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December 15, 2017


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Facebook rejects photo of Vatican nativity scene for being ‘sexually provocative’

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By Diane Montagna

ROME, December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Facebook has nixed a photo of this year’s Vatican nativity scene, referencing its policy against “sexually suggestive or provocative” images, Breitbart reported.

The Vatican crèche was donated by the ancient Abbey of Montevergine in the Campania region of southern Italy. Its scenery and crib figures, in 18th-century Neapolitan costumes, were produced by artisans in a local workshop. It incorporates vignettes representing the corporal works of mercy, including visiting the sick and imprisoned, burying the dead, and clothing the naked.

“It was this last element that excited the censors at Facebook,” Breitbart said. The manger scene prominently features the figure of a naked man lying on the straw, being offered a cloth by a pilgrim, just opposite where the figure of the baby Jesus will be placed on Christmas Day.

An ad featuring the image of the scene was rejected by Facebook with the following explanation: “Your ad can’t include images that are sexually suggestive or provocative.”

Veteran Vatican journalist Edward Pentin first posted the photo on Twitter on December 12. Since then, it has done the rounds on social media and provoked shock and dismay among many Catholics, some calling it “disgusting” and others suggesting the naked man is “too much a poster boy for the local gym to be a man in need of corporeal mercy.”

Yet others commented: “Despite the weeping and gnashing, the Vatican presepe is doing in traditional Neapolitan style, with somewhat grotesque figures and the crib hidden amongst worldly hustle and bustle, and intentional anachronisms. Depicting the corporal works of mercy is a nice touch.”

The Vatican manger scene was inaugurated on December 7. As in past years, Pope Francis is expected to spend time before it the crèche in silent prayer on December 31 after Vespers and the chanting of the Te Deum (an ancient prayer or praise to the Holy Trinity) in St. Peter’s Basilica.

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Trudeau limiting gov’t funding to abortion supporters is “ideological coercion”: lawyer

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By Lianne Laurence

OTTAWA, December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Justin Trudeau Liberal government’s requirement that employers attest to their support of abortion and transgender “rights” to receive summer job grants for students is “totalitarian,” says a constitutional lawyer.

“This policy amounts to ideological coercion and violates the Charter freedoms of expression and association,” says John Carpay of the Calgary-based Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms.

The new criteria were sent to all MPs and will be made public when the Canada Summer Jobs Program officially opens December 19.

In order to receive federal Canada job grants, employers must attest that:

both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.

The new criteria will be posted online when the program opens December 19.

Non-profit groups, small businesses, and public sector employers can apply for funding through Canada Summer Jobs to create jobs for students from 15 to 30 years of age.

URGENT: Tell Justin Trudeau you oppose this attack on freedom of conscience. Sign the petition and send a postcard here!

The Liberals made the change “to prevent Government of Canada funding from flowing to organizations whose mandates or projects may not respect individual human rights, the values underlying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and associated case law,” states the information package.

“Additionally, these changes help prevent youth (as young as 15 years of age) from being exposed to employment within organizations that may promote positions that are contrary to the values enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and associated case law,” it reads.

“This change helps to ensure that youth job opportunities funded by the Government of Canada take place in an environment that respects the rights of all Canadians,” it stated.

The Liberals are also making organizations that support the LGBTQ2 community a funding priority, and are focusing on employers who provide jobs for unrepresented groups such as indigenous youth, or who provide jobs for women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics sector, according to the information package.

According to Carpay, the new Liberal policy demonstrates a totalitarian impulse.

“In a free society, every person and group must obey the law, but nobody is required to support any given law, or even an underlying principle. Free societies permit citizens, and all kinds of citizens’ associations, to disagree with the law, and to express disagreement,” he told LifeSiteNews in an email.

“The law can compel you to respect a speed limit, and punish you when you violate it. But to require people to support speed limits, or to say that they support speed limits, is totalitarian.”

Formerly, it was up to individual MPs to assess and approve funding applications from groups in their ridings.

But after media firestorm in April year over revelations Liberal MP Iqra Khalid approved summer job grants to pro-life groups in 2016, Trudeau’s government decreed no Liberal MP would do so again.

