500 mL of water per day.

Thirty-four legal decisions later, in a battle that added six years to the life of Vincent, who was severely handicapped by a road accident but needed no special treatment, the end-of-life procedure to which he has been submitted is more efficient and calculated to kill fast.

Would Vincent have wanted to die the cruel death to which he has been subjected? Who could possibly want to die such a death, in which a patient’s vital organs are deliberately brought to fail through lack of hydration? Who would want a seven-day agony, and more, without nursing staff being allowed to relieve thirst? Even condemned prisoners are given to drink when led to the place of their execution.

During these terrible days, Vincent Lambert received visits organized by his legal guardian, his wife Rachel, who has been favorable to his death since the implementation of the first end-of-life procedure, interrupted in May 2013 after 31 days of interruption of nutrition and minimal hydration.

What is striking, when the supporters of his death appear on French TV screens, is their dismay. This suggests that the vision of a slow, deliberate death of thirst and hunger is deeply shaking.

François Lambert, Vincent’s half-nephew who has initiated several legal actions to obtain the legal killing of his uncle, Monday condemned the duration of this allegedly chosen death process. “This is a body that will slowly die over two weeks without hydration and food,” he said Monday on RTL Radio. He spoke of a “body” that is going to die, not of a person.

“Clearly, it’s the law that imposes that and it’s also an interpretation of the law, that is, the law actually leaves a lot of room for the doctor and very little for patients, and it’s usually the doctor who decides. There are doctors with whom the process lasts six hours, there are doctors with whom it lasts three days and there are doctors with whom it lasts one or two weeks. The High Authority of Health is more on the side of 1 or 2 weeks, and the current murder complaint lodged by Vincent’s parents is encouraging the doctor to take his time too, so as not to be accused of euthanasia, and to not be accused of euthanasia it must last as long as possible. Which I think is frankly sadistic,” he said.

But through whose fault? Are the parents responsible, because they filed a complaint? Is it the health authorities, or even the Leonetti “end-of-life” law itself, as François Lambert would have it? If there is sadism at work — and François insists on that point, affirming: “I want to say, unfortunately, it is not a euthanasia; otherwise, it would go faster, indeed, it would be a little less sadistic from my point of view” — it is because of the will of those who for six years have been calling for Vincent’s death.

Those who fought for his life have underscored the cruelty and inhumanity of death by deprivation. The head doctor of a clinic in Montpellier, Vincent Brun, while personally in favor of the principle of euthanasia, declared to the local press shortly after the end-of-life procedure was aborted on May 20:

With Vincent Lambert, we are not dealing with a problem of the right to die with dignity. We're talking about his life, not his death. So where is dignity? When you kill someone, you say so. For me, it’s euthanasia. What Vincent Lambert was subjected to, the stopping of care, I would not do to my dog.

Marie-Geneviève Lambert, Vincent’s older sister who favors his death, told a journalist on Monday: “Watching this death firsthand is a terrible situation. Besides, it’s a bit guilt-inducing, when it’s just that we can’t do otherwise,” she said, with tears in her voice.

Her emotion was certainly real, but it missed out on what so many specialized doctors have said in the case of people like Vincent Lambert who have a low level of consciousness: in a proper structure, where his parents wanted him to be transferred, it would have been possible to have good care and a “life project,” in conformity with a 2002 French law on the treatment of handicapped persons.

The pro-euthanasia “Die with dignity movement” (Association pour le droit de mourir dans la dignité, ADMD), which is calling for a full-fledged euthanasia law, has taken up the case to demand a further step toward the voluntary elimination of human beings in the name of patient autonomy. “So are no media wondering about the fact that it has already been 6 DAYS since we stopped Vincent Lambert’s nutrition and hydration? Doesn’t this practice of slow death make anyone worry?!” said a message on the ADMD’s Twitter account.

Clearly, Lambert’s predicament and death are being used to further the euthanasia agenda in France.

Euthanasia remains illegal in this country, but since 2005, when the first end-of-life law was adopted under the patronage of legislator Jean Leonetti, stopping nourishment and, in a certain measure, hydration is legal for patients who are not necessarily at the end of their lives but considered as not having lives worth living.

Since 2016, a new law has been adopted, in particular because Vincent Lambert had gained a reprieve after his parents’ lawyers fought the application of the Leonetti law to his particular situation. Now administration of food and fluids directly to the stomach has been officially defined as a medical treatment that needs to be stopped when a doctor considers that a patient is being subject to “unreasonable obstinacy” on the medical level. These “treatments” are allowed to be stopped, provided they are accompanied by deep sedation so that the patient is at no risk of feeling pain or thirst.

According to one of the specialized doctors who accompanied Viviane and Pierre Lambert through their legal battles, however, Vincent has not even received sufficient sedation.

The Catholic bishop of Montauban in the South of France, Bishop Bernard Ginoux, has published several messages over the last days making clear that Vincent is being killed.

“#Vincent Lambert. Nothing can justify this death that is coming little by little. It’s a murder scheduled by doctor’s orders. It’s barbarism on its way,” he wrote on Twitter last week.

“#Vincent Lambert is dying little by little; he is being killed by inhuman powers. As a hospital chaplain, I have seen sublime last moments. His end is a martyrdom,” he added this Monday.

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Participants in the Rome Youth Conference 2018 pose for a photo with Cardinal Raymond Burke.
Voice of the Family

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Apply for Voice of the Family’s 2nd annual Rome youth pilgrimage – scholarships available!

Voice of the Family
By

July 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Voice of the Family invites young Catholic adults to take part in its second annual youth programme in Rome on Sept 27-Oct 3, 2019

Widespread and profound confusion on matters of faith and morals, even within the Church, means that the formation of a new generation of Catholic leaders is now vital to the future of the pro-life movement. Through the international youth programme, Voice of the Family seeks to identify prospective leaders and offer them the formation and fellowship that would help them to defend the unchangeable teachings of the Catholic Church in years to come. The young Catholics adults, who will take part of the programme, therefore, receive a specific invitation to give their lives (in whatever vocation they choose) to work full-time for the apostolate of restoring the Church to Christ through His Holy Mother. 

Click here to see the videos and talks of last year.

The participants are expected to fully participate in all planned activities. The schedule will be as follows:

Created for Heaven: the mission of Catholic young adults in today’s world

Rome, 27 Sept - 3 Oct 2019

  • Sept 27: Arrive in Rome
  • Sept 28: Public witness
  • Sept 29: Sunday (a day of rest, no fixed programme)
  • Sept 30: Seven churches pilgrimage
  • Oct 1: Conference Day 1
  • Oct 2: Conference Day 2
  • Oct 3: Depart from Rome

Requirements 

The ideal participants: 

  • Are between the ages of 18-29
  • Have a passion for the Catholic Church and evangelization
  • Have a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings
  • Desire to devote themselves to an apostolic activity in service of the Church
  • Must have a valid passport and be able to travel between Sept 27- October 3, 2019

Please fill out the application and attach your cover letter and resume. Applications are due August 1, 2019.

Scholarships

There are a limited number of full and partial scholarships available. Full scholarships will cover the participants’ return travel to Rome, conference fees, accommodation and meals in Rome. Partial scholarships will cover all expenses in Rome (conference fees, accommodation and meals). We will be in touch with all applicants in the first week of August. 

Please apply here: https://lifesitenews.bamboohr.com/jobs/view.php?id=46

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Dr. David Mackereth
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Christian doctor sues UK gov’t after he was fired for refusing to use transgender pronouns

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By Martin Barillas

BIRMINGHAM, England, July 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A Christian doctor is asking the British government to allow him to use pronouns for his patients that match their biological sex.

Dr. David Mackereth, who was fired by Britain’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) because he did not address so-called “transgender” claimants by their pronouns of choice, said after appearing before a tribunal on Tuesday that he wants "the right to practice medicine as a Christian doctor."

The father of four claims that DWP is in breach of the Equality Act and his right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. He had been with the National Health Service for 26 years.

Dr. Mackereth, 56, said using “transgender pronouns” violates his conscience. In 2018, he told The Telegraph, “I believe gender is defined by biology and genetics. And that as a Christian the Bible teaches us that God made humans male or female.”

He said he fears that Britain’s Equality Act 2010 endangers free speech for Christians. According to DWP, Mackereth’s failure to accommodate his patients’ pronoun preferences amounted to harassment, as defined by the Equality Act, and he was dismissed from his position as Health and Disability Assessor.

The Christian Legal Centre (CLC) is representing Mackereth and claims the DWP is in violation of the Equality Act for compelling him and other staff to use “transgender” pronouns.

In particular, CLC lawyers argue that DWP discriminated against Mackereth because of his Christian beliefs, including “his belief in the truth of the Bible,” which recounts that human beings are made in the image of God. According to CLC, “It follows that every person is created by God as either male or female. A person cannot change their sex/gender at will. Any attempt a , or pretence of, doing so, is pointless, self-destructive, and sinful.”

