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News

Robot dog patrols Singapore park enforcing ‘social distancing’: Live coronavirus updates

Live updates on the coronavirus crisis and how it relates to pro-life issues, faith, and freedom.
Thu May 14, 2020 - 9:57 pm EST
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Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire
By Claire Chretien

LifeSite’s previous (and future) live updates on the coronavirus crisis and how it relates to issues our readers care about can be viewed HERE.

A video from Singapore shows a “robot dog” patrolling a park and blaring messages about so-called social distancing. The robot, which has now joined drones in surveilling people in their daily lives, bears a resemblance to a machine in the dystopian Netflix series Black Mirror, comedian Stephen Colbert pointed out.

May 14, 2020, 9:56 p.m. EST: Roughly 1 million Michiganders are not following their governor’s lockdown order, which is one of the strictest in the country.

A May 13 article from The Atlantic explores some of Virginia’s authorities’ failures when it comes to their coronavirus data.

At least one city in Wisconsin is still going to attempt to enforce the state’s lockdown order, which was just struck down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The travel website AFAR reports:

Clear, the company that developed the paid biometric ID service that helps speed travelers through the airport, has created a new ID technology that will include coronavirus screening.

Health Pass by Clear will allow employees, consumers, and travelers to connect their identity with a health check that employers, business owners, restaurants, airlines, and hotels can use to screen those who enter their premises or use their services.

“Just as 9/11 drastically changed physical security across airports, stadiums and office buildings, COVID-19 will have both short-term and long-term effects on how we screen for public health security,” the company said in a statement.

May 14, 2020, 3:51 p.m. EST: President Donald Trump said he is “mobilizing” the military to help with distribution of a coronavirus vaccine.

“Our military is now being mobilized so at the end of the year we’re going to be able to give it to a lot of people very, very rapidly,” he said interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo this morning.

Breitbart reported:

The president said that distributing the vaccine would be a “massive job” and that he would move quickly to get it distributed.

“Unless you’re mobilized and ready, you’re not going to be able to do it for a long time. So we’re starting now,” he said.

May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – “Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine’s mother moved out of a personal care home with the health secretary’s help, after Levine ordered all nursing homes and long-term facilities in the state to accept coronavirus patients from hospitals,” the Daily Caller reports. Levine is a man who purports to be a woman.

“Levine admitted Tuesday to moving the 95-year-old Pennsylvania resident out of her personal care home, which is similar to an assisted living facility although technically distinct.”

The Daily Caller continued:

[Pennsylvania] is facing a class-action lawsuit, filed April 28, that claims the department of health ceased inspecting long-term care facilities now plagued by the virus.

Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also faced scrutiny over his state’s handling of vulnerable nursing homes during the pandemic.

Cuomo on Sunday reversed a March 25 order requiring nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients. Under the new order, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are allowed to wait for patients to test negative for the virus before admitting them.

At The Stream, Jason Jones and John Zmirak have written an article titled, “How Many African and Asian Kids Will Leftists Starve Just to Beat Donald Trump?” Jones, who has created famous pro-life movies such as Bella and Crescendo, and Zmirak point out that people on the political left and people connected to the United Nations are now acknowledging the massive hunger/famine problem that coronavirus panic has born. 

They also mention:

First we had to flatten our way of life “long enough to flatten the curve.” We crushed the curve. Even in New York City, the hospital system was never overwhelmed. Now there are thousands of empty hospital beds even there. Health care providers are going broke, since “inessential” procedures stay banned. Trivial medical interventions like cancer screenings, root canals, and knee replacements — Botox-level frivolities like that. We can worry much later about the casualties that causes. Or we don’t have to, since they won’t get tallied or reported. And certainly not blamed on the lockdown hawks.

The next goalpost was “till we have enough masks and ventilators.” That one whizzed past so quickly we barely noticed it. Mention it now and you just seem stupid. 

Large meatpacking plants across the country have shut down due to fears of COVID-19 outbreaks among workers, and less and less meat is making it to grocers and restaurants,” Reason noted in an article about meat shortages. 

CNN noted that although gas, cars, and some other items have decreased in cost, “American grocery store price tags are soaring. Overall, the price of groceries grew 2.6%, including seasonal adjustments, in April. That was the biggest increase from one month to the next since 1974, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

“Prices at the supermarket are rising sharply because coronavirus has disrupted the food supply chain: When restaurants shut down, Americans started cooking at home, and demand for groceries shot up. But food producers and farmers didn't have the ability to quickly shift their food deliveries to grocery stores.”

Fredericksburg.com reports:

Virginia’s count of COVID-19 tests to date includes results from 15,000 as-yet unreliable antibody tests, skewing the state’s testing capacity and its outlook on the spread of the virus, albeit to a small degree.

The Virginia Department of Health shared the new figures on Thursday, as it faced public criticism for muddying the state's COVID-19 data by lumping together diagnostic and antibody tests. Many of the antibody tests on the market have not been vetted by federal regulators and do not measure the current spread of the active virus, unlike the diagnostic tests used by health care facilities.

Also in Virginia, Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins says he will not enforce the state’s draconian lockdown.


  coronavirus, drones, jason jones, live coronavirus updates, robot dog

News

Trump’s top diplomat, WHO head spar over Taiwan’s status at upcoming health summit

The annual meeting of the World Health Assembly opens next week amid the worst global pandemic in a hundred years and heightened tensions between the United States and China.
Thu May 14, 2020 - 8:47 pm EST
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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization. Naohiko Hatta - Pool / Getty Images
Susan Yoshihara
By Susan Yoshihara

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 14, 2020 (C-Fam) — The annual meeting of the World Health Assembly opens next week amid the worst global pandemic in a hundred years and heightened tensions between the United States and China.

A showdown between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus occurred this week over whether Taiwan, which has not been a permanent UN member state since 1971, would be allowed to participate with observer status. New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and Germany backed the United States. Tedros backed China and refused to invite Taiwan.

“The WHA will open with fireworks,” longtime World Health Assembly watcher Scott Fischbach told the Friday Fax. “Never before has a U.S. Secretary of State weighed in on the issue of Taiwan, much less has he been so publicly defied by the top bureaucrat.” Fischbach is executive director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.

The main dispute is that Taiwan has been, by many estimates, the most successful nation in fighting COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus that spread across the globe after originating in Wuhan, China.

The Taiwanese sent a delegation to Wuhan at the outset of the crisis, put together protocols for their own country and succeeded in lowering the infection and death rates. “A lot of countries want that information and won’t have it next week thanks to Tedros,” Fischbach said.

Under Tedros’ predecessor, China’s Margaret Chan, the Taiwanese came every year, sitting in the back with the Holy See and other observer nations.

Typically, the nations of the World Health Assembly meet for a week to ten days. This time they will meet for two days in an online forum. Tedros’ supporters will likely use the occasion to defend the bureaucrat, whose tight relationship with the Chinese Communist government spurred criticism and alarm at his handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Evidence emerged that China misled other nations about whether the novel coronavirus could be spread from human to human. Tedros backed China’s false claim. In March, Taiwan said the WHO had ignored its December warnings that the virus was spreading human-to-human. Tedros attacked Taiwanese leaders as “racists.” Tedros has used daily briefings to raise his profile in the organization’s response, a strategy that could backfire on him, according to critics.

“I don’t think any country has a perfect record,” Bill Gates said in a recent interview about national responses to the coronavirus crisis. “Taiwan comes close.” Gates’s foundation is the second largest donor to the WHO after the United States.

President Trump announced that the United States would withhold funds from the WHO, citing Tedros’ poor performance.

“I’m not sure the WHO has been a great value for the U.S.,” Fischbach said when asked about the U.S. pullout. “The U.S. doesn’t get a lot of respect in Geneva, despite all the money we spend there. Bill Gates walks around with more swagger than the U.S. ambassador.”

One of the resolutions under consideration next week refers to “sexual and reproductive health.” The United States is expected to oppose the term because it is used to promote abortion, while Tedros has supported abortion rights during his term.

The online format and abbreviated session means that nations will not go through extensive reports, such as the just-released global health statistics. The agenda will focus on COVID-19, with an opening, election of a president and vice presidents, a presidential address, and invited speakers. Tedros and heads of delegations are expected to speak.

Nations will then hold elections to the executive board, the most powerful component of the WHA. The board’s 34 members are elected for 3-year terms based upon regional representation. The executive board will meet on Friday, May 22nd. The United States and China are both serving three-year terms which expire in 2021. Admiral Brett P. Giroir represents the United States. Ms. Zhang Yang represents China.

Published with permission from C-Fam.


  china, coronavirus, mike pompeo, taiwan, tedros adhanom ghebreyesus, united nations, world health organization

News

Democrat senators’ bill would force Trump to follow WHO directions on pandemics

The bill would also circumvent President Trump’s decision to withhold funds to the pro-abortion U.N. Population Fund.
Thu May 14, 2020 - 8:33 pm EST
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Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Lisa Correnti
By Lisa Correnti

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 14, 2020 (C-Fam) — Democrat Senators released a bill to reverse President Trump’s COVID-19 pandemic response efforts, his pro-life policies, and cede Presidential prerogatives to deal with pandemics to international agencies.

The COVID-19 International Response and Recovery Act (CIRRA), sponsored by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), authorizes $9 billion in already-appropriated and new emergency funding to address the pandemic. It cedes the President’s executive authority to coordinate government responses in any future global health emergencies to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international agencies.

The bill authorizes $2.8 billion in new and arrear payments to all UN Agencies including to the World Health Organization, UN Population Fund, Pan American Health Organization and the World Bank.

The bill would require the President and federal agencies to follow the lead of the World Health Organization. It achieves this by increasing funding for international agencies and by establishing multiple layers of new federal bureaucracy to align U.S. policy with global policy. The bill would make it harder for the U.S. to take unilateral decisions during pandemics, including travel restrictions like the ones put in place by the Trump Administration in February on all travel from China to the U.S.

Democrat lawmakers opposed the Trump Administration’s decision to halt payments to the WHO pending an investigation on whether its handling of the pandemic was politically influenced by China. Experts say the delayed response by WHO to inform the global community about the virus resulted in a greater loss of lives. COVID-19 has claimed the lives of nearly 300,000 people globally with close to 90,000 in the United States.

The bill would also circumvent President Trump’s decision to withhold funds to the UN Population Fund. The Trump administration revoked its funding citing its complicity in China’s coerced family planning programs.

It would authorize $4 billion in new bilateral funding for urgent humanitarian assistance, including $1 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which is not compelled to include protections provided by the expanded Mexico City Policy like bilateral assistance through PEPFAR would. The Global Fund partners with the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Funds directed to the United Nations would be governed by the United Nations COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan released by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in March. The response plan has been criticized by pro-life organizations for the inclusion of abortion as an “essential service.”

The bill mandates that sexual and reproductive health be prioritized through “trusted providers” and requires gender-based violence services be “essential” and “fully resourced.” International programming for gender-based violence is a known focus area for expansion by abortion industry groups.

Democrats have criticized President Trump for a lack of multilateral cooperation, though the U.S. joined consensus on United Nation resolutions directly addressing the pandemic. The U.S. remains the largest single country donor to the response efforts globally.

Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where the bill will be debated, emailed a statement to the Friday Fax in response to a request for comment.

“The most basic right humans have is the right to life, which is why I am strongly pro-life and always have been. I only support legislation that protects and promotes human life, including the unborn, and I will continue voting in such a way that defends pro-life policies,” he said in reference to pro-life concerns.

“When it comes to concerns with the WHO, I am focused on advocating for an independent interim review of its response to the COVID-19 outbreak and advancing critically needed reforms, not rubber stamping the status quo,” he added.