Moreover, official word from employment minister Patty Hajdu at the time was that she would change the way the summer job program was administered to prevent pro-life groups receiving funds in the future.

Jack Fonseca, senior political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition, echoed Carpay’s warning.

“This is no minor tweak to a federal program. This is a ground-breaking first step on the inevitable path to raw totalitarianism and open persecution with the sanction of the state,” he told LifeSiteNews in an earlier interview.

“Once the government implements this unconstitutional, anti-Christian policy, the next thing will be that the private sector will take it as permission to do the same thing,” Fonseca said.

“Perhaps first with supplier contracts. But eventually, private sector employees will be required to sign such a declaration which essentially, is a way of getting Christians to disavow their beliefs.”

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‘Lynch mob’ gov’t committee votes in favor of allowing abortion on demand in Ireland

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

DUBLIN, Ireland, December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Irish government’s advisory committee on the upcoming abortion referendum has voted for abortion.

On December 13, the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment voted to recommend abortion on demand up to 12 weeks and until birth on undefined health grounds.

Ireland’s Pro Life Campaign said the Committee’s decision was “a total betrayal of women and their unborn babies and represents a tragic shift backwards for society rather than a step forward. Anyone who tries to suggest that today’s vote is not for abortion on demand is telling a lie.”

In protest of the decision, the three pro-life members of the Committee have quit.  

The Irish Examiner reported that Rónán Mullen, Mattie McGrath, and Peter Fitzpatrick issued a joint statement saying why they will not sign the Committee’s recommendations:

“As members of the committee, we have attempted at all times to seek a fair and thorough analysis of issues pertaining to the Citizens’ Assembly report and recommendations on the Eighth Amendment,” they said. “The systemic imbalance in the functioning of the committee precluded any fair assessment of the issues. An unacceptably flawed process has led inevitably to cruel and unjust recommendations.

“We will not associate ourselves with any report basing itself on such an unacceptably discriminatory and exclusivist view of human rights and human dignity as these votes represent.”

Abortion is illegal in Ireland and the lives of unborn babies are protected by the Irish Constitution.

Cora Sherlock of the Pro-Life Campaign said the “decision to opt for a time limit of 12 weeks on request was plucked from thin air. … Also, the vote in favor of abortion on physical and mental health grounds is even more radical than abortion laws in other countries like England, where one in five pregnancies now ends in abortion.”

Ireland’s Life Institute described the Oireachtas Committee, “with a few honorable exceptions,” as a “lynch mob who have deliberately ignored the humanity of the preborn child and the full evidence about abortion.”

It vowed to ensure that the “extreme and cruel recommendations” of the Committee are rejected by the people of Ireland.

Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute said the “Committee was rigged to push abortion from the beginning, and acted like a lynch mob in refusing the preborn child any trial, any voice, or any fair representation before passing a death sentence on a helpless and vulnerable victim.”

“With the exception of three representatives, this Committee showed no interest in hearing what abortion meant for the baby, or in asking any hard questions of the stream of pro-abortion witnesses handpicked to give evidence supporting abortion, including several abortionists,” she said.

“The baby, who is recognized as a human being under our Constitution, was barely mentioned during the hearings, and now this rigged Committee is proposing that preborn children can be put to death for any reason whatsoever, exactly the kind of cruel, unreasoned behavior you would expect from a lynch mob," Uí Bhriain said.

Cora Sherlock takes comfort from the fact that the December 13 vote does not actually change Ireland’s pro-life Constitution.

“Thankfully, they won’t have the final say on the Eighth Amendment. The (Irish) electorate will have that responsibility, and I am confident that they will vote to keep it.”

Nevertheless, she is disgusted by the Committee’s willingness to recommend abortion when they know the grisly realities.

“For anyone who doubts what (the) vote represents,” she continued, “I would encourage them to look at the evidence of abortionist Dr. Peter Thomas to the committee where he let the mask slip and described in graphic detail how the baby is first paralyzed by the abortionist, who then injects poison into the baby’s heart to stop it beating. This is what some of our politicians view as progress.”