CLC chief executive Andrea Williams said in a release that the requirement to use so-called transgender pronouns “defies common sense and Christian faith” but serves to filter out “firm Christians and men of principle such as Dr. Mackereth.” She said that by giving away the “essential freedom of thought, conscience and religion” that “no other freedom is safe.”

“If freedom to tell the truth – in this case calling a man ‘he’ and a woman ‘she’ – is suppressed, then truth itself is suppressed,” Williams said.

In June 2018, Mackereth began work as a Health and Disability Assessor, having received intensive training for his role in DWP’s eligibility determinations for disability subsidies. After just a few days as an assessor, Mackereth was called in by James Owen of the APM employment agency, which had recruited him. Owen questioned Mackereth about comments he made during training, when he was told that his reports must refer to clients by the pronouns they choose, regardless of their biological sex.

According to CLC, Owen allegedly asked, “What would you do if you were to assess someone who is obviously a man but asks to be referred to as ‘she’ or ‘Missis’ in the report?” In response, Mackereth replied he could not use the preferred pronouns. Mackereth told Owen that as a Christian he believes that “gender is determined by biology and genetics,” and that he is not ashamed of his beliefs.

In a release from CLC, Mackereth recalled the example of Martin Luther, who said when confronted about his faith, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God. Here I stand, I can do no other. So help me God.” Mackereth was soon dismissed from his job.

According to CLC, Mackereth said physicians and society as a whole are “not allowed to say what we believe.” Moreover, he said his case shows that Britons are “not allowed to think what we believe” and “not allowed to defend what we believe.”

Expressing the stakes before the tribunal, he said, “Christians must be able to hold and express their faith in private and public and to uphold Biblical and scientific truths without fear of losing their livelihoods."

The DWP said it could not comment. Evidence is due to be submitted in the case on Wednesday.

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Judge rejects abortion lobby’s request to block Kansas ban on webcam abortions

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By Calvin Freiburger

TOPEKA, Kansas, July 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Kansas abortion facility will not resume offering so-called “webcam abortions” after a state judge’s refusal to grant an injunction against a 2018 law concerning the procedure.

From last October until the end of December, the Wichita-based Trust Women Foundation (TWF) had been conducting telemedicine abortions, in which a patient listens to a doctor on a video screen while abortion pills are dispensed. TWF temporarily ceased the practice due to legal uncertainty in light of state laws on the subject, the Associated Press reported.

TWF had gone to court seeking clear permission to resume webcam abortions without legal penalty, but Shawnee County District Judge Teresa Watson denied their request on the grounds that “there is no evidence the challenged laws decrease access to abortion,” and that it was “speculative” to claim TWF’s clients would be “irreparably harmed” without the injunction.

Also at issue was whether the law in question even specifically banned the practice. Watson determined that the “Telemedicine Act does not authorize or prohibit any specific medical procedure,” the Wichita Eagle added. “There was no testimony that a physician performing telemedicine abortions made a decision to stop doing so because of the challenged laws, or for any other reason.”

The case is complicated because of previous judicial rulings on abortion in the state. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in April that the state constitution contained a fundamental “right” to abortion. State judges have previously blocked older versions of the webcam abortion ban, and a 2018 version is currently in litigation after Shawnee County Judge Franklin Theis ruled that it lacks enforcement provisions. 

There currently exists a “growing procedural backwater” on the subject, Watson wrote, that impairs her ability to “resolve the underlying merits of the telemedicine abortion issue.”

But for the moment, TWF is staying out of the webcam abortion business. “We cannot broaden that access and feel confident that the clinic or the physicians will not be penalized for that,” TWF CEO Julie Burkhart said. “If we’re putting our physicians or the clinic in jeopardy, we’re working against our mission. The mission is to bring access to people.”

“We’ll see what it means in the long run. But for now, and especially coming from a woman, it’s a great decision,” Kansas for Life director Mary Kay Culp said.

“Once this case got out of Theis’ courtroom, we finally got a reasonable ruling,” Operation Rescue president Troy Newman said of the news. “We are grateful that women in Kansas are now protected from this sketchy practice. ... We hope this means Trust Women will be killing fewer babies. They will now have a chance at life, and women will be safer because of it.”

Pro-lifers argue that abortion pills aren't truly safe for women even when “properly taken,” and administering them without full medical supervision only increases the danger.

“As of December 2017, there were reports of 22 deaths of women associated with Mifeprex (the federally-approved prescription version of mifepristone) since the product was approved in September 2000, including two cases of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; and several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal,” the U.S. Food & Drug Administration warned, on top of 2,740 cases of severe complications from 2000 to 2012.

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Chick-fil-A rises to third biggest restaurant chain in the United States

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By Calvin Freiburger

July 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Christian fast food chain Chick-fil-A may be open 52 days a year less than the competition, but it’s still managed to become the third largest restaurant chain in the United States, according to new numbers released by Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN).

NRN’s analysis finds Chick-fil-A rising to third place from seventh place the year before, Fox Business reports, with its $38.52 billion in total sales placing it just behind McDonald’s and Starbucks. The chain has over 2,400 locations in 47 states and enjoyed double-digit sales growth for the fifth year in a row.

The company is famously operated on the Christian principles of its national leadership, including closing on Sundays, listing “to glorify God” as part of its corporate purpose, and its active charitable arm. Former Chick-fil-A CMO Steve Robinson connects its values to its success, telling Fox Business that its treatment of customers is what makes it truly stand out.

“Chick-fil-A is known for their food but quite frankly we’ve become better known for our service and our hospitality,” Robinson said. The “brand is built around gracious engagement and genuine engagement.” The company also has fun with its clientele, offering free food to anyone who dresses in cow costumes or apparel every July 9, also known as Cow Appreciation Day.

The company is also known for numerous instances of charity and volunteerism, serving free food to blood drives for shooting victims and travelers stranded by blackouts and snowstorms, funding various children’s programs including education and foster care, and even managers of individual stores who have helped homeless people and flood victims in need.

Regardless, liberals have long advocated boycotting Chick-fil-A due to CEO Dan Cathy’s stated opposition to same-sex “marriage” and the company’s donations to social conservative groups such as Family Research Council and Focus on the Family.

Despite pro-LGBT activists’ common insinuations that its Christian conservatism translates to “excluding” or otherwise mistreating anyone, many homosexual employees and customers have attested to positive, welcoming experiences with Chick-fil-A. Nevertheless, the chain has faced efforts to exclude it from college campuses, airports, community events, and more.

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton and the Trump administration’s Department of Transportation are currently looking into whether the City of San Antonio violated any laws or regulations against religious discrimination when it voted in March to exclude Chick-fil-A from Texas’s San Antonio International Airport.

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Top US teachers’ union endorses ‘fundamental right to abortion’

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By Calvin Freiburger

July 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The largest union representing teachers in the United States formally adopted a statement at its annual representative assembly last week embracing a “fundamental right to abortion,” labeling pro-life Americans as “misogynistic” in the process.

New Business Item 56 declares that the National Education Association (NEA) “will include an assertion of our defense of a person's right to control their own body, especially for women, youth, and sexually marginalized people. The NEA vigorously opposes all attacks on the right to choose and stands on the fundamental right to abortion under Roe v. Wade.” 

It justifies this stance on the grounds that the “The most misogynistic forces, under [President Donald] Trump, want to abolish the gains of the women's right[s] movement.  Women's leadership is essential for any successful egalitarian movement and therefore must be protected.”

Education Week reports that some members objected to taking a clear stance on abortion, on the grounds that it was beyond educators’ scope and could drive away pro-life teachers, but they were overriden by the majority. 

The NEA’s pro-abortion bias is nothing new; it advocates and donates heavily to a wide range of left-wing causes including abortion, and works with with far-left groups such as Planned Parenthood, the Women’s March, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) to “push a radical sexual agenda onto our kids and to punish teachers, parents and students who dare to speak out against it,” according to former California teacher Rebecca Friedrichs.

Education Week notes that in previous years the NEA has officially denied being pro-abortion, citing a 2005 document claiming that while the union “supports the current protections guaranteed under the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision” – which mandates legal abortion at least until viability and effectively for all nine months when read in conjunction with Doe v. Bolton – this somehow did not constitute supporting abortion. “NEA does not have a pro-abortion policy. Period,” the document declared, adding that it “has not spent one penny under its legal services program defending their right to have an abortion.”

“The reason for being cagey about it is because there is a significant number of teachers who refuse to join NEA because they believe the organization supports abortion. For many years, some NEA delegates have attempted to get the union to take a neutral stance on abortion, but have always failed,” Mike Antonucci writes at Education Intelligence Agency. “An [New Business Item] does not supplant the union’s resolutions, but at least for a year it expresses the will of NEA’s largest policy-making body.”