Published with permission from C-Fam.


  abortion, antonio guterres, bob menendez, coronavirus, donald trump, mexico city policy, united nations, world health organization

News

UPDATED: 2 priests, 2 pro-lifers arrested inside Washington, DC abortion centers

'Our primary concern is lovingly interacting with the moms in the hope of saving their babies.'
Thu May 14, 2020 - 7:42 pm EST
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Pro-lifers outside Capital Women's Services on May 14, 2020
Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire
By Claire Chretien

Update on May 14, 2020 at 7:41 p.m.: Father Fidelis Moscinski and Will Goodman were arrested at Capital Women’s Services, bringing the total number of rescuers arrested today to four. Imbarrato said all four of them were released around 2:00 p.m. EST.

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic priest and pro-life activist were just arrested for refusing to leave an abortion center in the nation’s capital, and three more – one of whom is also a priest – are risking arrest inside another abortion facility.

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Father Stephen Imbarrato and Linda Mueller were arrested this morning inside SurgiClinic, a late-term abortion center in D.C.’s upscale Foggy Botton neighborhood, near George Washington University. Today is the 15th anniversary of Imbarrato’s ordination to the Catholic priesthood.

Father Fidelis Moscinski, CFR, Will Goodman, and Joan McKee are inside Capital Women’s Services, a late-term abortion facility that advertises abortions up to 36 weeks into pregnancy. The facility, whose online reviews are replete with criticisms of it as “terrifying,” “dirty,” “filthy,” and “unprofessional,” shares a building with a D.C. Department of Health office.

The activists are conducting a Red Rose Rescue during which they offer moms roses and beg them to not to go through with scheduled abortions. The Red Rose Rescue movement is inspired by Canadian pro-life activist Mary Wagner. It is something of a revival of the rescue movement of the early days of the pro-life movement, before the Federal Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) imposed harsh penalties on pro-lifers who save babies by physically blocking “access” to abortion facilities.

Yesterday two pro-lifers were arrested and five received trespassing citations at a Red Rose Rescue and pro-life protest in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“Steven Brigham, who allegedly owns Capital Women's Center, and Cesare Santangelo, who owns and operates SurgiClinic, both have notorious and well-publicized pasts as abortionists,” Imbarrato told LifeSiteNews. “In spite of their dark histories, because they operate in Washington, D.C. – which offers no abortion restrictions or any oversight of abortion facilities – these two men go unnoticed because they operate in multi-unit buildings.” 

Imbarrato, who spent seven days in a Washington, D.C. jail for his participation in a 2017 rescue, told LifeSiteNews the layouts of SurgiClinic and Capital Women’s Services pose unique challenges to pro-life activists.

“Rarely if ever do pro-lifers pray or counsel in front of these facilities because, the offices being hidden in multi-unit buildings, pro-lifers cannot normally access or identify the women entering the building as pregnant moms in crisis,” the priest explained. “Thus we enter the buildings and counsel the women in the waiting rooms or in the halls outside the waiting rooms of these abortionists. Many babies have been saved in past Red Rose Rescues in these facilities – babies that otherwise would have died.”

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A Red Rose Rescue coronavirus mask SOURCE: Red Rose Rescue

The rescuers are reportedly wearing masks and not standing close to others in accordance with the current recommended coronavirus guidelines. Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser just extended the city’s strict lockdown until June 8, under which abortion is apparently considered essential.

“Our primary concern is lovingly interacting with the moms in the hope of saving their babies,” said Imbarrato. “All the rescuers risking arrest trying to save these babies are serious Catholics and thus are additionally motivated by the fact that these governments which sanction, protect, and fund the murder of babies have, in this COVID-19 crisis, deemed these murders as ‘essential’ while proclaiming the Catholic Church ‘non-essential.’ As a Catholic priest, and I am sure my Catholic colleagues would agree, trying to save babies from the intrinsic evil of abortion is essential and necessary.”

Government is sanctioning, protecting, funding ‘daily mass murder’

“Red Rose Rescues are about directly intervening to save unborn babies from being murdered,” Imbarrato said. “I use the term ‘murder’ because in this, the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of Evangelium Vitae, I am constantly reminded that Saint John Paul II told the world that we need ‘to look the truth in the eye and call things by their proper name without compromise.’ Then he referenced abortion as ‘murder’ (EV article 58).”

He said the rescuers today chose the nation’s capital because it “is the center of our government which has sanctioned, protected, and funded the daily mass murder of preborn children for over 47 years.”

In the 25 years since the publication of Pope John Paul II’s pro-life encyclical Evangelium Vitae, “a strong case can be made that the Church has not proportionately responded in word and deed to this worldwide holocaust,” said Imbarrato. “Some Catholics have said that this reality alone is a sign that the Church has rendered itself ‘non-essential’ and in that time frame has allowed worldwide abortion to become ‘essential.’”

There have now been close to 20 Red Rose Rescues in the U.S. since 2017.  Legally, they have resulted in charges being dropped a number of times, notably in federal court; others have ended in trespassing convictions. The state of Michigan has treated rescuers the most harshly, jailing pro-lifers and even charging four with a felony for obstruction of officers. Michigan’s attorney general is a lesbian in a same-sex “marriage.”

Rescuers have ranged in age from 21 to 65. 

The first Red Rose Rescue conference is scheduled to take place the first weekend of November, right after the 2020 presidential election (it had been scheduled for April, but organizers were forced to postpone it because of the coronavirus).

“We are hoping to encourage many to join our prayerful and peaceful activism ministry designed to save babies [who] otherwise would die from abortion,” said Imbarrato. “Red Rose Rescues are not just about risking arrest to save babies, but about prayerful witness: to moms to save their babies, to the workers to leave the industry of death, to law enforcement and courts which protect the killing, and to the many people we encounter on the sidewalks where we rescue and who hear or read about our ministry of saving babies.” 

“The overwhelming majority of people involved in the Red Rose Rescue movement do not risk arrest, but are equally needed and important in this effort to save the unborn and bring abortion to a decisive end in our country.”


  abortion, capital women’s services, cesare santangelo, coronavirus, father fidelis moscinski, joan mckee, linda mueller, red rose rescue, stephen imbarrato, steven brigham, surgiclinic, washington d.c., will goodman

News

Trudeau govt to work with China in testing new COVID-19 vaccine from aborted babies

One expert said the vaccine, derived from the cell lines of an aborted fetus, may not be very effective.
Thu May 14, 2020 - 7:38 pm EST
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Justin Trudeau and his family (2015). arindambanerjee / Shutterstock.com
Anthony Murdoch
By Anthony Murdoch

OTTAWA, Ontario, May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Canada's largest federal research and development organization announced that it will be teaming up with a Chinese vaccine company with the hopes of testing a new trial coronavirus vaccine in Canada, which, one watchdog is warning, is made from aborted fetal cell lines.

In a press release sent out on May 12, the National Research Council (NRC) announced a collaboration with the Chinese firm CanSino Biologics Inc. (CanSinoBIO), to test its trial coronavirus vaccine, known as Ad5-nCoV, in Canada.

Alan Moy M.D., founder and scientific director of the John Paul II Medical Research Institute and CEO of Cellular Engineering Technologies, confirmed for LifeSiteNews that Ad5-nCoV was indeed developed unethically. It uses the NRC’s HEK293 cell line, which was developed by the NRC and was made from fetal cells harvested from an aborted baby decades ago.

“Since it’s using an adenovirus replication-defective vector, it is using HEK293. HEK293 is an aborted fetal cell line,” said Moy to LifeSiteNews.

Moy says the Ad5-nCoV vaccine being promoted by the Canadian government in collaboration with China may not prove to be very effective.

“I don’t envy Canadians. Your government and PM have mandated draconian policies that are anti-life,” said Moy.

“Another problem is that there is a high incidence of immunity against Ad5, so chances are high that patients will reject the vaccine. Not a good vaccine solution if pro-life or pro-choice,” added Moy, referencing an abstract to support his claim.

The trial vaccine Ad5-nCoV was co-developed by the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology and CanSinoBIO. Ad5-nCoV has already been used in initial human trials since mid-March in China. According to the NRC press release, it is the world's first phase 2 coronavirus vaccine, which is approved to “safely” be used in human tests.

CanSinoBIO is now filling out the needed paperwork to get Ad5-nCoV approved for testing in Canada.   Before this can happen, Health Canada will still have to approve the trial.

PETITION: No to mandatory vaccination for the coronavirus! Sign the petition here.

Mr. Iain Stewart, president of the National Research Council of Canada, was quoted as saying in the press release that the “vaccine candidate holds great promise,” adding that the “NRC is proud of our ongoing partnership with CanSino Biologics.”

Dr. Xuefeng Yu, chairman and CEO of CanSinoBIO said in the press release that his firm has “strong connections to Canada, and we’re proud to be building on past successes and continuing our ongoing partnership with the NRC to address health needs on a global scale.”

The NRC said in its press release that it hopes its collaboration with CanSinoBIO will help it “to advance a scale-up production process for the vaccine candidate, using its proprietary HEK293 cell line.”

The government of Canada announced that it would be providing $44 million to support and upgrade the NRC’s Montreal location.

In April, the pro-abortion prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, said he needed time to “reflect” about the possibility of making a coronavirus vaccine mandatory in Canada if and when it becomes available.

In 2019, the JP2MRI started its "Campaign for Cures" with the goal being to “develop ethical human cell lines that can be used in the bio-manufacturing of vaccines, protein therapeutics, gene therapy, and cell therapy.”

The JP2MRI says it “developed methods to immortalize two human adult stem cells,” and for 2020, its “Campaign for Cures” will apply its technology to develop an ethical vaccine for the coronavirus. The institute needs to raise $325,000 by December 31, 2020.

In April, Catholic bishops along with many pro-life leaders sent a letter to U.S. federal health authorities and the Trump administration demanding that vaccines be “free from any connection to abortion.”

Ted Kuntz, president of Vaccine Choice Canada (VCC), a not-for-profit society founded by families who have suffered from vaccine reactions or injuries, told LifeSiteNews at the time that any type of forced vaccination is “morally repugnant” and unconstitutional.

Canada’s collaboration with China to test Ad5-nCoV comes despite growing evidence and calls from many that China is ground zero for the coronavirus. The Wuhan Institute of Virology is China’s only level four biosafety lab, and there has been speculation that the coronavirus somehow escaped from its doors.

A paper authored by two Chinese scientists, Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao — both from the state-run South China University of Technology — traces how they think the virus escaped a Wuhan bio-lab that was researching horseshoe bats. Their February 2020 paper, titled “The Possible Origins of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus,” has since disappeared from the international scholarly database Research Gate but is still available through the Wayback Machine and on LifeSiteNews here.

According to a report by the Washington Post, U.S. embassy officials in China warned their government two years ago that a research facility in Wuhan did not have proper safety measures in place. 

In April, it was reported that Trudeau gave close to $1 million of taxpayer money to help fund “research” for new COVID-19 “screening and diagnosis” tools at the Chinese lab where the virus is suspected to have originated.

In the past, Trudeau has openly spoken about his admiration for China. He famously praised China’s “basic dictatorship” in speaking at a Liberal Party fundraising event in 2013 after a reporter asked him which country besides Canada he most admires.

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, who has been called out for a lack of a proper response to the coronavirus epidemic, has direct ties to the World Health Organization (WHO). She is one of seven people who sit on the Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee (IOAC) for the WHO Health Emergencies Programme. 

Despite this fact, the Trudeau government has persisted in backing the WHO, regardless of mounting evidence that it lacks credibility and is heavily influenced by the Chinese regime.


  abortion, china, coronavirus, fetal cell lines, justin trudeau, vaccines, world health organization

News

‘Vast seizure of power’: Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes down stay-at-home order

'Palm’s Emergency Order 28 is declared unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable,' the court ruled.
Thu May 14, 2020 - 7:35 pm EST
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shutterstock.com
Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

MADISON, Wisconsin, May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Wisconsin’s Supreme Court struck down the state’s emergency “stay at home” order on May 13, which had ordered citizens confined to their residences with limited exceptions.