Britain’s biggest abortion business, the British Pregnancy Advisory Committee, also gave evidence to the Committee. At least two pro-life experts invited to testify before the committee refused to appear, believing the Committee was a “kangaroo court” deeply biased in favor of abortion.  

Both the Pro Life Campaign and the Life Institute are adamant that Irish pro-lifers are fully united in their fight to preserve the pro-life Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution.

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Trudeau’s pro-abortion loyalty oath for businesses may end day camps for kids: Scheer spokesman

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By Lianne Laurence

OTTAWA, December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A spokesman for Conservative leader Andrew Scheer says Canadians should be alarmed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government is requiring employers to attest to their support of reproductive and transgender “rights” to receive summer job grants.

“Canadians should be very concerned that the government of Canada is basing its funding decisions on whether or not you hold a certain belief,” said Jake Enwright, Scheer’s director of communications.

“We’re also concerned that individuals who hold private convictions may, for example, no longer be able to help care for the disabled or refugees or provide day camps for children in need,” he told LifeSiteNews in a telephone interview.

Non-profit groups, small businesses, and public sector employers can apply for funding through the Canada Summer Jobs to create jobs for students from 15 to 30 years of age.

According to a government information package to all MPs, employers seeing funding through Canada Summer Jobs must now attest that:

both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.

The Liberals are also making organizations that support the LGBTQ2 community a funding priority, according to the information package.

They are also focusing on employers that provide jobs for unrepresented groups such as indigenous youth, or jobs for women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics sector, it said.

The new criteria will be posted online when the program opens December 19.

URGENT: Tell Justin Trudeau you oppose this attack on freedom of conscience. Sign the petition and send a postcard here!

The Liberals made the change “to prevent Government of Canada funding from flowing to organizations whose mandates or projects may not respect individual human rights, the values underlying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and associated case law,” states the information package.

“Additionally, these changes help prevent youth (as young as 15 years of age) from being exposed to employment within organizations that may promote positions that are contrary to the values enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and associated case law,” it reads.

“This change helps to ensure that youth job opportunities funded by the Government of Canada take place in an environment that respects the rights of all Canadians,” it stated.

But basing funding on a “core mandate” is not the same as not funding certain activities, which is what governments always have done and will do.

“If the government of Canada wanted to achieve a policy objective, it could simply do that by saying we will not fund people to do x, y or z,” Enwright said. “This is different.”

The policy “is not written to dissuade any type of activity, it’s talking about ‘core mandate’ and ‘core beliefs’,” he said.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms “exists to ensure that the government does not discriminate against you based on your beliefs,” added Enwright.

“It’s your right not to believe in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter isn’t a litmus test for the government of Canada to decide how to treat its citizens,” he said.

“It’s not the government’s tool for protecting itself, it’s your tool to protect you from the government.”

Formerly, it was up to individual MPs to assess and approve funding applications from groups in their ridings.

But after media firestorm in April year over revelations Liberal MP Iqra Khalid approved summer job grants to pro-life groups in 2016, Trudeau’s government decreed no Liberal MP would do so again.

Moreover, official word from employment minister Patty Hajdu at the time was that she would change the way the summer job program was administered to prevent pro-life groups receiving funds in the future.

Enwright couldn’t say how the Official Opposition plans to respond because the Conservative caucus is on Christmas break and won’t reconvene until January.

“We will be having a discussion as a caucus at the earliest opportunity” to decide “what next steps will be taken,” he said. “I don’t think this is an issue that will go away.”

“You should question the timing of this as well,” he told LifeSiteNews.

 
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BREAKING: Obama-appointed judge blocks Trump’s rule ending HHS contraceptive mandate

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By John-Henry Westen

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Obama-appointed U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone has blocked a Trump order from October that was to end the federal requirement that employers violate their consciences to participate in the provision of employees’ contraceptives and abortifacient drugs.

Judge Beetlestone ruled in the lawsuit filed by the state of Pennsylvania that she would not permit such “sweeping exemptions” to the Affordable Care Act and could not envision an exemption that “intrudes more into the lives of women.”

The Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) began the mandate, often called the HHS contraceptive mandate. The Little Sisters of the Poor, pro-life nuns who care for the elderly, along with Hobby Lobby and other religious entities refused to comply despite facing massive fines. 

President Donald Trump promised to end the coercive mandate during his campaign.

“No American should be forced to choose between the dictates of the federal government and the tenants of their faith,” Trump said when he signed the order in the White House Rose Garden. He called the Little Sisters of the Poor up to the stage with him.

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Repeal of ‘Net Neutrality’ under Trump leaves pornographers scrambling

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By Fr. Mark Hodges

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pornographers are decrying the Trump administration’s rescinding of “net neutrality” rules this week, saying that the move will likely harm their businesses. 

“This is scary for a number of reasons—among them, the devastating fact that the existence of online pornography is about to get a lot more contentious,” wrote Luke Winkie of Men’s Health. 

“Basically, we're about to live in a world where your internet provider might limit or up-charge your access to pornography,” he added. 

On Thursday, the Trump Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 along party lines to repeal the Obama administration’s “net neutrality” that essentially handed control of the internet over to the government.

Trump appointed FCC chairman Ajit Pai said the repeal was about getting the government to "stop micromanaging the internet."

“We are helping consumers and promoting competition,” said Pai prior to the vote. “Broadband providers will have more incentive to build networks, especially to underserved areas.”

“It is time for the Internet, once again, to be driven by engineers and entrepreneurs and consumers rather than lawyers, accountants and bureaucrats,” Pai said.

In 2015, the Obama FCC took over internet regulations on broadband, reclassifying it from a “luxury” to a “utility.” The move was to help regulate the internet in a similar way to a telephone service provider or electric company. The government rules prohibited internet service providers (like Verizon, or AT&T) from controlling content access, download speeds, and paywalls. Net neutrality required internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all data the same. 

In 2014, Trump described net neutrality as “Obama’s attack on the internet,” calling it a “top down power grab.”

The repeal of net neutrality has pornographers worried. Online pornography businesses such as PornHub and YouPorn have vehemently opposed the Trump move because, as a pro-porn Yahoo News article warns, “the loss of net neutrality will likely reshape the entire (pornography) industry.” 

"Without [net neutrality], the cable and wireless companies that control internet access will have unfair power to pick winners and losers in the market," Corey Price, vice president of Pornhub, told Motherboard.

Alex Hawkins, a spokesperson for xHamster, said the repeal would favor the promotion online of a “heteronormative version of sexuality.”

"Net neutrality is the first step in making the US market align with more conservative regimes across the world, not just in terms of porn, but in ideas about sexuality," Hawkins said.

“The same governments that severely restrict adult content are also the ones that limit sexual expression, LGBTQ rights, women's rights and access to different ideas.”

Fornication, adultery, and other sexual immorality on camera is currently the number one online industry in the world. Last year, PornHub alone used 3,110 petabytes of bandwidth. Viewers watched 4,599,000,000 hours --5,246,000 years-- of explicit and intentionally lust-generating video.  

Some states have declared online porn a “public health crisis.” Critics say the cost to society is incalculable.

In 2014, when the Obama administration first pursued “net neutrality” regulations, Sen. Cruz refuted the issue in a popular video titled, “The Negative Consequences of Net Neutrality Explained in 2 Minutes.”

Conservatives claim “net neutrality” is a misnomer. They say government regulation is unnecessary and inhibits capitalist investment in the industry. Deregulation, they say, will spur investors to improve the internet, increasing speed and bringing down costs for consumers.

“Innovation is happening without having to go to government and say ‘Mother, may I?’” Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said.  “What happens when the government starts regulating a service as a public utility is it calcifies everything and freezes it in place.”

“Despite its unassuming name, the Obama administration’s ‘net neutrality’ regulation threatens the free and open internet that has done so much to advance modern society,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said. “The Trump administration’s action to roll back this egregious government overreach … will benefit all users of the internet.”

The American Civil Liberties Union also opposed Thursday’s vote, and wrote both the FCC and Congress against deregulation. California, New York, and other states said they would legislatively and/or legally challenge the FCC’s move.