At the representative assembly, the NEA also endorsed the #MeToo movement and called for training on “white fragility” in discussing racism. NEA Vice President Becky Pringle, a self-declared “fierce social justice warrior,” also announced she’s running for president of the NEA.

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California bill forcing priests to violate the seal of confession withdrawn

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By Doug Mainwaring

SACRAMENTO, California, July 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In a surprise move, a proposed California law which would have forced Catholic priests to violate the seal of confession was tabled yesterday after the bill’s author realized the measure lacked sufficient support to pass.  

The Angelus, a publication of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, attributed the shelving of Senate Bill 360 to “a remarkable grassroots campaign mounted by the state’s Catholics, members of other faith groups, and religious liberty advocates from across the country.”     

“The action follows the delivery of tens of thousands of letters, emails and phone calls from Catholics and others concerned with the free expression of religion,” declared a statement issued by the California Catholic Conference. “Hundreds more planned on boarding buses from as far away as Los Angeles to voice their opposition tomorrow.”

“SB 360 was a dangerous piece of legislation,” said LA Archbishop José Gomez, reacting to the news in a statement. “It was a threat to the sacrament of confession that would have denied the right to confidential confessions to priests and tens of thousands of Catholics who work with priests in parishes and other Church agencies and ministries.”

Gomez said that the bill “was more than that – it threatened the conscience of every American. If any legislature can force believers to reveal their innermost thoughts and feelings shared with God in confession, then truly there is no area of human life that is free or safe from government intrusion.”

“This outcome is good for the Catholic people of California and for believers of all faiths, not only in this state but across the country,” said Gomez.

“An amazing number of people spoke to their legislators to explain the sacred nature of the Sacrament of Reconciliation,” said Andrew Rivas, executive director of the California Catholic Conference. “It is important to our spirituality and our relation to God and to others. Our thanks go to all who played a part.”

A just-released analysis of the now-defunct bill by the staff of the Public Safety Committee noted it had received opposition from more than 125,000 individuals, with more still being delivered, according to the California Catholic Conference.   

In May, Democrat state Sen. Jerry Hill introduced the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (SB 360), which would have mandated that priests file a report if they learn of child abuse in confession or counseling. Priests who failed to report what they heard under the seal of confession would have faced six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.

The Democrat legislator said the goal of the bill was to preserve “the safety and protection of children. Individuals who harm children or are suspected of harming children must be reported so a timely investigation of law enforcement can occur. The law should apply equally to all professionals ... with no exceptions period. The exemption for clergy only protects the abuser and places children at further risk.”

“The clergy-penitent privilege has been abused on a large scale,” said Hill, “resulting in the unreported and systemic abuse of thousands of children across multiple denominations and faiths.”

The bill would have placed Catholic priests in an untenable situation: A choice between imprisonment or excommunication. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states unequivocally, “The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore, it is a crime for a confessor in any way to betray a penitent by word or in any other manner or for any reason” (CCC 2490). According to canon law, any priest who breaks the seal incurs automatic excommunication.

Catholic priests also have the right to hear Confessions anonymously behind a screen, the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts affirmed in 1998.

“I will go to jail before I will obey this attack on our religious freedom,” wrote Bishop Michael Barber to his Oakland, California Diocese while Bill 360 was still under consideration. “Even if this bill passes, no priest may obey it. The protection of your right to confess to God and have your sins forgiven in total privacy must be protected.”

By late last month, concern regarding the bill had reached all the way to Rome, eliciting comment from Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, with Pope Francis’ approval: “Every political or legislative initiative intended to ‘force’ the inviolability of the sacramental seal would constitute an unacceptable offense against the libertas Ecclesiae (freedom of the Church), which does not receive its legitimacy from individual states, but from God.” 

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Australian priests say they’ll risk jail to protect seal of confession from new law

Costa Rica wants to force Catholic priests into violating seal of confession

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Trump admin names pro-marriage Harvard prof to new panel on human rights

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By Calvin Freiburger

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration announced Monday it is organizing a new commission to review the international understanding of human rights, and has selected socially conservative human rights scholar Mary Ann Glendon to chair it.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the new Commission on Unalienable Rights “will provide the Intellectual grist of what I hope will be one of the most profound re-examinations of inalienable rights in the world since the 1948 Universal Declaration [on Human Rights at the United Nations],” the Washington Post reports. The panel is charged with offering “fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights.” 

While natural law, as articulated in the works of Enlightenment thinkers such as John Locke, provided the intellectual basis for the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution, invoking the term is controversial among those who favor emphasizing so-called “collective goods” or “social justice” above the notion of unalienable individual rights that transcend government.

An anonymous State Department official told the Post that the commission “will not make any pronouncements on gay marriage and abortion,” but observers on both sides expect the panel to impact both issues anyway – if not by directly opposing them, then by pushing back on the premise that human rights principles require countries to accept them.

“The idea is these claims of human rights are not based upon natural law or the truth of the human person,” University of Notre Dame professor Daniel Philpott said. “In a sense, these are false claims to human rights. It brings down the cause of human rights in general. Why should we pursue other human rights if human rights can be anything one faction or party advocates them to be?”

Five Democrat lawmakers, meanwhile, wrote to Pompeo to criticize the commission’s emphasis on the grounds that they considered “natural law” a “term sometimes used in association with discrimination against marginalized populations.”

Heading the panel will be Glendon, a Harvard Law professor, former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, and author of a book on the origins of the 1948 Declaration. Catholic News Agency notes that she has also served in the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and in 1995 led a Holy See delegation to the fourth U.N. Women’s Conference in Beijing.

Pro-LGBT media such as the Washington Blade are seizing upon Glendon’s history of opposition to same-sex “marriage.” In past writings, she argued that “what same-sex marriage advocates have tried to present as a civil rights issue is really a bid for special preferences of the type of our society gives to married couples for the very good reason that most of them are raising or have raised children,” and accurately predicted that “every person and every religion that disagrees [with same-sex marriage] will be labeled as bigoted and openly discriminated against. The axe will fall most heavily on religious persons and groups that don’t go along.”

In 2009, she also rejected an award from the University of Notre Dame in protest of its decision to give an honorary degree to former President Barack Obama despite his pro-abortion stance. “A commencement...is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision – in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops – to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice,” she wrote at the time.

Speaking to the press Monday about her new position, Glendon said she welcomes the “challenging” task of “giving a priority to human rights at this moment when basic human rights are being misunderstood by many, manipulated by many and ignored by the world’s worst human rights violators.”

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Raymond Ibrahim

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When Islam smashed Christendom’s army on the 4th of July

Raymond Ibrahim
By Raymond Ibrahim

July 9, 2019 (American Thinker) — Soon after liberating the ancient Christian city of Antioch from Muslim oppression, the First Crusaders managed in 1099 to realize their primary goal: take Jerusalem from Islam.

Despite all the propaganda that surrounds the conquest of Jerusalem, there were very few Muslim calls to jihad (only one is known, and it quickly fell on deaf ears). After all, in the preceding decades, and thanks to Sunni and Shia infighting, local Muslim populations were hardly unused to such invasions and bloodbaths.

In Muslim historian Ibn al-Athir's words, "[w]hile the Franks — Allah damn them! — were conquering and settling in a part of the territories of Islam, the rulers and armies of Islam were fighting among themselves, causing discord and disunity among their people and weakening their power to combat the enemy."

In this context, the pure doctrine of jihad — warfare against infidels — was lost to the average Muslim, who watched and suffered as Muslim empires and sects collided.

It was only during the reign of Imad al-Din Zengi (d. 1146) — a particularly ruthless Turkish warlord and atabeg of Mosul and Aleppo — and even more so under his son and successor, Nur al-Din (r. 1146-1174), that the old duty of jihad was resuscitated. They founded numerous madrasas, mosques, and Sufi orders all devoted to propagandizing the virtues of jihad and martyrdom. Contemporary literature makes clear that Islamic zeal (or, in modern parlance, "radicalization") reached a fever pitch during their reigns.

It was in this context that a Kurd from Tikrit emerged on the scene. Salah al-Din — the "Righteousness of Islam," or Saladin (b. 1137) — formerly one of Nur al-Din's viziers, conquered Fatimid (Shia) Egypt in 1171. On his master's death, he quickly moved and added more Muslim territories — Damascus and Aleppo — to his growing empire, thereby realizing the crusaders' worst fear: a united Islamic front.

According to his biographer, Baha' al-Din, Saladin was a pious Muslim — he loved hearing Koran recitals; prayed punctually; and "hated philosophers, heretics, and materialists and all opponents of the sharia." Above all else, he was a devotee of jihad: "The sacred works [Koran, hadith, etc.] are full of passages referring to the jihad. Saladin was more assiduous and zealous in this than in anything else. ... . [H]e spoke of nothing else [but jihad], thought only about equipment for the fight, was interested only in those who had taken up arms, had little sympathy with anyone who spoke of anything else or encouraged any other activity."