Emergency Order 28 had been signed not by Democratic Governor Tony Evers, but by Andrea Palm, the Secretary-Designee of the state’s Department of Health Services.

“Palm’s Emergency Order 28 is declared unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable,” the court declared in a 4-3 decision. It also referred to Palm’s orders as a “vast seizure of power.”

The Supreme Court did not argue “that Palm was without any power to act in the face of this pandemic.” Nevertheless, “Palm must follow the law that is applicable to state-wide emergencies.”

“We further conclude that Palm’s order confining all people to their homes, forbidding travel and closing businesses exceeded the statutory authority … upon which Palm claims to rely,” the legal document continued.

President Donald Trump praised the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision in a Tweet.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Rebecca Grassl Bradley emphasized that the “people of Wisconsin never consented to any elected official, much less an unelected cabinet secretary,   having the power to create law, execute it, and enforce it.”

She went on to explain that Secretary-Designee Palm “exceeded her powers by ordering the people of Wisconsin to follow her commands or face imprisonment for noncompliance. In issuing her order, she arrogated unto herself the power to make the law and the power to execute it, excluding the people from the lawmaking process altogether.”

Following the court’s decision, Governor Evers publicly accused “Republican legislators” of having “convinced four members of the Supreme Court to throw the state into chaos,” adding, “Republicans own that chaos.”

As explained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Republicans who brought the lawsuit had asked the justices to side with them but to stay their ruling for about a week so legislators and Evers could work out a new plan to deal with the pandemic.” The Supreme Court did not end up doing that.

Emergency Order 28 had qualified organizations providing “charitable and social services,” as well as “religious entities,” as essential. However, religious gatherings, including weddings and funerals, were only allowed as long as “any gathering shall include fewer than 10 people in a room or confined space at a time.”

The emergency order explicitly exempted “Tribal members within the boundaries of their Tribal reservations and federal land held in trust for any one of the eleven federally recognized Tribes in Wisconsin” from the restrictions. It was set to expire on May 26.

Palm, the Secretary-Designee of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, worked as a Senior Health Policy Advisor for Hillary Clinton for five years. She then went on to work for the Obama White House, as well as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In 2019, Palm named Nicole Safar to be her chief of staff and Assistant Deputy Secretary. Safar had previously worked for more than 14 years for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, most recently as the Vice President for Public Affairs and Legal Advocacy. 

“Nicole Safar was absolutely my first choice and … I am glad she accepted my offer to come on board at DHS,” Palm said at the time.


  coronavirus, planned parenthood, wisconsin, wisconsin supreme court

News

14 congressmen investigate use of Chinese drones by US government

This year’s National Defense Authorization Act banned the purchase of Chinese-made drones across all military branches.
Thu May 14, 2020 - 7:30 pm EST
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Dmitry Kalinovsky / Shutterstock.com
Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Fourteen members of Congress have begun to investigate U.S. governmental use of Chinese drones, asking both the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security for “information about state and local law enforcement use” of drones produced by Chinese company Da Jiang Innovations (DJI).

Led by Congressman Matt Gaetz from Florida and Congressman Jim Jordan from Ohio, who is also the ranking member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, pointed out that DJI has almost an 80-percent share of consumer drone sales in the United States.

Recently, amid the coronavirus pandemic, “DJI has donated drones to state and local law enforcement entities in the United States to purportedly assist with social distancing enforcement.”

In fact, drones are already being used within the United States to monitor people’s compliance with restrictions implemented after the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Cities like Elizabeth, New Jersey, are already deploying drones with automated voice messages reminding people to keep their distance. In Meriden, Connecticut, the mayor announced they’ll be using them to monitor the city's trails and parks,” reported WABC.

Newer drones, the article revealed, “will be equipped not only with cameras, but high tech sensors that can help determine if people are sick or not social distancing down below.”

CBS News quoted Sergeant Tim Ehrenkaufer of the Daytona Beach Police Department in Florida, which had received DJI drones, trying to downplay the significance. “We’re not telling people to get out,” he said, “We’re not enforcing as far as having them go. We’re just making the announcement for public safety reasons.”

The members of Congress fear that even though “federal law enforcement agencies have warned of potential information security concerns with DJI drones, it is not clear whether state and local law enforcement agencies are fully aware of these issues.”

They explained that in 2017, “Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) — the investigative component of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — issued an alert warning that DJI drones are “[l]ikely providing U.S. critical infrastructure and law enforcement data to [the] Chinese government.’”

“That alert ‘assesse[d] with high confidence [that DJI] is selectively targeting government and privately owned entities within [infrastructure and law enforcement sectors] to expand its ability to collect and exploit sensitive U.S. data,’” they continued. “In May 2019, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within the Department of Homeland Security issued a similar warning that Chinese-made drones pose a ‘potential risk of an organization’s information.’”

This year’s National Defense Authorization Act banned the purchase of Chinese-made drones across all military branches.

PETITION: No to mandatory contact tracing and government surveillance for the coronavirus! Sign the petition here.

The group of members of Congress requested from the Department of Justice a list “of all state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies receiving federal grant funding to purchase or operate DJI drones covering the period from January 1, 2017, to the present.”

They also asked about any concerns the department might have concerning DJI drones, and whether or not it was monitoring the current donation of drones by the Chinese company.

Similarly, the Department of Homeland Security was asked a number of questions, including whether there have been “any new alerts since CISA’s May 20, 2019,warning that Chinese-made drones present a “potential risk of an organization’s information.”

President Donald Trump has been particularly tough on China, essentially banning technology company Huawei from doing business in the United States. “You look at what [Huawei has] done from a security standpoint, a military standpoint. Very dangerous,” Trump said at the time.

China is also known to spy on American companies and steal trade secrets. Since 2012, more than 80 percent of economic espionage cases brought to the attention of the Department of Justice have implicated China, according to CNBC.

Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in China, Trump said, “We went through the worst attack we’ve ever had on our country, this is [the] worst attack we’ve ever had. This is worse than Pearl Harbor, this is worse than the World Trade Center. There’s never been an attack like this.”

“And it should have never happened,” he added. “Could’ve been stopped at the source. Could’ve been stopped in China. It should’ve been stopped right at the source. And it wasn’t.”

Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said there was “enormous evidence” that COVID-19 first came from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. “I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan,” he pointed out.

“China has a history of infecting the world, and they have a history of running substandard laboratories,” he continued. “These are not the first times that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab. And so, while the intelligence community continues to do its work, they should continue to do that, and verify, so that we are certain.”


  big brother, china, coronavirus, drones, jim jordan, matt gaetz, police state, surveillance

News

Supreme Court suggests openness to letting religious schools choose their own religion teachers

The cases in question concern two California Catholic elementary schools’ right to select educators who reflect their understanding of faith, free from government interference.
Thu May 14, 2020 - 6:11 pm EST
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Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in the cases of Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James Catholic School v. Biel, during which the justices expressed receptiveness to arguments that the government has no say in whom a church school chooses to teach its religion classes.

LifeSiteNews has previously covered the cases, which concern two California Catholic elementary schools’ right to select educators who reflect their understanding of faith, free from government interference. The religious liberty legal firm Becket Law is representing the schools, who are facing a lawsuit from two teachers fired for unsatisfactory performance, Agnes Morrissey-Berru and Kristen Biel.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the teachers; Becket argues that the schools’ hiring and firing decisions fall under a “ministerial exemption,” meaning religious institutions have the right to decide whom they want imparting the faith to others, free from government interference — even when the employees in question, in this case teachers, are not “ministers” in the strictest sense.

Monday’s arguments suggested that a majority of the justices were receptive to the school’s position, the Washington Blade, putatively “America’s LGBT News Source,” reported

“It’s my understanding (the teachers) actually led them from time to time in prayer or took them to service, things like that,” noted conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, who tends not to speak up during oral arguments.

In a similar vein, Justice Samuel Alito argued that an employee’s formal job title was insignificant when it comes to determining whether he falls under the ministerial exemption and that the substance of a worker’s duties is what matters.

“How does it even help to understand the person’s role?” he asked. “Suppose you have two people who do exactly the same thing in two different religiously affiliated schools, but one has a title and the other one doesn’t have a title, other than the title of the teacher. Why should the presence or absence of this title make any difference?”

The court’s liberals took the opposite approach, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggesting that the ramifications of siding with the schools could be “staggering,” raising the hypothetical scenario of a female teacher who has religious duties but also “reports a student’s complaint of sexual harassment by a priest and is terminated.” That teacher would have “no remedy” in Ginsburg’s telling.

Justice Elena Kagan invoked the frequency and nature of specific religious duties, with a church organist qualifying as ministerial but a “math teacher who is told to teach something about Judaism for 10 minutes a week” not qualifying.

“Eight years ago in Hosanna Tabor — the pretext inquiry, the notice requirements, the idea that freedom of association makes freedom of religion entirely unnecessary — all were raised in Hosanna Tabor and rejected unanimously,” Becket attorney Eric Rassbach argued. “Eight years later, (the response) to (those) arguments are not any more convincing. In short, there’s no reason for government to get into business of teaching religion.”

“Do we really want judges, juries, or bureaucrats deciding who ought to teach Catholicism at a parish school, or Judaism at a Jewish day school? Of course not,” Rassbach stated on a previous occasion. “Religion teachers play a vital role in the ecosystem of faith. We are confident that the Supreme Court will recognize that under our Constitution, government officials cannot control who teaches kids what to believe.”


  becket law, ministerial exemption, our lady of guadalupe school v. morrissey-berru, religious liberty, st. james catholic school v. biel, supreme court

News

Online memorial garden launches to help moms honor miscarried and stillborn children

The Garden of Remembrance is a place where parents can honor the life of their baby.
Thu May 14, 2020 - 6:00 pm EST
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Clare Marie Merkowsky
By

NOKESVILLE, Virginia, May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A flower garden has been launched online that dedicates a “memorial flower” to miscarried or stillborn babies, allowing mothers and fathers to have a lasting, public remembrance of their beloved lost ones.

A Mom's Peace, launched in Nokesville, Virginia, is a ministry devoted to comforting and supporting parents, especially mothers,  who have lost their children in the womb. The organization recently launched an online Garden of Remembrance, which has become “a place to honor and appreciate the beautiful children lost in miscarriage or stillbirth regardless of how many days, weeks or months their short lives blessed ours.” 

The Garden “offers consolation to parents who need it - whether the loss was at 5 weeks or 35 weeks.” The Garden honors unborn babies with loving remembrance, stating on the website: “Some people say you are too painful to remember. ​I say you are too precious to forget.”

The Garden is free of charge and helps families who were unable to lay their unborn children to rest by allowing them to remember and commemorate their babies by dedicating virtual flowers to their children. Parents can choose from a variety of flowers to see which best suits their child. They may also name their baby and record the date of loss. The flower is then displayed in the Garden of Remembrance. 

The Garden hopes to help parents honor the beauty and joy that their baby brought them, despite only being with them for a short time.

In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Colleen Sullivan, the director of communication and development for A Mom’s Peace, said, “women can feel isolated, grief-stricken, and powerless when they lose an unborn child. The Garden helps mothers honor their unborn children and realize they are not alone in their loss.”

Sullivan explained that “parents can carry the grief of losing their unborn baby for decades.”

“Some of the flowers are dedicated to babies who died in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Selecting a name and dedicating a flower can help bring closure and consolation to these parents. Relatives can also find joy in visiting the Garden to see the flowers dedicated to their miscarried or stillborn family,” she said. 

Kara Palladino founded A Mom's Peace after she lost her unborn baby and realized that there was not a plan for the burial for the unborn. She desired to create a ministry to help other families. The outreach, in addition to offering spiritual aid, provides practical assistance by giving advice in burying or cremating miscarried or stillborn children. 

The mission of the ministry is “to bring peace…by discretely supporting mothers with burial, bereavement and remembrance programs.” The apostolate serves to “fulfill the corporal and spiritual works of mercy ‘bury the dead’ and ‘comfort the sorrowful.’”  