 
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Catholic police officer gets suspended for going to Church while on duty

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By Doug Mainwaring
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Officer Mark Hovan.

MIDDLETOWN, Pennsylvania, December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Pennsylvania police officer has been suspended for ten days for going to Catholic Mass on a day of obligation while on duty and in uniform. 

Officer Mark Hovan, a 20- year veteran of the Middletown, Pa., police department, attended Mass in uniform on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a holy day of obligation for Catholics.  

“Hovan, who said he is a devout Catholic, said it was necessary at times because of shift changes for him to go to church while on duty on occasion,” reports the Press & Journal, a local news outlet.  “Hovan said he kept his radio with him and that he had never missed a call while attending church on duty in uniform.”

The officer also said that attending Church while in uniform had never been an issue over his two decades of service, until a new Chief of Police took over at the beginning of this year.

According to an earlier report in the Press & Journal, Officer Hovan said, “his constitutional right to practice freedom of religion was being ‘infringed upon’ by the chief, adding ‘they (the department) made no accommodation at all for me.’”  

Hovan said he believes this constitutes a violation of his religious freedom, and so he is considering taking legal action.

He also suggested the punishment may be related to his current position as president of the borough’s police association.

Contention regarding church attendance while in uniform evidently began shortly after the new department head, Chief George Mouchette, took over.   

Hovan received his first formal reprimand from Mouchette in January for attending Mass on a Sunday morning in uniform.  Mouchette’s warning read, in part, “Never conduct personal business on Middletown Police Department time.”

The officer’s second citation for attending Mass again in August triggered a formal investigation, which resulted in the City Council’s 4 to 1 vote to recommend his temporary suspension.

Hovan maintains that he was always available for calls and that he didn't violate any department procedures. He noted that prior police chiefs actually encouraged his occasional Mass attendance, and that, over the years, other officers had also attended church on work time without being reprimanded.

Both infractions occurred at Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Middletown. It is not known whether Officer Hovan’s suspension is with or without pay. 

 
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Franklin Graham spoke Bible-truth about LGBT. Now the UK wants to ban him for ‘hate speech’

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

LONDON, England, December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – British parliamentarians along with over 6,000 people have signed an online petition to ban world-famous American evangelist Franklin Graham from entry into the country because they say he has used “hate speech” against “Muslims and LGBT people.”

Graham is scheduled to speak in the U.K., in Blackpool, Sept. 2018.

The evangelist has taken a strong Biblical stance against homosexuality, calling it “a sin” and warning those engaging in homosexual acts about the judgment of God. He has called Christians to boycott businesses that promote the LGBT agenda. He criticized Disney earlier this year for its remake of Beauty and the Beast that promotes homosexuality. “They’re trying to push the LGBT agenda into the hearts and minds of your children,” he said. “Watch out!”

The evangelists has also been an outspoken champion of the right to life of the preborn. He said earlier this year that fundraising for Planned Parenthood “is like raising money to fund a Nazi death camp.” He has also not shied away from pointing out how Islam is antithetical to Christianity. 

A Change.org petition accuses Graham of harboring hatred for Muslims and people with same-sex attraction. 

“Unlike his father, Billy Graham, Franklin Graham engages in outspoken bigotry targeting refugees, Muslims and LGBT people. His father promoted unity and respect in communities but Franklin Graham’s extreme views promote prejudice and division,” the petition states. 

Gordon Marsen of Blackpool and Afzhal Khan of Manchester Gordon are among the MPs who want Graham barred. 

The movement to ban Franklin Graham from British shores contrasts sharply with the welcome his father Billy Graham received when he arrived in the UK in 1954. Between 1.5 and 2 million people in total turned out to the mass gatherings of the elder Graham’s “London Crusade.”

News of the petition against Graham comes as the British government refuses to answer whether proclaiming the Christian faith in public could be a “hate crime.”

During a Question Period in the House of Lords regarding hate crime prosecution, Lord Pearson of Rannock asked the government to confirm that a Christian who states that “Jesus is the only Son of the one true God” cannot be arrested for it. Baroness Vere, representing the government, refused to comment. 