By spring of 1186, Saladin's empire had so grown that he felt that the time was right: "[w]e should confront all the enemy's forces with all the forces of Islam," he told a subordinate. Before long, the crusader kingdoms had to marshal all their forces to meet him, near Nazareth in the summer of 1187. Although Saladin had more men — approximately 30,000, half of whom were light cavalry and many of whom were slave-soldiers — the Christians, under the leadership of King Guy, had assembled the largest army since capturing Jerusalem, consisting of some 20,000 knights, including 1,200 heavy horse.

Aware that a head-on assault was futile, Saladin withdrew his forces and went to and besieged the nearby crusader kingdom of Tiberias. Some twenty miles of stony, parched land — with no natural water sources or wells — stood between the crusader army and the besieged city. Nonetheless, on July 3, they set out to relive it.

Looking "like mountains on the march," a Muslim chronicler remarked that the "hardened warriors" moved "as fast as if they were always going downhill," despite being "loaded down with the apparel of war."

On learning that the crusaders had fallen for his trap, Saladin rubbed his hands with glee: "[t]his, indeed, is what we wished for most!" He immediately dispatched his light cavalry to harry the crusaders. Guy hurried the march: the real battle — and water — lay in Tiberias, but when swarms of Muslim archers bogged down his rear force, the king ordered the entire army to halt and fight near a parched and ominous double hill formation, known as the Horns of Hattin.

"This was on a burningly hot day," writes a Muslim, "while they themselves were burning with wrath." According to Ernoul, a European squire who was present:

As soon as they [Franks] were encamped, Saladin ordered all his men to collect brushwood, dry grass, stubble and anything else with which they could light fires, and make barriers which he had made all round the Christians. They soon did this, and the fires burned vigorously and the smoke from the fires was great; and this, together with the heat of the sun above them caused them discomfort and great harm. ... When the fires were lit and the smoke was great, the Saracens surrounded the host and shot their darts through the smoke and so wounded and killed men and horses.

This continued into nightfall. No one slept; from the surrounding darkness, the Muslims, who by now "had lost their first fear of the enemy and were in high spirits," made a great din. "They could smell victory in the air, and the more they saw of the unexpectedly low morale of the Franks the more aggressive and daring they became." Out of the smoke-filled gloom and into the crusader camp came volley after volley of arrows, accompanied by cries of "Allahu akbar" and triumphant iterations of the shahada, the Islamic declaration of faith.

Matters only worsened with the breaking of dawn, July 4: seventy camels laden with water and arrows had arrived to refresh and replenish the Muslim camp, and because Saladin's archers could now see, even more precise shafts continued to rain on the crusader camp. The sadistic sultan further ordered "water pots placed near the [crusader] camp" and "then emptied in view of the Christians so that they should have still greater anguish through thirst, and their mounts too."

Trapped like wild animals and driven to the brink of madness, the crusaders charged at their tormenters. And so, to quote Ibn al-Athir:

The two armies came to blows. The Franks were suffering badly from thirst, and had lost confidence. The battle raged furiously, both sides putting up a tenacious resistance. The Muslim archers sent up clouds of arrows like thick swarms of locusts, killing many of the Frankish horses. The Franks, surrounding themselves with their infantry, tried to fight their way toward Tiberias in the hope of reaching water, but Saladin realized their objective and forestalled them by planting himself and his army in the way.

As the battle raged, Muslim reserves "created more brushfires and the wind carried the heat and smoke down on to the enemy. They had to endure thirst, the summer's heat, the blazing fire and smoke and the fury of battle." Yet the desperate crusaders fought on: "Terrible encounters took place on that day," writes another Muslim chronicler; "never in the history of generations that have gone have such feats of arms been told."

The crusaders, who "burned and glowed in a frenzied ferment," knew that "the only way to save their lives was to defy death," and so "made a series of charges that almost dislodged the Muslims from their position in spite of their [greater] numbers, had not the grace of Allah been with them. As each wave of attacks fell back they left their dead behind them; their numbers diminished rapidly, while the Muslims were all around them like a circle about its diameter."

By now the crusader army consisted of a confused mass of desperate men stumbling over the bodies of their dead. Forests of prickly shafts appeared everywhere — in man, beast, and earth. Encircled by an ever shrinking ring of fire and Islamic horsemen, tormented by arrows and thirst, the Fighters of Christ finally succumbed.

The rout was complete, the gloating great: "[t]his defeat of the enemy, this our victory occurred on a Saturday, and the humiliation proper to the men of Saturday [Jews] was inflicted on the men of Sunday [Christians], who had been lions and now were reduced to the level of miserable sheep," concluded one Muslim contemporary. In the end, single Muslim soldiers were seen dragging as many as thirty crusaders with one rope, any of whom would once have terrified the same — so maddened with thirst and reduced to delirium were the Europeans.

Saladin "dismounted and prostrated himself in thanks to Allah." Next he ordered the mass slaughter of the military orders — those warrior-monks most committed to the cause, the Knights Templar and Hospitallers. "With him was a whole band of scholars and Sufis and a certain number of devout men and ascetics; each begged to be allowed to kill one of them, and drew his scimitar and rolled back his sleeve. Saladin, his face joyful, was sitting on his dais" as they carved off the heads of their Christian captives.

Then "that night was spent by our people in the most complete joy and perfect delight ... with cries of 'Allahu Akbar' and 'There is no god but Allah,' until daybreak on Sunday," piously concluded a Muslim chronicler.

Finally, adding insult to injury, Saladin had the True Cross — for centuries Christendom's most revered relic, which was brought by the crusaders to and captured by the Muslims at Hattin — spat upon and dragged upside down in the dirt.

For long, passersby could still see "the limbs of the fallen cast naked on the field of battle, scattered in pieces over the site of the encounter, lacerated and disjointed, with heads cracked open, throats split, spines broken, necks shattered, feet in pieces, noses mutilated, extremities torn off, members dismembered, parts shredded, eyes gouged out, [and] stomachs disemboweled."

Because so many professional fighting men were lost at Hattin, several vulnerable crusader kingdoms and strongholds were quickly captured by the determined sultan. After a desperate siege that began in September, the holed up crusaders even surrendered Jerusalem.

Now "a great cry went up from the city and from outside the walls, the Muslims crying the Allahu Akbar in their joy, the Franks groaning in consternation and grief," wrote the Muslim chronicler. "So loud and piercing was the cry that the earth shook. ... The Koran was raised to the throne and the [Old and New] Testaments cast down," as Saladin "purified Jerusalem of the pollution of those races, of the filth of the dregs of humanity."

Muslims appreciated the continuity: "[t]his noble act of conquest was achieved, after Omar bin al-Khattab [the caliph who first conquered Jerusalem in 637] — Allah have mercy on him! — by no one but Saladin, and that is a sufficient title to glory and honor."

The above account is excerpted from Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West — a book that CAIR and its Islamist allies did everything they could to prevent the U.S. Army War College from learning about.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Don Boys

Opinion , ,

Christian schools will regret surrendering to LGBT bullies

Don Boys
By Don Boys

PETITION: Support 10-year-olds suspended for asking to be excused from LGBT lesson Sign the petition here.

July 9, 2019 (American Thinker) — You don't win battles when there is an abundance of white flags in your arsenal. Christian universities haven't grasped that concept. One after the other, Christian schools have hoisted the white flag of surrender regarding their practices, policies, and precepts. That's called apostasy.

Last month, California passed a resolution calling on religious leaders to affirm homosexuality and "transgenderism" and to accept that Christian efforts to help people with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion are "ineffective, unethical and harmful." Eager to please, Dr. Kevin Mannoia, Azusa Pacific University (APU) chaplain and the former head of the National Association of Evangelicals, kissed the LGBTQ ring and genuflected under the rainbow flag by "directing pastors and counselors to reject biblical views of sexuality and deny counseling for those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion."

And another white flag went up.

Earlier, Azusa had shamefully lowered the banner of Calvary and raised another white flag of surrender after hoisting the rainbow flag of perversion. (Last week, I did a national radio show dealing with homosexuality and perversion, and the host said, "It's been 30 years since I've heard perversion and homosexual used in the same sentence.")

Azusa Pacific University "specifically removed language that barred LGBTQ relationships as part of a standing ban on pre-marital sex" from its student handbook, according to media reports. That is the third time the Christian university changed its position on "gay" relationships.

Moreover, the Christian school with Christian professors and Christian staff, meeting in buildings built by Christian donors, will now accept non-Christian students. Many Christian schools require potential students to sign a clear statement that they are active Christians.

The school promises to treat everyone "with Christ-like care and civility. Our values are unchanged." Well, not exactly. Of course, their values have changed at least three times. First they were against perversion since the school's inception in 1899. Then they weren't against perversion. After further thought and donor pressure, they were against it. Finally, they voted to satisfy the LGBTQ crowd and make everyone welcome.