The ministry recognizes the pain of losing unborn children. Palladino recently wrote in a press release, “We know from experience that parents go through grief and sorrow in losing an unborn baby. Those emotions can, at times, be overwhelming and all-consuming.” 

“But we also believe in the power of healing on this journey toward peace. For this reason, we invite you to see your child as a gift in the hopes of recapturing the joy you first felt in bringing a new soul into existence – whether you conceived recently or years ago,” she continued. 

“May The Garden honor these precious lives and provide consolation and much-needed closure, especially to families who otherwise would not have obtained it. May it serve as a reminder that you are not alone in the complexity of celebrating life while grieving loss. And may all the precious souls who have touched our hearts never be forgotten,” she added.

Many mothers shared their testimonies of the comfort they received from A Mom’s Peace.

One mom said, “A Mom's Peace helped me through the hardest time of my life and did so with utmost respect and sensitivity to my situation. I will never forget the generosity and love that was shown to me through this program.” 

Another mother wrote, “A Mom’s Peace is a special and unique apostolate. It was such a consolation, in the midst of sadness, to memorialize the life of our little one, despite how short it was.”

The Garden offers a positive response for families who lose an unborn child. It brings joy and fulfillment to parents around the world and commemorates their miscarried or stillborn children through a permanent remembrance of their children.


  culture of life, faith, good news, miscarriage, stillbirth

News

Washington gov: Those who don’t cooperate with ‘contact tracers’ and tests not allowed to leave home

The state will provide 'family support personnel' to check in on the non-compliant.
Thu May 14, 2020 - 4:38 pm EST
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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee shutterstock.com
Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug
By Doug Mainwaring

PETITION: No to mandatory contact tracing and government surveillance for the coronavirus! Sign the petition here.

OLYMPIA, Washington, May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Washington Governor Jay Inslee indicated that people who refuse to cooperate with contact tracers or refuse coronavirus testing won’t be allowed to leave their homes even to go to the grocery store or pharmacy.

“When it comes to contact tracing, how are you guys going to handle people or families who want to refuse to test or to self isolate? If they want to leave their home to get groceries I know you’ve said they can’t do that; how will you make sure they don’t?” a reporter asked him.

“We will have attached to the families a family support person who will check in with them to see what they need on a daily basis,” he responded. “If they can’t get a friend to do their grocery shopping, we will help get them groceries in some fashion. If they need pharmaceuticals to be picked up, we will make sure they get their pharmaceuticals… We are going to be there on a daily basis for them – now that’s going to help encourage them to maintain their isolation too.”

The Lynwood Times summarized Inslee’s remarks this way: “Therefore, those individuals that refuse to cooperate with contact tracers and/or refuse testing, those individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes to purchase basic necessities such as groceries and/or prescriptions. Those persons will need to make arrangements through friends, family, or a state provided ‘family support personnel.’”

Inslee announced that as the state begins to relax restrictions and open up its economy, health officials will focus on contact tracing and isolation of infected individuals with the help of over 1,300 newly trained “contact tracers” who will begin work this Friday, May 15.    

Critics were quick to point out disturbing aspects of the new effort in the Evergreen State. 

“There’s no death penalty in Washington state for murder,” tweeted civil liberties lawyer Eric Rhein.  

“Now [Governor Inslee] is claiming authority to slowly starve you if you don’t conform,” added Rhein. “Without trial.”

‘Box in the virus’

“This initiative is robust, it is vigorous and it is comprehensive, and it needs to be all three to be all three of those to succeed,” said Inslee in a video conference.   

He noted that the initiative will be “on a much grander scale” than similar past initiatives which traced the relationships and personal interactions of individuals with infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and hepatitis. He did not mention HIV/AIDS.

“If we do not succeed in this second stage of our efforts, this virus could come right back out and bite us,” asserted Inslee.  

While social distancing was the primary tactic employed to slow the spread of the virus during the early days of the pandemic, Inslee said that as the state moves to open up the economy, “testing, contact tracing, and isolation of people who are infected,” will now the become major tools of government authorities. 

During his presentation, Inslee incorporated a series of graphics to illustrate aspects of the new phase.  

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Inslee said the goal is to “box in the virus.”

“When someone tests positive for COVID-19, an interviewer will reach out by phone,” according to information released by the governor’s office. “They will ask who that person has been in close contact with, then reach out to those other people to let them know they have been exposed. People testing positive and their close contacts would need to confine themselves at home. This plan involves contacting people within 24 hours of a positive test result and talking to their close contacts within 48 hours.”

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The governor assured the citizens of Washington that all information collected is confidential and will not be shared. Persons identified as having had contact with an infected individual will not be told the name of the individual.  

“These professional interviewers will ask about symptoms, recent exposure and demographic questions such as age, address, gender and ethnicity,” according to the governor’s published statement. 

An army of government ‘tracers’ including the National Guard

The most ambitious component of the plan is the 1,371 army of people trained and tasked with “contact tracing,” who will be unleashed later this week. 

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At the start, the 390 members of the Department of Licensing and the 630 State and local health professionals will be aided by 351 members of the National Guard. The Guardsmen will be phased out once more workers and volunteers are trained and able to replace them.   

Isolation and quarantine

“At the sign of any symptoms, people should confine themselves at home. Voluntary confinement for both ill persons and the members of their households will be a major challenge, but it is one of the most critical portions of this entire endeavor,” explained Inslee. 

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“Individuals and their households will need to be confined for 14 days if they are exposed to the virus. We know this will present challenges for some families and we are looking at ways to address them,” he added.

For those who refuse to comply with the new guidelines, Inslee said they will face sanctions either in civil or criminal court. 

Inslee’s remarks came as other government measures around the country and the globe have come under fire for explicitly violating basic constitutional rights. 

Last month, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said that stay-at-home orders are “unprecedented burdens on civil liberties.” 

“The idea that you have to stay in your house is disturbingly close to house arrest,” said Barr. “It’s very onerous, as is shutting down your livelihood.”  

As if to prove the Attorney General’s point, last month it was revealed that Kentucky residents who refuse to quarantine themselves were being outfitted with ankle bracelets, identical to those criminals confined to house arrest must wear. 


  contact tracing, coronavirus, jay inslee

News

Dems release $3 trillion COVID-19 spending bill full of left-wing agenda items unrelated to curbing pandemic

The HEROES Act would help out Planned Parenthood and free illegal immigrants from detention centers.
Thu May 14, 2020 - 2:55 pm EST
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Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

PETITION: No to mandatory vaccination for the coronavirus! Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Congressional Democrats unveiled their latest proposal for COVID-19 relief spending, which totals $3 trillion and includes a bevy of left-wing agenda items unrelated to curbing the spread of the virus or alleviating the costs of government-mandated quarantine efforts.

A Democrat “summary” of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s so-called HEROES Act runs 90 pages, but The Hill reported that its main features are another series of direct payments to individual Americans (many of whom have been forbidden from going to jobs deemed “non-essential”), food assistance funding, hazard pay for “essential” health workers, and money for increased testing.

It also contains a “grab bag of Democrat priorities” such as vote-by-mail, an extension of unemployment benefits through January, $915 billion in subsidies for state, local, territorial and tribal governments (largely without strings, without regard for how well recipients managed COVID-19 response in their jurisdictions), and more.

The bill “includes the removal of safeguards in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that prevent taxpayer money from bailing out the billion-dollar abortion-giant Planned Parenthood,” March for Life added. “The bill would also allow federal tax dollars to pay for abortions through subsidized health care plans. And, at the state and local level, it authorizes over $900 billion in open-ended funding – so nothing would prevent this money from further subsidizing the abortion industry."

In addition, Breitbart reported that the HEROES Act contains language that “would order the release of federal prisoners, illegal aliens in federal immigration detention facilities, and local convicts if they are considered by the courts and judicial officers to not be a threat to the community.”

The federal government has already spent $2 billion in COVID-19 relief spending, with Democrats attempting to work in spending for their priorities every step of the way. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested this latest plan was “not something designed to deal with reality,” and that Republicans were currently drafting their own proposal.

As of May 14, the United States is estimated to have seen more than 1.4 million cases of COVID-19, with more than 85,000 deaths and 310,000 recoveries. A large share of those deaths have come not from the general population but from nursing homes, and mounting evidence suggests far more of the public has contracted and recovered from the virus than the official count indicates. 

At the same time, state bans on “non-essential” activity across the country have caused massive job losses, with more than 33 million Americans filing for unemployment and studies predicting that tens of thousands of small businesses that have closed down will never reopen.

A growing number of medical experts argue that the evidence suggests policymakers should shift to a strategy more narrowly targeted toward protecting the elderly and immunocompromised while allowing the younger and healthier to go about their lives. “If we focus on the elderly, we will bring a death rate that is likely no more than 1 percent down to fractions of a percent,” says Dr. Donald Yealy, chair of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Readers can click here for LifeSiteNews’ live updates on the coronavirus and its impact all over the world.


  congress, coronavirus, covid-19, democrats, government spending, heroes act, house of representatives, nancy pelosi

News

Los Angeles health official says county to stay locked down through July

LA-area residents can go to the beach, but they won't be allowed to return to church for 'months.'
Thu May 14, 2020 - 1:39 pm EST
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Shutterstock.com
Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

PETITION: No to mandatory contact tracing and government surveillance for the coronavirus! Sign the petition here.

LOS ANGELES, May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Los Angeles residents’ hopes of going back to their normal lives anytime soon were dashed Tuesday when county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer declared that the local stay-at-home order would “with all certainty” remain in effect at least through the end of July.

 

“Our hope is that by using the data, we’d be able to slowly lift restrictions over the next three months,” Ferrer said at a board meeting, The Hill reported. But for now, “it’s safer to stay at home. COVID-19 has not changed.”

The county reopened its beaches in a limited capacity Wednesday, permitting “active recreational activities” such as swimming and walking but not relatively stationary ones such as sunbathing or volleyball. Masks are mandatory except when in the water.

The Los Angeles timetable is consistent with the California Department of Public Health’s long-term reopening plan, which calls for a modest lifting of certain restrictions over the course of weeks while stressing that more significant resumptions of normal life – including in-person church services – are still “months” away.

As of May 14, the United States is estimated to have seen more than 1.4 million cases of COVID-19, with more than 85,000 deaths and 310,000 recoveries. California is the fifth-most impacted state, with 73,143 cases and 2,974 deaths. Los Angeles County has seen 34,428 cases and 1,659 deaths, more than half the state’s total.

Almost half of all COVID-19 deaths in California come not from healthy people maintaining active lifestyles but from nursing homes. Yet many of the state’s response efforts have targeted groups and activities with little-to-no risk, from ticketing residents for standing outside abortion centers to forbidding singing even in online church services. 

Other medical experts argue that the evidence warrants a strategy more narrowly targeted toward protecting the elderly and immunocompromised while allowing the younger and healthier to go about their lives. “If we focus on the elderly, we will bring a death rate that is likely no more than 1 percent down to fractions of a percent,” says Dr. Donald Yealy, chair of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.


  beaches, california, coronavirus, covid-19, freedom, lockdowns, los angeles, social distancing, stay-at-home order

News

Canadian province bans Communion distribution, singing as churches reopen

Alberta’s guidelines make it clear that reopening churches can't distribute communion or sing
Thu May 14, 2020 - 1:35 pm EST
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Jason Kenney
Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne
By Lianne Laurence

PETITION: No to mandatory contact tracing and government surveillance for the coronavirus! Sign the petition here.

EDMONTON, Alberta, May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Alberta Catholic churches are banned from distributing Communion when they reopen today under Premier Jason Kenney’s partial lifting of coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

According to the province’s Guidance for Places of Worship, religious services “must not include sharing food or beverages,” and “must not include any contact between congregants such as handshaking or the sharing of communal items (e.g. communion chalice).”

The guidance also states that “congregational singing is a high-risk activity and is not allowed.”