Lord Pearson’s question to the government, which followed well-publicized trials of Christian street preachers, was as follows:

"My Lords, will the Government confirm that the latest definition from the [Criminal Prosecution Service] of a hate crime is one which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by prejudice based on a person’s religion? Will the Government therefore confirm unequivocally that a Christian who says that Jesus is the only Son of the one true God cannot be arrested for hate crime or any other offence, however much it may offend a Muslim or anyone of any other religion?”

Baroness Vere replied, “I am not going to comment on that last question from the noble Lord. However, I will say that when the public statements were revised, the definition did not change; it has been the same for the last 10 years.” 

Lord Pearson told Premier Christianity that this refusal to answer his question — unprecedented, in his experience — worried him. He suggested that religious freedom in the UK is being eroded by “hate crime” legislation, and that this is being done to please Muslims.

What constitutes a hate crime in the United Kingdom is unclear and is largely based on the extent to which the feelings of the injured party have been hurt, Pearson maintains. 

“I want the government to answer. We’ve got to have it clarified. The stricter Muslims do feel offended by Christianity and our belief in Jesus being the only Son of the one true God.” 

He said there are “quite a few” stories in which Christian festivals or traditions are canceled or diminished for fear of offending people of other religions, “and of course by that one means particularly the Muslims,” he said. 

Pearson draws the line at personal attacks, e.g. saying “You’re an idiotic Muslim” to an individual, but believes people should be able to criticize a religion and to proclaim their own without the law getting involved.

“I would have thought free speech trumps it, and I’m afraid at the moment free speech is on the retreat in this country particularly from a wish to appease Islam. There’s no other way of putting it,” he said. 

 
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Christian charged with tax evasion after refusing to pay taxes which fund abortion

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By Fr. Mark Hodges

PORTLAND, Oregon, December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-life Christian is taking a stand against government-forced complicity in abortion by refusing to pay taxes until the government stops promoting the “murder of babies” with his income taxes.

Michael Bowman, 53, says that the free exercise of his sincerely held beliefs prohibits him from participating in any way with what he calls “child killing.”

Bowman has been charged with tax evasion. He maintains that he has not broken any laws.

"I don't believe I have broken any laws as I have a duty (and right) to protect my conscience and to 'practice' religion freely,'' he wrote in a declaration filed in court. "

"A woman has the right to choose but apparently the prosecutor feels I do not have a right to choose,'' he told the Portland federal court.

Bowman, a self-employed computer software developer, has claimed a conscientious objection to funding abortions since 1997. He has asked both state and federal authorities to exempt him from the portion of taxes that support abortion.

The government issued liens, garnished his bank account (until he began cashing his checks instead of depositing them), and finally filed criminal charges in February. A federal grand jury indicted him this month on one count of evasion of income tax and four counts of willful failure to file returns.

Bowman’s lawyer, attorney Matthew Schindler, motioned the court to dismiss the charges.  

“He wants to pay taxes but until the government stops promoting the murder of babies with his income taxes, he cannot pay,” Schindler explained. “The very moment, the instant that his money is no longer being used to promote murder, he will gladly pay every cent he owes to the government.”

The case rests on the Constitution’s free exercise clause and on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The RFRA is designed to stop government intrusion into citizens’ living their beliefs.  

The RFRA specifically bans substantially burdening religious life unless there is a “compelling government interest,” and even then, allows government intrusion only through the “least restrictive means.”

Schindler says there is no “compelling government interest” in supporting abortion. “There is simply no argument that the federal government cannot exist without funding Planned Parenthood,” the attorney wrote.

Bowman recorded his side of the story in a video called “My Defense” and sent it to government officials.  

“If I am guilty of anything, it is living in a manner designed to keep ‘my conscience’ clean while ‘practicing religion’ in a manner that is fitting to my conscience and acceptable to God Almighty,” Bowman wrote.

Historically, tax evasion even for religious reasons is illegal. “This is a losing claim,” Notre Dame Law School tax law professor Lloyd Mayer stated

“People don’t get to pick and choose which laws they can agree to,” former federal prosecutor Kent S. Robinson explained. In one example, a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision denied an Amish request to be exempt from Social Security taxes, even though such taxes are against their beliefs.