The school's position is shocking, especially since APU has a Wesleyan tradition that has always put an emphasis on holy living. But hey, that's as old-fashioned as other biblical values such as not fornicating, lying, or stealing.

About two hundred students gathered on campus "in support of LGBTQ students who may have been hurting as a result of the reinstatement of the ban." "Been hurting" seems to be an overstatement. They were simply told that perversion was not permitted on campus just as fornication was not permitted. Even two professors met with the students and "prayed" with them. They, along with the students, should have been sent packing.

The school also declared that the "APU community remains unequivocally biblical in our Christian evangelical identity." That is dishonest double-talk, since they have departed from a clear biblical position. That is obvious when the LGBTQ crowd crowed there would be no more "stigmatizing of queer people specifically."

Christian institutions need to use biblical terms in such matters. They can clearly require no sexual relations of any kind between two (or more) unmarried individuals. All sex is wrong without marriage, and homosexual acts are wrong under all conditions. Of course, the schools are trying to stop the plunge in enrollment and the bleeding of school bank accounts, so they give a little here and give much more there — soon they have a secular school whose biblical past embarrasses their progressive leaders.

APU has antagonized its financial base, and it announced early this year that it plans to cut six percent of its faculty positions. Moody's Investors Service downgraded the school's bonds to junk bonds, and last fall, the school admitted that it had almost a $10-million operating deficit.

So it's time for damage control.

APU and more than 170 other Christian schools are members of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU). President Shirley Hoogstra is dealing with a simmering insurgency of its members because the group did not take action against two member schools who went on record to permit same-sex "marriage" couples on faculty and staff — Goshen College and Eastern Mennonite University. Schools have bailed out of the CCCU because of the biblical apostasy of permitting schools to go soft on sodomy. Other schools are ready to pack up and move out of the CCCU unless changes are made by this August.

The nightmare position for the universities is that the LGBTQ crowd will use their legal clubs to beat them into submission — they will lose their tax-exempt status, student aid, property tax exemption, and other goodies from the state and federal governments. Maybe then they will have only God upon whom they can depend.

Cedarville University's President Thomas White said Cedarville "will not compromise on the biblical view of marriage." Good for them, but we will see what Cedarville, Liberty, Biola, and scores of other Christian universities do if the court says, "Accept homosexuality or close your doors."

All these Christian universities have walked the same path, a path of compromise that promised more students, more acceptance, more prestige, and government money. All the schools, such as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, were highly motivated but lost sight of their commitment to a high view of Scripture. One of their first and biggest mistakes was to seek secular accreditation. At least the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities was supposed to be biblical. But that always led to approval by secular regional accrediting associations. Even the longtime holdout Bob Jones University has caved and has joined the rush for the Good Housekeeping Seal of Acceptance in the august field of education. About 90% of the CCCU's member schools hold secular regional accreditation.

It is wrong for a Christian institution to surrender some of its autonomy to get a little reward. There is nothing free except personal salvation. Christian colleges made a Faustian bargain to give a little autonomy for the grand prize, and now it is time to pay the devil his due: capitulate to federal demands, or close your doors. It is my opinion that the schools will collapse like a house of cards to retain their tax advantages and regional accreditation. No, none of the schools would fall down and worship the golden calf — but they will worship the calf of gold. If Christian institutions surrender their tax-exempt status, there will be no more leeks, garlic, and onions — or federal handouts.

There is open rebellion on the Christian university campuses causing rejoicing by the LGBTQ crowd but resulting in revulsion, repudiation, and rejection by a Holy God!

Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives who ran a large Christian school in Indianapolis and wrote columns for USA Today for eight years. Boys authored 18 books, the most recent being Muslim Invasion: The Fuse is Burning! eBook is available here with the printed edition (and other titles) at www.cstnews.com. Follow him on Facebook at Don Boys, Ph.D. and visit his blog.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.

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Tony Perkins Tony Perkins

Opinion , ,

California mandates LGBT ‘sensitivity’ for teachers, even when they disagree

Tony Perkins Tony Perkins
By Tony Perkins

PETITION: Support 10-year-olds suspended for asking to be excused from LGBT lesson Sign the petition here.

July 9, 2019 (Family Research Council) — Apparently, it's not enough that schools are indoctrinating students — they want to brainwash teachers too! In California's public schools, where the districts have their hands full just raising test scores, it looks like the faculties will have to take time out from actual educating to master a new subject: LGBT sensitivity.

Under a new bill just approved by the state assembly, every junior high and high school teacher would be ordered to undergo training on how to support kids who identify as LGBTQ. That includes everything from referring students to activist organizations to launching school-wide efforts aimed at encouraging confusion like transgenderism. The legislation, AB 243, passed unanimously — 61-0, with virtually every Republican refusing to vote.

Our friends at California Family Council are horrified that anyone would force teachers to promote an agenda that the American College of Pediatricians calls "child abuse." "This mandated training," CFC's Greg Burt warns, "will put Christian public school teachers in the position of promoting and approving beliefs that clash with their biblical values. This conflict is already happening. According to information the California Family Council recently received from concerned Christian elementary school teachers, LGBTQ teacher training is already being used to shame teachers into promoting gender and sexual orientation beliefs they disagree with."

Amazingly, the idea of these annual in-services is so radical that when it passed in the last legislative session, even former Governor Jerry Brown, a liberal, vetoed it. As far as he was concerned, there were plenty of laws already in place to stop discrimination in California schools. "If local schools find that more training or resources on this topic is needed, they have the flexibility to use their resources as they see best," he said in September.

But unfortunately, California's extreme wing isn't easily deterred. The proposal is headed to the Senate Education Committee, where leaders will hopefully hear some of the horrifying accounts of teachers who've already been exposed to similar training for even younger grades. "One school teacher from a school district just north of San Diego described how the LGBT training she received last January ridiculed her Christian upbringing and forced teachers to raise their hands to expose their beliefs on gender in order to shame them... Teachers who admitted their parents had a binary/biblical view of gender were told how wrong and backward those views were."

"Teachers also received instructions on keeping secrets from parents. 'It was shared with us that when a child tells us they are transgender, gay, or want to be the opposite sex we are not allowed to share it with their parents,' the teacher explained. The preferred name and pronoun of the student should be used, but 'it should be kept private until the child is ready to share it with the parents.'"

In handouts, elementary school staff were encouraged "to help little children transition away from their sex assigned at birth' to their 'affirmed gender.'" And that was on top of asking those same districts to do away with gender-specific sports, restrooms, and locker rooms.

The bill's sponsors say they want to end bullying — which is ironic, since this training would be institutionalizing it! Either way, the threat is real. If you or someone you know lives in California, make sure they take the time to contact their state senators. For contact information or to identify specific members of the Senate Education Committee, follow this link. To make sure you're prepared when an idea like this hits your home state, check out FRC's publication, "A Parents' Guide to the Transgender Movement in Education."

Published with permission from the Family Research Council.

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William Kilpatrick

Opinion , , ,

Italian schoolkids can’t sing ‘Silent Night’ because it might offend Muslims

William Kilpatrick
By William Kilpatrick

July 9, 2019 (Turning Point Project) — "Schoolchildren banned from singing Silent Night over fears it will offend other religions." So reads a headline in the Express. Instead of singing the lyrics which might "offend other religions," schoolchildren in Bresciano, Italy were told to hum the tune.

If you have trouble guessing what other religion might take offense, it probably means that you've spent the last eight years in the Galapagos Islands studying the evolution of finches. Either that, or you work for the State Department. Those who have been paying attention know that the religion in question is Islam. The new rule, to paraphrase Robert Spencer, is "When in Muslim countries, do as the Muslims do, and when in non-Muslim countries, do as the Muslims do."

Thus, in one Italian town, "Silent Night" can't be sung, and in another, a priest has cancelled a traditional Nativity scene at the local cemetery out of respect for Muslim graves. Meanwhile, in Sweden, the traditional St. Lucy's Day celebration has been cancelled by several towns and cities so as not to offend other religions. In response, Sweden's Muslim community has decided to cancel all festivities connected to the celebration of Eid al-Fitr, out of respect for Christians.

I made up that last sentence, of course; Muslims don't seem to worry overmuch about offending other religions or, for that matter, about offending secular sentiments. As is increasingly apparent, multiculturalism is a one-way street. Christians are expected to make concessions and yield up cultural territory while secularists (on the one hand) and Islamists (on the other) use multiculturalism as an excuse to engage in cultural land grabs.

In reality, multiculturalism is a one-way street to a monoculture. Secularists do not wish for a society with a rich diversity of thought and belief. What they are working toward — as can be seen most clearly on college campuses — is a complete uniformity of thought. To the extent that secularists are interested in other cultures, they are interested in using them to undermine the Judeo-Christian, Greco-Roman inheritance. Muslims also desire a monoculture — although a decidedly non-secular one. However, they are quite willing to take advantage of multicultural orthodoxy in order to advance their own agenda.