Kenney, who is a Catholic and voted pro-life during his years as a federal Member of Parliament, announced Phase 1 of Alberta’s regional economic relaunch on Wednesday. 

The plan keeps current shutdown in place in Calgary and Brooks, hardest hit by the Wuhan virus, but allows a number of businesses —  retail stores, hair salons, museums, daycares, day camps, restaurants and cafes — to reopen with restrictions elsewhere in the province on May 14, reported the CBC.

Churches, mosques, synagogues and “any other place of worship” are also allowed to reopen Thursday with restrictions, said Tom McMillan, assistant director of communications for the ministry of health.

“When stage 1 begins, places of worship will be able to hold services, provided they follow the guidelines provided by the Alberta government,” he told LifeSiteNews in an email.

“All worship leaders are still encouraged to hold services remotely and to use creative mechanisms whenever possible,” added McMillan.

 “It will be up to each place of worship to determine if they are ready to open and to ensure all guidelines have been met,” he said.

“For those wishing to host services, Alberta will allow places of worship to operate in a manner similar to how businesses that are currently open to function,” McMillan added.

“They will need to keep attendance under 50 or 1/3 capacity (whichever is smaller), as well as take steps to mitigate risk by following the guidance and ensure the activity is done safely.”

When asked about the distribution of Communion, McMillan said churches “should not do so, as indicated in the guidance. Whenever possible, they should find alternative options to limit touching and sharing of items.” 

However, McMillan also made a distinction between guidance documents, which are “not binding and mandatory,” and public health orders, which are.

“In terms of the restrictions, there are specific public health orders that will continue to be in place, such as physical distancing, things like that, so those will continue to be enforced. But overall guidance, those are not mandatory, at this time,” he told LifeSiteNews in a telephone interview.

“We expect people to do the right thing,” added McMillan. 

Moreover, “if someone does observe that people are violating the guidance, certainly our public health officials will be able to contact whatever location it will be, to provide input,” he said.

But while guidance documents may not be not health orders, they still use “imperative language,” points out Jay Cameron, lawyer with the Calgary-based Justice Center for Constitutional Freedom.

The guidance states that worship services “must not include sharing food or beverages,” and “must not include any contact between congregants such as handshaking or the sharing of communal items (e.g. communion chalice),” he emphasized. 

“My guess is the guidelines are issued because they’re supposed to be a requirement, and so when you use imperative language, that’s a prohibition,” said Cameron. 

His reading is that “what the government is saying” is that communion, “or the exchange of bread and wine from one person to another, is not permitted still,” he told LifeSiteNews.

It’s undeniable that there is “quite a bit of confusion about these guidelines and restrictions which are, number one, different from province to province, and number two, are not drafted in plain language,” added Cameron.

Part of the problem is that the government is being “willy nilly” about what is law, and what is not, he observed.

“Where is the law? Is it up on a website? Who makes the law? Does [Chief Medical Officer] Dr [Deena] Henshaw make the law? Who knows?” he said.

“But you get a ticket for $1200 if you don’t observe the Public Health Act... It’s very confusing. It’s not how the rule of law works,” Cameron said.

That was echoed by Pastor Patrick Schoenberger of Medicine Hat’s Heights Baptist Church.

“What I’m finding is there are mixed messages, and there are contradictions,” he told LifeSiteNews, adding that while the document is called “a guidance,” it clearly says that “congregational singing is not allowed, period.”

His church board hasn’t met yet to discuss reopening, so he did not have an official position on how they will respond,  but in his view, the shutdown “is a bigger threat than the virus,” Schoenberger told LifeSiteNews.

“I don’t know a single soul who’s been affected by this virus, but I know people who are being affected by unemployment, depression, anxiety, isolation, loneliness,” he said. 

“We are the church, we are parts of one body. The whole idea of social isolation is, in a lot of ways, foreign to scripture.”

As well as its negative social consequences, the shutdown poses a “threat to rights and freedoms: freedom of assembly, freedom of religion,” Schoenberger said. 

“I’m not afraid of the virus. What I am afraid of is the loss of freedoms in our country, the propaganda war that’s promoting fear, that’s what I’m concerned about,” he told LifeSiteNews. 

“We need to live life and we can’t live in fear.”

As for Alberta’s Catholic bishops, they have yet to publicly respond to the guidance.

“The bishops will be consulting further with the Chief Medical Officer of Health [Deena Henshaw] as they continue to discern a plan for a gradual reintroduction of public masses, so the Archbishop is not prepared to comment at this time,” said Lorraine Turchansky, spokesperson for Edmonton’s Archbishop Richard Smith.

Smith and Calgary’s Bishop William McGrattan are heading a task force to “discern when and how” the bishops will reinstate the “gradual reinstatement” of public Masses, according to the Edmonton archdiocesan website.

Other jurisdictions that have effectively banned Communion include Maryland and Knoxville, Tennessee.

Contact information for respectful communication: 

Premier Jason Kenney
307 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB, T5K 2B6
Phone: 780 427-2251
Email: [email protected]

Constituency Office
2105, 230 Eversyde Blvd SW
Calgary, AB, T2Y 0J4
Phone:403.238.1212
Email: [email protected]

Check Campaign Life Coalition website, here, for the name and address of your Alberta MLA.


  alberta, canada, catholic, churches, communion, coronavirus, holy communion, jason kenney, religious freedom, religious liberty, singing

News

WATCH: Comedian highlights absurdity of severe coronavirus restrictions in viral video

The short viral video anticipates the consequences of coronavirus infractions.
Thu May 14, 2020 - 12:57 pm EST
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Kevin James / YouTube
Martin Bürger Follow Martin
By Martin Bürger

May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The King of Queens and Paul Blart: Mall Cop actor and comedian Kevin James has released a short viral video that uses humor to highlight how the corona-crisis is being used by authorities to strip people of their fundamental rights and freedoms.

His May 8 video, “Out Of Touch,” with over 2.3 million views, appears to be mocking some of the more severe restrictions put in place during the pandemic, as well as the existence of “snitches,” as Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti called them.

In the video, James is seen running from police with a friend. At the end of the video, a flashback reveals they were fleeing because several “snitches” had reported a handshake between the two to authorities.

Police use dogs, helicopters, and flashlights to track the two down and apprehend them.

The comedian subsequently published a video titled “I Miss Baseball” in which the avid Mets fan is seen successfully playing baseball alone, given the absence of Major League Baseball due to COVID-19. James surprises the viewer with the ending to the video.

The video “A Quarantine Birthday” shows James celebrating his birthday with friends before he is seen removing his virtual reality headset, alone in a room, with a cupcake.

PETITION: No to mandatory contact tracing and government surveillance for the coronavirus! Sign the petition here.

Earlier this year, James, who is a devout Catholic, released a video in which he and another man have several weird experiences until James tells the man, “You have a dark entity behind you.”

“I got you,” he adds, pulling out a bottle of holy water and a crucifix. Then he starts praying the St. Michael prayer in Latin.

On Twitter, Kevin James can be seen serving the traditional Latin Mass for Fr. Chad Ripperger, a famous exorcist and speaker on Catholic subjects.

“I’ve been very guilty, a lot, of not knowing my faith too much and just praying when I needed it when something bad happened in my life and not being thankful when things turned good,” James admitted in an interview. “The more I realized how important it is, the more I want to learn about it and do the right thing. All good is from him [God], and so I want to honor him. It’s honestly about learning more and instilling that in my kids and my friends, and those around me.”

Editor’s note: LifeSiteNews’s Pete Baklinski contributed to this report.


  catholic, comedy, coronavirus, hollywood, kevin james, police state, quarantine

News

Daleiden sues Planned Parenthood, Kamala Harris, California AG for violating his civil rights

The lawsuit states, 'This complaint seeks justice for a brazen, unprecedented, and ongoing conspiracy to selectively use California’s video recording laws as a political weapon to silence disfavored speech.'
Thu May 14, 2020 - 12:34 pm EST
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CMP project lead David Daleiden
LifeSiteNews.com
By LSN

IRVINE, California, May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) –The Center for Medical Progress and its founder David Daleiden, responsible for the undercover video series exposing top Planned Parenthood leadership negotiating the harvesting and sale of aborted fetal body parts, are suing Planned Parenthood, Kamala Harris, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in Los Angeles federal court for conspiracy to violate First and Fourteenth Amendment civil rights.

The lawsuit states:

This complaint seeks justice for a brazen, unprecedented, and ongoing conspiracy to selectively use California’s video recording laws as a political weapon to silence disfavored speech. David Daleiden became the first journalist ever to be criminally prosecuted under California’s recording law, not because of the method of video recording he utilized in his investigation—which is common in investigative journalism in this state—but because his investigation revealed and he published “shock[ing]” content that California’s Attorney General and the private party co-conspirators wanted to cover up.

California’s recording law bans secret videotaping of “confidential” conversations where third parties cannot be expected to overhear the conversation. The lawsuit documents many recent examples of undercover video recording by California news outlets, even recording conversations that could not be overheard by others, that the Attorney General never prosecuted.

The California Attorney General admitted in a filing that Daleiden alone among other undercover recorders was being charged for his videos because “those recordings were edited to enhance their shock value” and thus Daleiden was “culpable to a greater extent” than other journalists.

And then during questioning about the elements of the video recording law used for prosecution at the preliminary hearing last year, the California Attorney General declared in open court, “There is no definition of ‘confidential’ in the statute” on video recording. The California recording law in fact defines “confidential communication” at 632(c).

“The California Attorney General first admitted that they are enforcing the video recording law solely based on how they feel about the message being published, and then further admitted they are not even trying to follow the text of the law as written,” Daleiden notes. “CMP’s undercover reporting has been corroborated by the successful prosecution of fetal body parts sales we reported in southern California, multiple Congressional investigations, and forensic video analysis. It is every reporter’s First Amendment right to underscore the gravity of their findings, especially when the politically powerful disagree with them.”

Harmeet K. Dhillon, lead counsel on the complaint, states: “Our federal civil rights statutes were enacted in the wake of the darkest periods in our nation’s history. They are well-suited for the current civil rights crisis we face, a time when powerful politicians allow their special interest patrons to custom-order prosecutions that violate fundamental constitutional rights, and do so even with the knowledge that their actions are ultra vires.”

Beginning under the leadership of now-U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, the California Attorney General’s office targeted Daleiden’s speech under the video recording law at the urging of Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, and StemExpress, a fetal tissue procurement company with deep ties to the professional abortion industry. While running for U.S. Senate, Harris had a secret in-person meeting with Planned Parenthood executives in Los Angeles, including witnesses in her investigation, to discuss issues in the investigation as part of Planned Parenthood’s political agenda in California. Two weeks later, Daleiden’s home was raided by the California Department of Justice.

California DOJ reports reveal that they were instructed by Planned Parenthood’s attorney Beth Parker, a defendant in the lawsuit, to seize “the computers used to produce the videos.” Last year, Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation attempted to intervene in the Attorney General’s prosecution of Daleiden to dictate how he would be allowed to present his defense. The California recording law includes an absolute protection for recordings made for the purpose of gathering evidence of violent crimes, and Planned Parenthood and NAF wanted to block off any evidence or testimony that would reveal criminality in their fetal tissue programs.

The publication of CMP’s undercover videos led to two comprehensive Congressional investigations, one in the Senate Judiciary Committee and one in the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Select Investigative Panel. The two investigations issued dozens of criminal referrals for Planned Parenthood and its business partners for transferring aborted fetal organs and tissues for valuable consideration against the law. In December 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it had opened a federal investigation of Planned Parenthood, StemExpress, and others based on the referrals from Congress. Two of Planned Parenthood’s business partners in Orange County, CA then admitted guilt for selling aborted fetal organs and tissues from Planned Parenthood against the law in a $7.8 million settlement, and the Orange County District Attorney credited CMP’s undercover reporting with prompting the successful case.