The issue is not a new one. During the brutal Roman occupation, Jewish leaders asked Jesus, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?  Should we pay them, or should we not?”

Jesus, knowing full well how Roman taxes were used to oppress people and prop up an evil regime, answered, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:14-17, cf. Romans 13:6-7).  

Oregon is one of the most pro-abortion states in the union, with unrestricted abortion-on-demand for any reason all the way up to due date.  The state’s radical Reproductive Health Equity Act, passed in August, also requires insurers to pay for free abortions and abortifacient contraception.  The act even uses tax dollars to abort non-citizens’ children.

 
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Ohio is about to ban abortion for Down Syndrome babies

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By Fr. Mark Hodges

COLUMBUS, Ohio, December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A pro-life bill protecting preborn babies with a probable Down syndrome diagnosis has been sent to Governor John Kasich’s desk for his signature into law.

The Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act passed the Ohio Senate 20-12 and passed the Ohio House 63-30 last month. On Wednesday, the bill was delivered to Gov. Kasich.

The governor called the bill “appropriate” and promised to sign it. In a 2015 interview on CNN, Kasich said, “I’m more than glad to say that, of course, I would sign that.”

Up to 90 percent of preborn babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted, even though the chromosomal abnormality has not stopped such people from living happy, fulfilling lives (Watch amazing video below of 21-year-old Charlotte Fien with Down syndrome addressing a UN conference on World Down syndrome Day, March 21, 2017). 

"A prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome should not mean a death sentence,” Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis stated. “Both the House and the Senate sent a loud message that we are a society built on compassion, love, equality ... Every Ohioan deserves the right to life, no matter how many chromosomes they have.”

The pro-life leader characterized Down syndrome abortions as “discrimination,” and decried the “modern-day eugenic practice of aborting babies with Down syndrome.”

Gonidakis added that with this law, “we are one step closer to ensuring that Ohioans with Down syndrome are recognized as humans worthy of dignity, just as they are.”

Opponents say the law is unenforceable, even though the law instructs the state department of health to “adopt rules” to “assist in compliance.”

Ironically, Democrats argued the legislation doesn’t help Ohioans with Down syndrome. ACLU lobbyist Gary Daniels stated that the bill "does nothing to improve the lives of people with disabilities.” 

Three Republicans broke ranks to vote against the pro-life bill: Matt Dolan (Chagrin Falls), Gayle Manning (North Ridgeville), and Stephanie Kunze (Hilliard).

The Democrats were successful in adding two amendments to the law. One ensures no tax dollars would be spent to legally defend the law, and the other ensures that women cannot be compelled to reveal why they abort.

A small group of abortion activists held signs outside the Senate chamber Wednesday. Planned Parenthood also had a protest rally at the Statehouse Thursday.

Abortion providers caught violating the ban may receive punishments of up to $5,000 in fines and up to 18 months in jail and a possible loss of license.  There are no legal punishments for the women who aborts a Down syndrome baby.

The medical journal Prenatal Diagnosis reports that up to 85 percent of pregnant women who receive a Downs diagnosis abort their child.  The numbers are so high that the European Center for Law and Justice appealed to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council in an oral intervention, calling the practice a “contemporary form of eugenics and racism.”

One in 691 babies is conceived with Down syndrome. The cause is not known, but it can be detected in the womb or after birth to help the child therapeutically.

Live Action reports that parents are often misinformed about Downs.

“They are not informed of the advances in science and medicine that allow people with Down syndrome to lead successful lives. Today, people with Down syndrome receive equal education alongside their peers, and many live on their own, get married, and hold jobs.”

Addressing this concern, Ohio and several other states passed a pro-information law to give women more accurate and less stigmatizing data on the disability.

Amniocentesis testing for Downs can be wrong.  The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics found so many inaccurate diagnoses that it took “diagnostic” off the product description of some testing products and called them simply, “prenatal screening.”

The Down Syndrome Prenatal Testing website admits, “None of the new blood tests provide a definite answer.  None. Of. Them.”