Islamists are willing to play the multicultural game, but occasionally their condescending attitude towards other cultures peeps through the veil of taqiyya. Consider this from Islam Question and Answer:

It is not permissible for a Muslim to eat things that the Jews and Christians make on their festivals or what they give him as a gift on their festivals, because that is cooperating with them and joining in with them in this evil...

The authors of Islam Question and Answer are not worried about offending other religions, and neither is popular Indian Islamic preacher Dr. Zakir Abdul Karim Naik. On December 24, he wrote the following on his Twitter account:

Wishing "Merry Christmas" to Christians is Worst Evil, worse than fornication or murder... Please avoid it my dear Muslim brothers and sisters... It's a big sin..."

In the West, Muslims are willing to make a nod toward the Western celebration of diversity. But in Muslim majority nations it's a different story. To the extent that other faiths are tolerated, they are tolerated only insofar as they accept dhimmi status. The second-class status of Christians was originally set down circa 640 A.D. in the Conditions of Omar. Among other things, the rules stipulated that Christians:

  • were not to build or repair churches
  • were not to clang cymbals or bells, or display crosses on churches
  • were not to raise their voices during prayer or readings or songs in churches anywhere near Muslims
  • were not to make their religion appealing, nor attempt to proselytize.
  • must adopt a humble demeanor, and yield their seats to Muslims

The Conditions of Omar largely fell into disuse in the last century, but as Islam scholar Raymond Ibrahim points out, they are being revived:

These debilitations and humiliations which were inflicted upon the Christians of the Islamic world in the past are at this moment being inflicted upon the Christians of the Islamic world in the present, as a natural consequence of Muslims returning to the authentic teaching of Islam. Those teachings ... are fundamentally hostile to non-Muslims and their religious worship.

Indeed, it is now possible to speak of a genocide against Christians in the Middle East. Much of this is the work of ISIS and other terrorist groups, but these organizations are themselves a reflection of a widespread animosity toward Christians. According to Fr. Benedict Kiely, founder of Nasarean.org:

... this isn't just ISIS ... it's Islamic fundamentalism — extremism — attacking Christians. They just don't want Christians around even in relatively peaceful places like Dubai... They don't really want Christians around.

This extremist attitude was building long before ISIS came into existence. And as a result, the Christian population of the Middle East has dropped precipitously since the mid-twentieth century. For example, in 1950 the Christian population of Palestine was 15 percent; today it is 1.3 percent. The population of Bethlehem in the 1950s was 86 percent Christian; today it is 12 percent.

European Christians and secularists who think that opening their borders to millions of sharia-shaped migrants is going to result in increased diversity ought to take a lesson from the experience of Christians in the Middle East. If Muslim colonization of the West follows suit, it's not just Christmas songs and celebrations that will be endangered, but Christianity itself.

The multicultural vision of a harmonious melding of different cultures and traditions is based on the shallow assumption that underneath the "superficial" differences, all cultures subscribe to the same decent and humane values that are taken for granted in the West. It is increasingly apparent, however, that this is a dangerous assumption to make. Groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram consider sex slavery and beheadings to be legitimate expressions of their faith and culture. And many of the refugees pouring into Europe carry that mindset with them. As their number increases, we can expect an increase in attacks on infidels — more sexual assaults on unveiled women, more attacks on churches and synagogues, and more targeting of shoppers at malls and Christmas markets. The road to the multicultural promised land is already paved with many skulls.

The Italian schoolchildren who were not allowed to sing the lyrics of Silent Night were participants in a "Winter Recital." Formerly it was called a "Christmas Concert." All over the U.S. and Europe, similar name changes have been offered up to the god of multicultural diversity. For instance, in Belgian school calendars, Easter Vacation is now Spring Vacation, Christmas Vacation is Winter Vacation, Lenten Vacation is Rest and Relaxation Leave, and All Saints' Day is now referred to as Autumn Leave.

Autumn Leave? How does the song go? Oh, yes — "The falling leaves drift by the window/The autumn leaves of red and gold." The leaves of appeasement have been drifting by our window for some time now. The thing about autumn leaves, however, is that they turn rather quickly from red and gold to a uniform dull brown. The kind of concessions that the Belgian schools, along with the Italian schools, and the Swedish communities are making are not harbingers of a bright, multicolored future, but of a grey monochrome one.

This article appeared in the December 30, 2016 edition of Crisis. It is published here with permission from the Turning Point Project.

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Linda Harvey

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Medical establishment has betrayed children, parents with transgender insanity

Linda Harvey
By Linda Harvey

July 9, 2019 (Mission America) — I have a dream. 

In my dream, hundreds of parents, doctors, counselors, and pastors are protesting outside children's hospitals throughout America.

They keep protesting, not just for one day, but for months.

They march in front of Lurie Children's in Chicago, Boston Children's, Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital, Nationwide Children's in Columbus, Cincinnati Children's, Children's Medical Center in Dallas and unfortunately, many, many others.

Through faces of anguish, outrage and determination, the spirit of truth prevails. They carry signs with messages like these:

  • "Stop mutilating young bodies!"
  • "Your white coats hide black hearts!"
  • "Gender 'change' is impossible! Stop the abuse!"
  • "Keep Big Pharma hormones out of my child's body!"
  • "Malpractice suits ahead — stop the gender train!"

I dream of siblings who will bravely carry placards reading, "You took my sister away. She's not my brother!" and other signs offered by furious de-transitioners: "I want my body back!"

It's time for America to wake up and object to the mutilation of children's bodies, minds and spirits as "transgender" clinics betray exploding numbers of teens and children. 

Why such a surge in demand? A growing audience is responding as American consumers often do: buy the latest, heavily marketed product, regardless of safety or one's actual need.

Hundreds of children and teens every day are now convinced they need to transform into the opposite sex, and some parents accompany them like cattle into the slaughterhouse, where there has emerged quite suddenly only one standard of care — say "yes" to the myth of "transition" and quickly prescribe drugs to shut down normal body processes or assault others. 

How did we get here? And how can we reclaim the pediatrics profession from the primitive witch doctors and activists leading this retreat into barbarism?

We can first look to the UK, where some brave people are standing up to expose the lunacy. Five clinicians resigned a few months ago from the Tavistock Clinic in London over the unneeded treatment of children as young as three in what they called an "unregulated experiment." That clinic's patient volume rose from 94 in 2010 to 2,519 in 2018.

Once upon a time, when children were confused about gender, doctors adopted a "watchful waiting" protocol, knowing that the child's confusion might be caused by trauma, unresolved emotional issues, other developmental struggles or family problems. There was reluctance to rush into prescribing puberty blockers to be followed by opposite sex hormones and then, mutilating surgery, all severe treatments with lifetime implications. 

Infertility. Loss of bone mass. Unpredictable mood swings. Future heart disease, stroke and cancer risks. And a continuing risk of suicide, because the real problems usually remain unaddressed.

Some observers point to an article published in 2013 that went a long way toward radically re-directing the former medical "best practice" of careful evaluation and watchful waiting. The new approach urged "affirmation," given immediately. Start medical treatment ASAP, treating the child's desire as equivalent to reality.

The problem is, of course, reality itself. 

The authors of this article are not just dispassionate, objective health professionals. They are hardcore activists. Some are "LGBT" identifiers themselves.

The eight authors are Marco Hidalgo, Ph.D., Children's Hospital Los Angeles; Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D., San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital; Amy Tishelman, Ph.D., Boston Children's Hospital; Leslie F. Clark, Ph.D., MPH, Children's Hospital Los Angeles; Robert Garofalo, M.D., MPH, Lurie Children's Hospital Chicago; Stephen Rosenthal, M.D., San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital; Norman P. Spack, M.D., Boston Children's Hospital; and Johanna Olson, M.D., Children's Hospital Los Angeles, who is now Joanna Olson-Kennedy, "married" to a female-to-male "transgender."

Ehrensaft is on the board of the radical group Gender Spectrum. Tishelman is also active with that group as well as with the extreme international "trans" medical pressure group, WPATH. Garofalo is past president of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. Olson-Kennedy has received awards from the Stonewall Democratic Club and Equality California. Spack opened the first gender clinic for children in the U.S. in 2007 and boasts about this "accomplishment."

Do these sound like independent medical researchers to you? 

And yet four of them (Rosenthal, Garofalo, Spack and Olson-Kennedy) recently received a grant for a research study from National Institutes of Health to measure the "progress "of gender-confused youth taking these potent, unneeded medications. This study is already being promoted, ahead of its completion, as the magic wand to dispel any concerns about the medical mutilation of children in the name of sexual anarchy.

Just a couple of gigantic problems. Researcher bias is almost guaranteed. And this study has no control group. The only subjects are kids who are currently taking puberty-blockers/opposite sex hormones. 