The case is 8:20-cv-00891, The Center for Medical Progress and David Daleiden v. Xavier Becerra, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, National Abortion Federation, StemExpress, Kamala Harris, Jill Habig, Beth Parker, et al. in the Central District of California.


  abortion, center for medical progress, center for medical progress cmp, center for medical progress videos of planned parenthood, david daleiden, kamala harris, planned parenthood

News

California State University system cancels in-person fall classes due to COVID-19

Online-only classes will be offered amid unsubstantiated claims that a second wave of the virus will strike this fall.
Thu May 14, 2020 - 11:59 am EST
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Calvin Freiburger Calvin Freiburger Follow Calvin
By Calvin Freiburger

PETITION: No to mandatory vaccination for the coronavirus! Sign the petition here.

May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The California State University system announced Tuesday that none of its 23 schools will resume in-person classes for the fall semester, instead administering education via the internet.

"This virtual planning approach for the next academic year is necessary because of the evolving data surrounding the progression of COVID-19,” Chancellor Timothy White told CSU trustees via teleconference, ABC 30 reported. The decision was made based on fears that, even if the COVID-19 numbers decline in the short term, a second wave could return when Californians’ guard is down.

"This virtual planning approach is necessary because a course that might begin in a face-to-face modality in the fall would likely have to be switched to a virtual format during the term if a serious second wave of the pandemic occurs as forecast for late fall,” White said.

The university system is currently working on two plans to be ready for review later this month. One would be entirely virtual, with in-person events remaining suspended, and the other would allow for a handful of in-person courses.

The decision comes as top Whitie House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci warned the public not to expect a reliable treatment or vaccine to be ready in time for the start of the school year. His comments were initially construed as discouraging the resumption of classes, but he later clarified that he meant that such decisions “would depend on the dynamics of the outbreak in the region where the school is. I did not mean to imply at all any relationship between the availability of a vaccine and treatment and our ability to go back to school.”

As of May 14, the United States is estimated to have seen more than 1.4 million cases of COVID-19, with more than 85,000 deaths and 310,000 recoveries. California is the fifth-most impacted state, with 73,143 cases and 2,974 deaths. 

Almost half of California’s COVID-19 deaths come from nursing homes. Yet many of the state’s response efforts have targeted groups and activities with little-to-no risk, from ticketing residents for standing outside abortion centers to forbidding singing even in online church services. State leaders currently say they’re “months, not weeks” away from reopening religious services, beauty salons, gyms, or movie theaters.

Other medical experts argue that the evidence warrants a strategy more narrowly targeted toward protecting the elderly and immunocompromised while allowing the younger and healthier to go about their lives. “If we focus on the elderly, we will bring a death rate that is likely no more than 1 percent down to fractions of a percent,” says Dr. Donald Yealy, chair of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Readers can click here for LifeSiteNews’ live updates on the coronavirus and its impact all over the world. 


  academia, california, california state university, colleges, coronavirus, covid-19, lockdowns, timothy white, virtual education

Opinion

Big Tech is curtailing Americans’ freedoms in alarming ways, and it’s getting worse

How things have changed as the tech giants have morphed into near-totalitarian giants controlling far too much of our lives.
Thu May 14, 2020 - 9:45 pm EST
Featured Image
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Eileen F. Toplansky
By Eileen Toplansky

May 14, 2020 (American Thinker) — How ironic that the 1984 iconic advertisement that Apple used to introduce the Macintosh computer "played on imagery from George Orwell's 1984 novella [sic] presenting Apple as rebels fighting a technocratic elite. The spot certainly was a lot gloomier than the company's previous commercials, that used Apple celebrity spokesman Dick Cavett." In truth, "there was nothing cuddly about the new Macintosh ad, which was firmly rooted in the burgeoning dystopian cyberpunk aesthetic."

Ostensibly, the advertisement's intention was "to remove people's fears of technology[.]" In fact, Apple claimed that it "wanted to democratize technology, telling people that the power was now literally in their hands."

How things have changed as the tech giants have morphed into near-totalitarian giants controlling far too much of our lives. Like serfs, we bend to their will or are punished. Thus, Candace Owens is suspended from Twitter for challenging Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer while Facebook flags the Declaration of Independence as '"hate speech."

In 2016, Aaron Renn reported that both conservative and left-wing groups are pulled down at Twitter. In 2019, "YouTube blocked some British history teachers from its service for uploading archive material related to Adolf Hitler, saying they [were] breaching new guidelines banning the promotion of hate speech. The video-sharing website announced that it would remove material glorifying the Nazis from its platform in an attempt to stop people being radicalised. In the process however, it also deleted videos uploaded to help educate future generations about the risks of fascism." 

Peter J. Hasson's The Manipulators highlights how tech giants relish their coercive power against conservatives.

In 2018, Michael Cutler noted that Twitter has "now morphed into a means of thought control through the control of language." Thus, any discussion about immigration that does not pass the politically correct litmus test is censored and controlled. 

Today our cell phones and other devices that apparently eavesdrop on us, are far more intrusive than Orwell could have envisioned.

Most recently, YouTube, a subsidiary of the technology giant Google, abused its power by censoring opinions criticizing the continuation of strict stay-at-home government mandates in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2017, Roger McNamee highlighted the fact that "the big Internet companies know more about you than you know about yourself, which gives them huge power to influence you, to persuade you to do things that serve their economic interests." Thus, in 2013, "a study found that average consumers check their smartphones 150 times a day. And that number has probably grown. People spend 50 minutes a day on Facebook. Other social apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter combine to take up still more time. Those companies maintain a profile on every user, which grows every time you like, share, search, shop or post a photo. Google also is analyzing credit card records of millions of people."

In academia, many colleges now mandate that instructors use a security system in order to log in to their classes — e.g., Okta, Duo. They use identity verification with multifactor authorizations. These cloud-based platforms are supposed to "protect users, data and applications from malicious hackers and data breaches." But with that vast array of information, who is watching the watchdogs?

Moreover, state and federal governments are now preparing to hire "contact tracers." Also known as "disease detectives," contact tracers notify people by phone, email, or social media platforms that they may have had "sustained contact" with someone who has the coronavirus. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced a $55-billion bill to cover the salaries of contact tracers, and Michael Bloomberg is donating $10 million to get the tracing off the ground. Thus, "[a]n army of pandemic detectives will have to be recruited, trained and deployed in short order." Teachers are being recruited. AFT president Randi Weingarten asserts that the Trump administration has engaged in "conflicting guidance, bluster and lies" re: the pandemic. Given those who sponsor this program, is it prudent to inquire whether this information can eventually be used against Americans?

While many households use Amazon's Alexa, do they realize that it stores "query history meaning [it] knows everything from a consumer's shopping history, travel patterns and musical preferences?" Vance Packard's Hidden Persuaders could never have imagined the power that technological giants now possess. Moreover, "[t]housands of Amazon workers are already listening to some Echoes in order to improve Alexa's comprehension of human speech."

In fact, "in modern life, privacy is no longer a given — people are being tracked on their daily commute, at work, online, and when they're shopping. That's because data is valuable. In 2018, American companies spent an estimated $19 billion attaining and interpreting consumer data." The data are an "invisible supply chain that create[] marketplaces out of behavioral data." Thus, "[w]hen someone has a digital conversation or makes a purchase, that's recorded. That record is shared with a third party, which can sell the data to another organization."

Incrementally, our privacy is invaded. In fact, "[t]he day of losing privacy begins at night, because even in our sleep, we're likely to be providing data." Furthermore, with facial recognition devices, we are heading into a world where businesses and government know "potentially everywhere you've been, who you were with and what you were doing all of the time."

In addition, "operating within your own email inbox is no longer private. If you're applying for college, your email etiquette could be monitored. Universities in the U.S. are using data, such as the length of time an email is open and whether links are clicked, to work out the level of 'demonstrated interest' from a possible new student."

Ever wonder why Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are free? You are paying with your information. According to Forbes, "Facebook has 2 billion active users. Every minute, users upload 50,000 photos to Instagram, and send 500,000 tweets on Twitter. Everything you post could help build a more cohesive data profile of you."

Moreover, carrying a smartphone [is] like carrying a tracking device because Google Maps can remember where you go and save it to a Google Timeline.

Workplaces monitor employees' movements, their work rate on computers, and their calendar data.

Gordon Chang has long been concerned with the '"digital totalitarianism in China which assigns every person a constantly updated score on observable behaviors." The score "is designed to control conduct by permitting the Communist Party the ability to administer punishments and hand out rewards." Lest one scoff that this could never happen here, consider:

[C]orporations and governments are using technology to influence our behavior. Total tech is a term that describes devices and algorithms by which individuals forfeit their privacy and autonomy for the benefit of either themselves or some third party. 

In 2019, Betsy McCaughey wrote that "Facebook was 'imposing its own Silicon Valley brand of political correctness.'" Daniel Greenfield maintains that "[a] digital iron curtain descends over the internet" and the only way "to stop the rise of Big Brother is to break up Big Data." Otherwise, he predicts, "free speech on the web — as we once knew it — will be over within a decade." 

Scott McKay asserts that "[w]hen Facebook and YouTube start restricting speech, they are taking an editorial position. They are not policing speech in order to provide a safe environment for their users; they are asserting that their point of view is the only valid one." 

That makes them publishers and if they want to be publishers, they can be sued as one. It isn't acceptable for monopolistic Big Tech actors to arbitrarily ban content they don't like while acting to drive competitors from the scene, and whether that's punished by the courts, antitrust laws, or federal regulation before the market can do its work, something has to give. If not, then we will find ourselves just like China before long, where only one opinion is allowed.

Eileen can be reached at [email protected].

Published with permission from the American Thinker.


  big brother, big tech, facebook, facial recognition surveillance system, freedom of speech, privacy, twitter, youtube

Opinion

Two Catholic churches put on ‘queer’ pro-LGBT Stations of the Cross

Both parishes, one in San Francisco and the other in New York, have a long history of dissent and support pro-LGBT ministries.
Thu May 14, 2020 - 9:03 pm EST
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Kris Hoobaer / Shutterstock.com
Joseph Sciambra
By

May 14, 2020 (Sons of St. Joseph) — During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lock-down, which caused the nationwide closing of churches and the cancellation of the Holy Mass, two separate Roman Catholic parishes, on different sides of the country, offered “queer” Stations of the Cross via social media. Most Holy Redeemer (MHR), located in the Castro District of San Francisco, and St. Paul the Apostle in New York City, both posted videos to YouTube during the Lenten season of 2020 that one parish described as: “a queer-version of The Stations of the Cross.” Both parishes have a long history of dissent and support pro-LGBT ministries.

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According to the “introduction” for the Stations of the Cross from MHR:

Jesus’ journey to Calvary and death symbolizes many of the same difficulties that we face at different times in our lives; especially as people of faith and as LGBTQ people.

On the parish’s official YouTube channel are a series of videos — one for each “Station.” Normally, the Stations at MHR would take place (live) outside — around the Castro District (see image above, from MHR’s official Instagram account), stopping at various landmarks that are considered significant in LGBT history. Each Station is presented by a different parishioner from MHR; prominently featured is Mark Guevarra, a man in a same-sex relationship who formally served as a pastoral associate at a parish in the Archdiocese of Edmonton.

During Station #1 — the presenter claims that LGBT Catholics are “unjustly condemned” for “who we love.”

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Station #3 takes place at the former home of LGBT-activist Harvey Milk; image above taken from this “Station.”

Station #5 takes place outside the Strut “health services” location in the Castro. Strut is a non-profit organization targeting the LGBT community; they provide information and serves which include PrEP, condoms, and lube. According to the MHR Stations: “…like Simon, people here offer their talents;” “…especially around…sexual health.”

Station #6 takes place in front of the Twin Peaks gay bar — according to the MHR Stations: Twin Peaks was one of the “first gay bars with windows, where, for the first time, LGBT people no longer hid their faces in shame.”