So what are the chances the investigators will uncover disturbing findings and disclose them? "Wait!! Stop!! Gender reassignment is a huge hoax and is inflicting severe, permanent harm to vulnerable children! We can no longer condone the misuse of drugs assaulting healthy children's bodies to achieve a nonsensical goal." 

And maybe then revert back to the time-honored "waiting" protocol, because it usually works. In 85-90% of the cases, children resolve their distress by adulthood and accept their biological sex.

Will these researchers backtrack? Will Nancy Pelosi become a conservative Republican? 

Jane Robbins at The Public Discourse has written about this NIH study in detail with many valuable insights.

What makes highly educated people go this direction — to ruin children's bodies and lives while believing they are doing good?

As already mentioned, many are close allies with "LGBT" groups and individuals. The other issue may be money.

The NIH study mentioned above is $5.7 million for five years. Hmm...not bad for studying 250 kids to come to a foregone conclusion.

And then there's the exploding market. These clinics are among the latest profit centers for hospitals with many services not covered by insurance. It's a cash cow, and the pharmaceutical companies producing the puberty-blockers and hormone medications love the new market for older drugs. Are there financial incentives for docs and hospitals that prescribe their medications? 

Of course there are.

But then, there's another group, one that can give us all hope, one with more sense, motivated by the breathtaking betrayal of modern medicine. 

Parents. Many of them have joined together to fight gender change "affirmation" and its horrific aftermath. One such group is the Kelsey Coalition

Others are loosely aligned groups of young de-transitioners who went through these treatments and have deep regrets.

When will the mainstream media finally decide to blow the lid off this abuse?

Who knows, but in the meantime, those of us who do know must keep talking, writing, exposing this evil.

And praying.

Published with permission from Mission America.

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Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug

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Stop cramming LGBT propaganda down the throats of ex-homosexuals and ex-transgenders

Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug
By Doug Mainwaring

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – June, the formerly wonderful month marking the beginning of summer, is now a dreadful 30-day ordeal during which corporate America, news and social media compete to display their “wokeness,” relentlessly force-feeding us LGBT propaganda whether we like it or not.  

Many don’t like it. Those of us who formerly lived as gays, lesbians, and transgender men and women are especially appalled by it. The rainbow flag is not an emblem of freedom; it is an offensive symbol of bondage, a bondage that eats away at the souls of men and women who are unable to escape the dark dominion it represents.  

Here’s a brief sampling of what Facebook – and many of the companies I now only begrudgingly patronize – tried to cram down my throat day after day during June:

Our hometown Washington Nationals struck out on Facebook    Facebook Screenshot

Our Electric Company’s shocking Facebook promotion.      Facebook Screenshot

Colgate toothpaste’s ad on Facebook left a bad taste in my mouth. Facebook Screenshot

My home state on Facebook, not really making me feel at home.
Maryland, the “Freestate,” is not free.       Facebook Screenshot

The state where I was born on Facebook, beckoning me to vacation there
while disingenuously linking “Pride” with “Freedom.” More accurately,
“This summer, we celebrate bondage and sodomy.” Facebook Screenshot

Philadelphia on Facebook: Where gay Democrat lawmakers
verbally assault elderly women as they pray in front of
Planned Parenthood.                              Facebook Screenshot

The Smithsonian, whose stated purpose is: “The increase and diffusion of knowledge,”
chooses instead to diffuse LGBT propaganda.                                 Facebook Screenshot

Boeing on Facebook: Promoting gay aircraft. I prefer safe aircraft. 
Facebook Screenshot

Magination Press on Facebook: In case I want to indoctrinate
— groom — a child.                                   Facebook Screenshot

Facebook’s rainbow bombarding was endless. Here are just a few more screenshots from my Facebook feed:

 

Above: Nissan, Swimways, Microsoft, and Ft. Lauderdale, all pridefully displaying their
wokeness on Facebook.                                                                         Facebook screenshots 

Each of these companies, sports teams, and tourist destinations trivialize their corporate identity and diminish their company’s mission by trying to make a big rainbow splash in June.  

A common refrain repeated by LGBT activists nowadays is that the Trump administration is trying to “erase us,” for instance, by preventing transgendered  individuals from serving in the military. 

Interestingly, it is more legitimate to say that corporate giants, mainstream media, and especially social media are trying to “erase” chaste and ex-homosexuals and ex-transgenders. We are an inconvenient truth. They don’t want us to exist, but we do.     

A few days before “Pride Month” festivities began, an extraordinarily significant event occurred in Washington, D.C. I was there to witness and report on it:

Ex-homosexual and ex-transgender men and women from around the country descended upon the Nation’s Capital this weekend for the Second Annual “Freedom March,” where they proclaimed the freedom they've found in abandoning homosexual and transgender practices. 

During “Pride Month,” our story about these men and women – ignored by mainstream media – was shared on Facebook over one million times and continues to climb, demonstrating the public’s weariness with rainbow pride propaganda. Starved for the truth, the steady saccharine diet of rainbow sprinkles becomes nauseating. 

“Look at this! This is Amazing! They say we don’t exist!” declared author and documentary producer M.J. Nixon, a March co-founder, as many gathered for a group picture. About 200 participated this year – a threefold increase over last year.

One testimony after another from the racially diverse group of young people spoke about their personal conversion to Jesus and the freedom they have found from lives dominated by active homosexuality or gender dysphoria. 

Wouldn’t it be something if one – just one! – corporation rejected the gaudy rainbow baloney next June and instead promoted the beauty of complementarity? Or of families headed by a mom and a dad? Or the importance of religious liberty?   

It probably won’t happen any time soon. Why? Because there is not one large corporation in America – not one! – that does not tremble before the LBGT Juggernaut.  

They are complicit not only in erasing former gay and transgendered individuals, they are in the process of erasing marriage, family, and ultimately, Christianity.  

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Michael L. Brown Michael L. Brown Follow Dr. Michael

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The truth about so-called ‘conversion therapy’

Michael L. Brown Michael L. Brown Follow Dr. Michael
By Dr. Michael Brown

July 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – In light of the latest attack on sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE), namely, Amazon’s banning of books on the subject, we do well to separate fact from fiction. Are these change efforts really so dangerous? Should they be banned and even criminalized?

According to the critics, “conversion therapy” is dangerous and harmful because it tries to change something that cannot be changed, akin to trying to change a lefthanded person into a righthanded person. In keeping with this analogy, it would also say that there is something fundamentally wrong with being lefthanded.

As expressed in California’s SB 1172, which was signed into law in 2012 and criminalized SOCE for minors, “Sexual orientation change efforts pose critical health risks to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, including confusion, depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, suicidality, substance abuse, stress, disappointment, self-blame, decreased self-esteem and authenticity to others, increased self-hatred, hostility and blame toward parents, feelings of anger and betrayal, loss of friends and potential romantic partners, problems in sexual and emotional intimacy, sexual dysfunction, high-risk sexual behaviors, a feeling of being dehumanized and untrue to self, a loss of faith, and a sense of having wasted time and resources. This is documented by the American Psychological Association task force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation in its 2009 Report of the task force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation.”

Is this true? Certainly not.

According to Christopher Doyle, himself a former homosexual and today, a licensed therapist, “Despite the claims of harm cited in SB 1172, the American Psychological Association task force did not actually provide evidence to back up the 28 health risks listed above. In fact, none of these health risks have been documented in the scientific peer-reviewed literature outside of a few published and unpublished anecdotal reports from adults. But there is not one single outcome-based study in the scientific literature of minors undergoing SOCE therapy to back up these claims.”

In short, while there is no doubt that some people have been hurt by SOCE, there is also no doubt that the harm has been exaggerated.

In fact, it is these exaggerated charges, including shock treatment and torture camps (as if sadistic therapists try to torture gays into becoming straight), that have been used to criminalize SOCE efforts for minors in other states.

Not only so, but many people have been helped through SOCE. 

As noted by Brandon Showalter, “A new study is challenging the American Psychological Association's contention that therapies for unwanted same-sex attraction are harmful.”

“The study, ‘Effects of Therapy on Religious Men Who Have Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction,’ which was first published July 23 in The Linacre Quarterly, finds that sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE), often derisively called ‘conversion therapy,’ improves the mental health of participants. Researchers surveyed 125 male residents of the United States.”

We should also remember that the very term “conversion therapy,” as noted by Showalter, is derogatory more than descriptive. It was coined by critics to describe professional efforts to help people with unwanted same-sex attractions (or, unwanted gender identity confusion). This would be like white supremacists calling the Civil Rights movement the “Black Aggression Movement.” 

Such derogatory monikers are unfair and unhelpful. That’s why we do better to speak of SOCE. Why use the language of the critics?

As to the alleged harm of SOCE, while it’s true that there have been examples of abusive practices in the past, similar abuses have been documented in other types of psychotherapy as well. (In other words, shock treatment was formerly used to treat a wide variety of mental disorders.)

More importantly, professionals involved in SOCE engage in talk therapy, speaking with their clients and helping them get to the root of their inner-conflicts and struggles.

What on earth is so bad about this? What is so frightening?

I could also point to a book like Twelve-Step Horror Stories which “tells tales of unmitigated horror. And all of them occur either in 12-step support groups or in treatment based on the 12 step of Alcoholics Anonymous.”

Should all twelve-step programs be banned? Should books promoting them be removed from Amazon?

And what of various diet fads, leading to many horror stories? Should diet books be banned? Should weight-loss programs be criminalized?

Why is it, then, that books promoting SOCE are singled out? Why is it professional therapy that addresses LGBT concerns that is being banned and criminalized?

Even the idea that homosexuality is immutable, a sacred plank of gay activism, is being challenged on many new fronts.

In fact, Dr. Lisa Diamond, a lesbian activist and respected researcher in the American Psychological Association, said this in one of her lectures: “I feel as a community, the queers have to stop saying, ‘Please help us. We’re born this way, and we can’t change’ as an argument for legal standing…and that argument is going to bite us in the a**, because now we know that there’s enough data out there, that the other side is aware of as much as we are aware of it.”

Yes, the data is out there, but LGBT activists and their allies want to suppress it. Let the truth be told.

Rod Dreher pointed out that currently, on Amazon, you can buy books ranging from Hitler’s Mein Kampf to Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones, “which calls on Muslims to wage relentless global jihad against non-Muslims and insufficiently radical Muslims, until the entire world is under radical Islamic rule.” But you can no longer buy books by the Catholic psychologist Dr. Joseph Nicolosi.

He writes, “You can buy the work of Dr. Joseph Goebbels on Amazon.com, but not the work of Dr. Joseph Nicolosi!”

Indeed, “Amazon.com now bans the sale of works of an author that LGBT activists find offensive. Woke capitalism at its finest. Where does this stop?”

What, then, makes Dr. Nicolosi’s books so bad? Why are they so exceptionally dangerous? How evil is so-called “conversion therapy”?

In the words of the gay activist largely responsible for getting the books removed, “Our hard work finally [expletive] paid off!! We got the homophobic books pulled from Amazon!!!”

This was nothing less than gay activism at its totalitarian worst. There is nothing enlightened, inclusive, or tolerant about it.

Let the truth be told.

If people don’t like books on SOCE, they don’t have to buy them. And if they don’t want to participate in SOCE, they don’t have to. 

Why can’t we live with that?

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Christians must be careful to avoid evil in movies and TV

Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter
By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

July 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In his 1994 Letter to Families Gratissimam Sane, Pope John Paul II wrote:

Knowing the vast and powerful impact of the media, [the Church] never tires of reminding communications workers of the dangers arising from the manipulation of truth. Indeed, what truth can there be in films, shows, and radio and television programs dominated by pornography and violence? Do these really serve the truth about man?

This is a very important question. Should not our recreational activities restore us, our leisure pursuits lead us more deeply into the truth of things? It would be an evil if the media to which we gave our attention were, in obvious or subtle ways, to take us away from moral and intellectual virtue, the love of beauty, and the ultimate truth for which we are made.

Fr. Dominic Legge, O.P., explains why:

When we watch acts of lust or cruelty, we tend to become more lustful and cruel. What you look on with your eyes, you invite into your soul. How much of the so-called “entertainment” fare of our age falls into this category?

Fr. Legge is following the Angelic Doctor, who writes in the Summa:

The seeing of sights becomes sinful when it renders a man prone to the vices of lust and cruelty on account of things he sees represented. Hence Chrysostom says that such sights make men adulterers and shameless. (ST II-II 167.2 ad 2)

Another result of watching lust and cruelty portrayed graphically is that one can become indifferent to it and even callous about it, becoming numbed to the objective moral evil and sluggish in reacting with appropriate disgust and repentance. If I watch movie stars fornicating or murdering, I will have one of three responses: I will be moved in sympathy with what they are doing, which is sinful for me, or I will be indifferent to it, which is also sinful, or I will feel disgust. Feeling disgust for evil is right, but we are not supposed to go out of our way voluntarily to seek disgusting things.

There is, moreover, already a reason for caution and self-control in how much we watch to begin with, having to do with the nature of modern media. Movies, in particular, exercise a kind of “strong magic” because they fill the soul with hyperdefined imagery, overly potent images (called “phantasms” by Aristotle and St. Thomas). The soul cannot resist the influx and is molded accordingly. The medium tends toward a stimulation excessive for the faculties of a rational animal: too much for the animal, too little for the rational. It appeals primarily to the senses of the flesh and thereby induces a pragmatic primacy of matter over mind. Our memories and dreams become saturated with what we watch and listen to.

Sertillanges in The Intellectual Life rightly notes that we should prize and protect our interior purity and quietude. It is difficult for fallen creatures like ourselves to remain unstained in the midst of a corrupt generation and to keep our minds fixed on things above, as Scripture tells us to do. It is even more difficult to achieve inner silence and recollection for prayer. One wonders, then, what the great mystics would say about TV and movies. Think of St. Teresa of Jesus, St. John of the Cross, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity: would they not consider most of what people watch today to be, at best, a colossal waste of time, at worst, a pollution of the soul?

“Do I make my plans like a worldly man, ready to say Yes and No at once? As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No” (2 Cor. 1:17–18). “But fornication and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting among saints. Let there be no filthiness, nor silly talk, nor levity, which are not fitting; but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Eph. 5:3–4). If we need sophisticated and elliptical arguments to justify something we are listening to or watching (or, for that matter, reading), we are probably guilty of trying to say Yes and No to Christ. How a Christian lives his life, what he spends his time on, where he puts his mind and heart should be utterly consistent with the Faith he professes.

The most stirring exhortation along these lines is found in the Letter to the Philippians: “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8). Implied is a warning: do not think about, let alone linger over and soak in, the contrary of these things, for that will make your soul less Christian and less fully human. We don’t see here the false belief that the way to become a “fuller” person is to be “exposed” to a lot of evil, if only vicariously, so that one can better understand it and combat it — the weak argument to which proponents of modern media so often have recourse.

This argument has a certain strength in connection with literary portrayals of evil, if they are tastefully done, because the potency of the content is filtered through the intellect of the reader, who must first understand the words and concepts before he can, to some extent, re-create the scene in his imagination. The medium allows for the visceral impact of evil to be mediated by a spiritual process. With film, however, the image is taken straight in through the eyes, even as the dialogue and soundtrack are taken in by the ears; there is an immediacy that does not filter or interpret the content in the act of reception.

Nor are the consequences limited to the moral sphere; they extend to the intellectual as well. One watches a movie “effortlessly” — and that is exactly what is wrong with it. How many people today know how to entertain themselves by the use of their own intellects and imaginations? Why are we so passive, dependent on a giant money-making industry that homogenizes culture, instead of locally producing beautiful things ourselves, or at least actively assimilating a work of art?

Movies make unreality seem like reality — with the gradual effect, perhaps, of making reality seem like unreality. Movies and life blend together into a flickering phantasmagoria with no moral or eternal consequences. In the movies, dozens, hundreds, thousands of people get shot up on the screens in front of us: life is cheap, and violence is good entertainment. Should we be surprised when moderns are prepared to throw away the lives of unborn children or the elderly? Explicit sexual content is a non-negotiable titillation, and, in general, evil is treated as a spice in the recipe. Should we be surprised at the promiscuity, cheapness, and weirdness of modern sexual behavior, when images of the same are regularly impressed on the imaginations of millions of people? In the company of our entertainment, we are descending into a barbarism worse than that of the ancient pagans, because they, at least, had not enjoyed the benefit of Christianity to heal and elevate them.

Would I say we should never watch movies or TV? No. There are indeed some fine artistic movies that do not indulge in gratuitous evil. But the Word of God exhorts us to vigilance, careful discrimination, and a holy ruthlessness with our own tendency to cut corners, make excuses, and relax standards. We should adopt for all media the wise attitude of St. Basil the Great toward pagan authors. He says:

When they recount the words and deeds of good men, you should both love and imitate them, earnestly emulating such conduct. But when they portray base conduct, you must flee from them and stop up your ears, as Odysseus is said to have fled past the song of the sirens, for familiarity with evil writings paves the way for evil deeds. Therefore the soul must be guarded with great care, lest through our love for letters it receive some contamination unawares, as men drink in poison with honey.

If that is true of “letters” — i.e., literature — is it not a thousand times more true of movies and TV and many other forms of today’s popular entertainment?

As Christians, we need to be engaged in the effort of drawing our dispersed energies and faculties together in a focus on the Holy Trinity dwelling in our soul and outwardly displayed in the beauty of God’s creation. Modernity in general, and popular entertainment in particular, wages war on the created order and on our interiority, our “interior castle.” The constant buzz and fuzz of worldly images and noise distract us from the pursuit of the unum necessarium, the “one thing needful.”

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