According to the presenter for Station #8“Here we salute women of our community…lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, transwomen, and gender-queer people who are devalued by both Church and society.”

MHR is overseen by a priest from the pro-LGBT religious order, The Missionaries of the Precious Blood.

The “Stations” from St. Paul the Apostle, presented by its LGBT ministry, Out at St. Paul, lacks any visual content and is an audio-only recitation of the “queer” Stations. Like MHR, the Stations are presented by various ministry members, including LGBT-activist Xorje Olivares.

Station #1 — “Let us now remember all those who, like Our Savior, have been unjustly condemned. The LGBT community often faces persecution for who we are and for who we love.

Station #2 — “This suffering Our Savior faces calls to mind the heavy burdens LGBTQ youth carry. They fear judgment and persecution…but most heavy is the weight of accepting who they truly are and learning how to live their truth.”

Station #4 — “Coming out is a painful experience for many of our LGBT brothers and sisters. Parents and family members may not understand just as Mary and Jesus’ other family members might have had a difficult time understanding Jesus’ ministry and identities.”

Station #13 — “…the bond between Jesus and Mary is profound. We think of the bonds that unite LGBTQ families in life and in death. In spite of a world that heaps violence on LGBT people and same-sex relationships, this love persists in marriage and the bonds of family…LGBTQ love brings live…Preserve and bless LGBTQ marriages and families. Although they may face many difficulties, we know that the bond of queer love is stronger than death and overcomes all the abuse that society and the Church can conceive.”

In 2019, pro-LGBT Jesuit James Martin tweeted an image from a homoerotic series of paintings: “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision.” Martin has repeatedly voiced his support for the LGBT ministries at both MHR and St. Paul the Apostle.

Published with permission from the Sons of St. Joseph.


  catholic, homosexuality, new york city, san franciso

Opinion

Archbishop Viganò: Plans for a New World Order must be ‘unmasked, understood, and revealed’

'The idea of plans for a New World Order under which countries and ordinary citizens saw their identity taken away by a powerful elite might have seemed absurd until a few years ago'
Thu May 14, 2020 - 2:39 pm EST
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Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò speaks at the Rome Life Forum in May 2018.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò
By

May 14, 2020 (Veritasliberabitvos) – On May 8, three Cardinals and nine Bishops, together with many doctors, journalists, lawyers, thinkers, and professionals from all over the world launched an appeal to raise public awareness among people, governments, scientists, and the media about the serious dangers to individual freedom caused during the spread of Covid-19.

These dangers have been felt more severely in some countries than others, but the attention of Catholics and people of good will must be drawn everywhere so that we can all understand together what is happening: if we all consider only the health side of the epidemic – and fail to understand its social, economic, political, and religious implications – we will be on the way to a future in which governments and the Church hierarchy will be drawn down by powers which think there is no higher authority than themselves and whose purpose is very unclear.

The idea of plans for a New World Order under which countries and ordinary citizens saw their identity taken away by a powerful elite might have seemed absurd until a few years ago. Now these very plans are being stated and indeed pushed as good for society and for individuals. These plans as promoted by international groupings must be unmasked, understood, and revealed. In ordinary times such would be the task of the media, to make each of us aware of what is happening so that we can speak out against it as individual believers and members of a community.

This is the purpose of the Appeal: to break the media silence we are seeing, especially in terms of the lack of any discussion of individual freedoms and rights. These are now being censored and controlled. We also wish to ask members of the scientific community to discuss these matters without pressure being applied by economic or ideological interests, and to remind governments of their responsibility for the good of all.

The Appeal has certainly raised a certain amount of discussion and debate. In Germany, many Bishops have simply spoken of “conspiracy theories,” and have completely failed to refute any of our claims. They have thus climbed onto the bandwagon of current ideology. During a recent interview with the German Catholic weekly magazine Die Tagespost, Cardinal Müller (one of the signatories of the Appeal) courageously notes that “the modern trend is to consider anyone who thinks things in a different way as a conspiracy theorist.” 

He also says:

Those who fail to distinguish between the suitability and danger of globalization deny reality. Pope Francis has spoken out against states and international bodies imposing abortion in poor countries as a form of neo-colonialism and denying them aid if they refuse to implement this. When Alberto Fujimori was the president of Peru, I spoke to many women and men who had been sterilized unknowingly and who had been tricked with large sums of money and promises about healthcare and a better life. Is this some sort of conspiracy theory? The same must be said about accusations of conspiracy theories concerning discussions of vaccinating seven billion people, even though the vaccine has not been properly tested yet and basic rights may be denied to any who refuse the vaccine. Nobody can be forced to believe that a couple of billionaire benefactors have the best plans for improving things around the world simply because they have been able to accumulate such huge sums of money.

We have heard the same sort of thing from Archbishop Athanasius Schneider: “It is amazing that the Church, politics, and media establishment have all tried to discredit – in line with mainstream trends – the anxiety expressed in the Appeal with their knock-out argument of a conspiracy theory so that any further debate is immediately killed stone dead. I remember the same sort of reaction and language under the Soviet dictatorship, when dissidents and critics of the main ideology and political regime were accused of complicity with ‘conspiracy theories’ in the capitalist west (here).”

It should also be said that the Appeal, leaving aside those criticisms which have only been made by those who wish to whitewash the countless incongruities in the things we can all see with our own eyes, has been supported by important laymen and women, and many eminent representatives of the worlds of science and the media. Robert Francis Kennedy Jr has spoken in favor of the Appeal. In less than one week the Appeal has gathered almost 40,000 signatures, and is now being read in the East.

It is clear that there is a deep fracture among the Hierarchy, and the Appeal has let us all see this. Proof of this can be seen in the clearly globalist basis for the Pray for Humanity Day set up by the Committee for Brotherly Fraternity in the United Arab Emirates to ask for an end to the pandemic, to which the Holy See immediately gave its approval.

This trend, recently ratified in the Abu Dhabi Declaration, clearly draws its inspiration from the relativist ideology behind masonic thought. As such it has absolutely nothing Catholic in it, and it is extremely worrying that the Church has allowed itself to be used as “Outreach” by the New World Order (which is absolutely and utterly anti-Catholic).


  appeal for the church and the world, athanasius schneider, carlo maria viganò, catholic, coronavirus, gerhard muller, new world order, one world government, robert francis kennedy jr

Opinion

Bp. Schneider: Today’s public worship bans are like ‘times of systematic Christian persecution’

The bishop insists that history will not look kindly on bishops who cooperated with governments' draconian edicts interfering in how Catholics practice the Faith.
Thu May 14, 2020 - 12:33 pm EST
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Bishop Athanasius Schneider during a 2016 traditional Latin Mass. Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews
Bishop Athanasius Schneider
By

Editor’s note: Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, one of the signers of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s “Appeal for the Church and the World,” responds to sharp criticism that the Appeal has generated.


May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — On May 8, 2020, a document titled “Appeal for the Church and the World: to Catholics and all people of good will” was published. Its initial signatories included, among others, three cardinals, nine bishops, eleven doctors, twenty-two journalists, and thirteen lawyers.

It is astonishing to see how representatives of the ecclesiastical as well as political and media establishment have, in obeisance to the prevailing uniform thinking, unanimously sought to discredit the concerns expressed in the Appeal and squelch any further discussion with the “knock-out argument” that it is mere “conspiracy theory.” I remember a similar form of reaction and language under the Soviet dictatorship, when dissenters and critics of the prevailing ideology and politics were accused of being complicit in the “conspiracy theory” disseminated by the capitalist West.

The critics of the Appeal refuse to consider the evidence, such as the official mortality rate (for the same time period) of the 2017–2018 flu season, as compared with the current COVID-19 epidemic in Germany. The mortality rate of the latter is much lower. There are countries with moderate coronavirus security and prevention measures that, due to their implementation, do not have a higher mortality rate. If the mere acknowledgment of the facts, and discussion about them, is labeled as “conspiracy theory,” then anyone who still thinks independently has good reason to be concerned about the possibility that subtle forms of dictatorship exist in our society. As is well known, eliminating or discrediting societal debate and dissenting voices is a chief characteristic of a totalitarian regime, whose main weapon against dissidents are not factual arguments, but rather demagogic and popular rhetoric. Only dictatorships fear objective debate when there are differing opinions.

The Appeal does not deny the existence of an epidemic and the need to fight it. However, some of the security and prevention measures involve imposing forms of complete surveillance over people. Under the pretext of an epidemic, such measures violate fundamental civil liberties and the democratic order of the State. Proposals regarding compulsory vaccination, with no alternative to the state-approved vaccine, and which would inevitably restrict personal liberties, are also very dangerous. Such measures and proposals are accustoming citizens to forms of technocratic and centrally directed tyranny — and civic courage; independent thinking; and, above all, any resistance are being severely paralyzed.

One aspect of the security and prevention measures that have been similarly implemented in almost all countries is the drastic ban on public worship. Such bans have existed only in times of systematic Christian persecution. The absolute novelty, however, is that in some places, State authorities are even prescribing liturgical norms to the Church, such as the manner of distributing Holy Communion. This is a clear interference in matters that pertain to the immediate authority of the Church. History will one day lament the “regime-clerics” of our time who subserviently accepted such interference by the State. History has always lamented that, in times of great crisis, the majority remained silent, and dissenting voices were stifled. Therefore, the Appeal for the Church and the World should at least be given a fair chance to initiate an honest debate, without fear of social and moral reprisals, as befits a democratic society.

May 13, 2020

+ Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana

Editor’s note: This piece first appeared in the conservative German Catholic weekly Die Tagespost. It is republished here by permission of the author. 


  athanasius schneider, catholic, coronavirus, freedom of religion, police state, quarantine

Blogs

Cdl Müller: It’s no ‘conspiracy theory’ – pandemic is being used to implement ‘questionable measures’

'Anyone who does not distinguish between the opportunities and the dangers associated with globalization is denying reality.'
Thu May 14, 2020 - 12:25 pm EST
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Cardinal Gerhard Müller.
Maike Hickson Maike Hickson Follow Maike
By Maike Hickson

PETITION: No to mandatory vaccination for the coronavirus! Sign the petition here.

May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In a lengthy interview with the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost (published in full below), Cardinal Gerhard Müller responds in detail to the many accusations leveled at him in the last days for having signed Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó's appeal concerning the corona crisis and the impending dangers of governmental control and abuse. 

In light of accusations of fostering conspiracy theories, the cardinal invites people to respond to facts, instead of demeaning people who “think for themselves,” and he also points to the danger of “forced vaccinations.” Without mentioning Bill Gates' name directly, Müller mentions that the “threat has been made publicly that 7 billion people will be forcibly vaccinated, even if the drugs have not yet been sufficiently tested, and that if people are not complying, fundamental rights will be withdrawn from them.”

“No one can be forced to believe that a few 'philanthropic' super billionaires have the best programs for world improvement just because they have succeeded in accumulating a huge private fortune,” he comments.

Cardinal Müller further rejects the accusation of being a “conspiracy theorist” by referring to his own experience: “In Peru during the Fujimori era, I myself spoke to involuntarily sterilized men and women who had been cheated out of health and happiness with money and false promises,” he states and asks: “What does this have to do with a 'conspiracy theory'?”

The May 7 Viganò Appeal – which was also signed by Cardinals Joseph Zen and Janis Pujats, as well as Bishops Athanasius Schneider and Joseph Strickland – had called into question the world-wide response of lockdowns and strong restrictions of freedoms of citizens as measures against the coronavirus outbreak. 

The signatories of this appeal, among whom are also journalists, experts, and other clergy, are concerned for the Church and the world that the COVID-19 pandemic is being used as a “pretext” by world leaders to “control” people, strip them of their fundamental rights, while providing a “disturbing prelude to the realization of a world government beyond all control.” They also reminded the public of the liberty of the Catholic Church who “firmly asserts her autonomy to govern, worship, and teach,” thus making clear that the state has not the authority to decide over church closures. So far, more than 38,000 people have signed this text. 

Especially in Germany, Cardinal Müller had been singled out and targeted by numerous Catholic and secular media. The main tenor of the accusations even in major newspapers is that this appeal is filled with a set of crude conspiracy theories, going so far that it even purportedly fosters Anti-Semitism by speaking of the dangers of a world government and by spreading “myths about conspiracies.” 

Bishop Schneider, in his own response as to why he has signed this May 7 Appeal written by Archbishop Viganò, stated that, in light of such strong reactions against this appeal, he feels reminded of the strategy of totalitarian regimes to silence the opponent instead of taking in the facts.

Bishop Schneider insists upon a fair and honest debate and also warns against the possible danger of forced vaccinations which do not permit any alternate paths.

Cardinal Müller, in another May 13 interview, has made it clear that to withdraw now his signature from this appeal would be “cowardly.”

In yet another article, he is being quoted as saying that he does not understand this indignation, since he did not consider the appeal to be a scientific analysis. He who has better ideas could easily “respond in a calm and relaxed manner with the help of objective arguments” and thus correct “purported or real errors” in the text. “Important for us,” he continues, “is the connection between Faith and reason in dealing with the consequences [of the corona crisis] with regard to physical, social, and spiritual aspects.”

In his new Tagespost interview, the German prelate also responds to the question as to whether he leaves his competence as a bishop when commenting on the current corona crisis, to include political and medical matters. Such had been the criticism of the Italian church historian Roberto de Mattei. Responds Müller: “It also has to do with theology that, despite the respect for the autonomy of the secular realms, we must also talk about an ethics of economics, politics, and medicine. Here I refer to the Second Vatican Council and its Constitution Gaudium et Spes 36.”

***

Full translation of Cardinal Müller's new interview with the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost:

Q: Your Eminence, are you really afraid that a world government is about to take over power by means of illiberal measures, as the appeal you signed states? 

Cardinal Müller: Anyone who does not distinguish between the opportunities and the dangers associated with globalization is denying reality. Pope Francis is also opposed to the neo-colonialism of states and international organizations forcing abortion among poor peoples by withdrawing development aid if they refuse. In Peru during the Fujimori era, I myself spoke to involuntarily sterilized men and women who had been cheated out of health and happiness with money and false promises. What does this have to do with a “conspiracy theory”?

Q: But can you not understand that the document [appeal] is being considered to contain, at least in certain passages, conspiracy theories? In any case, far-reaching assumptions are being made without any proof.

Cardinal Müller: The mantra with conspiracy theories is a cheap way of making headlines and a tactical game to denounce those who think for themselves. Who are we to believe when one conspiracist accuses the other of fake news?

Q: Then help us to understand. The appeal speaks of forces that are interested in creating panic among the population. No proofs are given. What are these forces?

Cardinal Müller: You have to ask the authors. I do not understand the text as meaning that the coronavirus was invented to create panic, but that the measures taken against it must be strictly related to the disease and that political and economic interests must not be mixed up with it. In any case, the threat has been made publicly that 7 billion people will be forcibly vaccinated, even if the drugs have not yet been sufficiently tested, and that if people are not complying, fundamental rights will be withdrawn from them. No one can be forced to believe that a few “philanthropic” super billionaires have the best programs for world improvement just because they have succeeded in accumulating a huge private fortune. Or another problem: a certain amount of public surveillance to prevent and solve crimes is ethically justified, but by no means a total control of privacy.

Q: Left-wing and right-wing governments around the world are looking for answers to an unprecedented pandemic challenge. Do you really believe that they want to use this crisis to permanently restrict or abolish freedom and civil rights?

Cardinal Müller: Should I now say, by naively and blindly believing the authorities, that everyone has only the best motives in mind? Do not see everything only from a German perspective! America and China are blaming each other and perhaps are taking questionable measures that have nothing to do with the pandemic. In some countries, unfortunately, party politics is still being pursued even in this crisis. So far, in some places, the primacy of ethics over party politics remains a pious hope.

Q: The German Bishops' Conference has distanced itself from the appeal you signed. Your successor in the Regensburg episcopal chair has explicitly endorsed this verdict. Positions within the Church thus do not play any role in this criticism. Does that impress you?

Cardinal Müller: It would have been more urgent if the German bishops had agreed on the New Evangelization of their dioceses, as Pope Francis had wanted, or loudly stood up against the persecution of Christians in the world, instead of working themselves up over a three-page paper, which is certainly – as many a text from the DBK –  not the final word in the matter, but which is an appeal for reflection. None of these fellow bishops have spoken to me, but they, instead, refer to headlines to which to refer or which to contradict means a loss of time.

Q: The paper makes judgments on political and spiritual issues. You have signed it in its entirety. By agreeing to these political theses, have you not exceeded your competence as a bishop? 

Cardinal Müller: The paper — not a single line in it — was not written by me. But 30,000 people have so far supported it and the general direction of its aims with their signatures, without carefully examining every sentence individually. Many physicians and other scientists have also helped write it. But it also has to do with theology that, despite the respect for the autonomy of the secular realms, we must also talk about an ethics of economics, politics, and medicine. Here I refer to the Second Vatican Council and its Constitution Gaudium et Spes 36.

Q: The appeal insists on the autonomy of the Church. The state must not violate her right to celebrate public Masses. Now the German bishops, but also those in many other countries of the world, have expressly agreed to the temporary ban on public worship services to combat the pandemic. Where do you see the rights of the Church violated here?

Cardinal Müller: Religious freedom and the autonomy of the Church in her spiritual and sacramental life have constitutional status in Germany and elsewhere and are among the fundamental human rights. The Catholic Church respects the competence of the state for the common good and does not claim to be a state within a state. But the state only has the right to demand the necessary safety measures at worship gatherings, but not to prohibit the liturgy and the sacraments in and of themselves. In non-democratic states, public gatherings are currently allowed, but only worship services continue to be banned – if one can believe the media reports. If, despite all the dangers, the basic physical and medical care of the population is guaranteed, then care must also be taken that the dying, for example, do not remain without spiritual help. Or if a civil wedding is possible, no one understands why a church wedding is not possible, among other things, as well. Because everything is politicized, even the shepherds no longer notice the discordant tone in the brutal formulation “Baptisms, Confirmations, Masses, Marriages, that is, the sacramental mediation of grace, are forbidden.”

Q: Would you sign the document again?

Cardinal Müller: Whatever one answers, the indignant will feel confirmed again by the new headlines.
The media hype is not about a discussion about facts, but for some people it is what they have been waiting for in order to respond to their need for indignation with absurd accusations and insinuations and in order to confirm each other. Whoever accuses others of “a coalition of irrationality” and of worse and sillier things, should be able to refute coolly the document with a few rational arguments or to let it go down into the spiral of silence. The best thing would be to take Pope Francis as an example here, who has been constantly silent in the face of quite different accusations that he considers unjustified.

Translation by LifeSiteNews’ Dr. Maike Hickson


  appeal for the church and the world, bill gates, catholic, conspiracy theory, coronavirus, gerhard muller, vaccines

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Joan of Arc, canonized 100 years ago, consoles those victimized by Church hierarchy

Joan sets us an example of a laywoman who refuses to be cowed by threats and intimidations from 'authority,' even legitimate authority abusing its powers.
Thu May 14, 2020 - 10:06 am EST
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Peter Kwasniewski Peter Kwasniewski Follow Dr. Peter
By Dr. Peter Kwasniewski

May 14, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — On May 16, 1920, in a ceremony attended by over 30,000 people — including over a hundred descendents of her family — Pope Benedict XV canonized St. Joan of Arc (c. 1412–1431), the Maid of Orléans.

St. Joan of Arc is remarkable in so many ways. I would like to draw attention to a few aspects of her life and character that hold pointed lessons for us today.

First, as a young woman, Joan practiced a deep, humble, and serious piety. The age-old practices of the Catholic faith were enough to take her to the heights of sanctity and the gift of herself for her country and her Lord. She listened to the Lord’s voice as He spoke to her through the saints and through circumstances, and she obeyed His will unflinchingly. St. Michael the Archangel addressed her as “Jehanne the Maid, Child of God,” for this is what she was and always remained. Instead of allowing herself to be distracted by worldly motivations, she followed the path God set for her, in spite of its difficulty. She is, in other words, the exact antithesis of churchmen today who would water down the demands of God’s law, the necessity of self-denial in adhering to it, and the supernatural motives that should sustain us.

Second, Joan boldly stepped into a public role at God’s behest, but without losing her femininity. She did not wage war with the soldiers, but simply led them in formation. She would not, in principle, kill or wound anyone. There is not the remotest chance that she would ever condone women fighting in the military and being trained to kill — the absurdity of actual or potential nurturers of life taking it voluntarily. In this, she is an example of true Christian womanhood: strong and courageous, willing to stick her neck out, willing to lead (as she herself was willing to be led by her Master), but not stupidly trying to be a man. She did not think equality with maleness as something to be grasped, but emptied herself and became a servant. In this way she provided an example of being true to her identity and vocation that is resoundingly necessary for both women and men to heed in a world that has become confused about how many sexes there are and who belongs to which “division” of the human race.

Urgent appeal to the bishops of the world: Feed your flock! Sign the petition here.

(And it is indeed a division — but it need not be an opposition or antagonism, in the way that both male chauvinism and feminism imagine it to be, each feeding off the other. Real difference makes possible a deeper communion and cooperation than uniformity and replaceability, even as, in the Church, the priest’s role as mediator is seen to be essentially different from that of the laity, since he acts on their behalf in persona Christi capitis, in the person of Christ the Head of the Church. In a similar way, the husband in a family has the calling to imitate and represent the headship of Christ. As St. Paul explained so well, one cannot have a functional organic body if it’s made up only of arms or hands or eyes or, for that matter, heads. Real difference and distinction, when embraced in a spirit of servanthood, confer a mutual benefit that far exceeds what one could obtain independently. Hierarchy and unity are correlative, not opposed, as democracy falsely assumes.)

Third, Joan is a model of the virtues of chastity and purity. Feminists like to point out that she donned a man’s clothing at a time when this was considered immoral. Yet all historians are agreed that the reason Joan wore a man’s clothing during her public service, and later in prison, was to protect herself against the danger of rape from the soldiers and enemies among whom she had to dwell. The ordinary women’s clothing of the time offered no such defense, and she would not have had the leisure or the talent to create a new and better fashion de novo. She complained to the tribunal that an English lord had attempted to violate her in prison. Like St. Maria Goretti, St. Joan prized the gift of her virginity and defended it. She knew her worth and her dignity as a woman and a human being.

Fourth, Joan was condemned by an ecclesiastical kangaroo court presided over by a corrupt bishop, Pierre Cauchon, with the complicity of corrupt clergy. As everyone knows who has read Joan’s life, she was falsely charged with heresy and condemned to be burnt at the stake. The trial was later re-evaluated by the Church and found to be gravely defective and irregular on numerous counts — indeed, not to mince words, it was a wicked sham, an excuse for murdering an inconvenient and too popular figure who could not be readily controlled by those in power. We live today in a world in which most of episcopacy is corrupt on several levels — doctrinally, through failing to teach the Catholic Faith in its integrity, if not positively adhering to modernist views, or morally, due to practicing sexual abuse, or covering it up, or tolerating its existence, or liturgically, by refusing to model right worship or to correct impious deviations, or, indeed, all three at once. Joan sets us an example of a laywoman who refuses to be cowed by threats and intimidations from “authority,” even legitimate authority abusing its powers, and who would rather die for a right conscience than falsely admit to wrongdoing. She ought to be recognized as the patron saint of those who have been victimized by the Church’s hierarchy.

St. Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orléans, patroness of France, pray for us.


  feminism, joan of arc, saints, womanhood

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EpisodesThu May 14, 2020 - 3:28 pm EST

We are so used to evil, we let it go on around us without even noticing

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