In fact, the newer, less invasive testing has been found to give a false “positive” 50 percent of the time.  The Boston Globe published a major study by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting that concluded “hundreds” of parents are aborting healthy babies.

With Kasich’s signature, Ohio would become the fourth state to prohibit abortion because of Downs and/or possible fetal abnormality.  

North Dakota’s 2013 ban covers any “genetic abnormality or a potential for a genetic abnormality.”  

A federal judge decided Indiana’s fetal protection law was unconstitutional because the state has no authority to limit a woman’s reasons for terminating her child.  The state has appealed.

Louisiana’s 2016 law is not enforced while the Center for Reproductive Rights challenges it, along with six other pro-life laws.

Kasich has ten days to sign the legislation into law. Pro-life lawmakers have passed twenty bills to protect preborns since Kasich became governor of Ohio.

Last year, Governor John Kasich signed into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act which forbids abortion after twenty weeks, but simultaneously vetoed a pro-life ban on abortions after the baby’s heartbeat is detected.

The ACLU of Ohio has said they are weighing their options regarding a court challenge.

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Pope Francis next to a statue of Martin Luther
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Pope Francis’ pastoral changes have set the stage for doctrinal changes: Philosopher priest

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

KABUL, Afghanistan, December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis may have begun a new phase in his pontificate: doctrinal change, a priest and former philosophy professor has written. 

Italian Fr. Giovanni Scalese, the local Ordinary for Afghanistan, wrote a post titled Fase B (Phase B) on his blog “Antiquo robore,” arguing that Pope Francis laid out his new plan for doctrinal evolution in the Church in a recent speech.

The October 11 speech to the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, in which Pope Francis presented his views on the death penalty, has a “programmatic” character, Scalese said. It represents a “turning point.” By concentrating on the details of Francis’s speeches, Scalese argued, some might miss the bigger picture of what the Pope is doing. 

In his speech, the Pope challenged previous Catholic teaching by calling the death penalty “contrary to the Gospel.” He said he would like the Catechism of the Catholic Church to change according to a “new understanding of Christian truth,” saying that only a “partial vision can think of ‘the deposit of faith’ as something static.”

For Scalese, the bigger picture of the Pope’s October 11 speech is “Phase B” of the Pope’s plan to change Church doctrine. 

According to Scalese, “Phase A” was the “pastoral conversion” Pope Francis mentions in Evangelii gaudium, which others have called “a paradigm shift” and Scalese himself calls a “pastoral revolution. “Phase A,” which describes Francis’ papacy until his October 11 speech, involved the privileging of pastoral care over doctrine. 

“The most significant event of this phase, without a doubt, was the publication of the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia,” Scalese wrote. The exhortation has been interpreted by numerous bishops and Cardinals around the world as allowing civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics who are living in adultery to receive Holy Communion, even though such a practice contradicts previous Catholic teaching. 

“Phase B” will move from a de-emphasis on doctrine to a demand that doctrine evolve with the times, the priest said. 

“One gets the impression that the October 11 speech marked a transition to a new phase in which, while re-affirming that doctrine doesn’t change, one emphasizes the need for doctrine to progress,” Scalese wrote. “Until now this has never been said; until now one prefered not to speak of doctrine … and to concentrate on pastoral care. But now discourse on doctrine has been taken up again, to say that it must evolve to respond to the challenges of changing times.” 

Scalese said he doesn’t know if this shift was planned from the start as a “precise strategy” or if it became necessary because of the impossibility of continuing to ignore the implications of pastoral care that is at odds with doctrine.

"If doctrine says ‘A’ and pastoral care says ‘B’, it’s obvious that something is wrong,” Scalese wrote. 

“Therefore either the pastoral practice is changed or the doctrine is changed,” he added.

Seeing that in Francis’ papacy pastoral care now has precedence over doctrine, “it is quite understandable that one thinks of revising doctrine,” stated Scalaese. 

The Barnabite priest said that there is an authentic form of “development of doctrine in the Church,” that is “possible, legitimate, and even necessary.” He doubted Pope Francis was moving forward with such an authentic development.

Scalese observed that when presenting his speech, Francis brought up two crucial points about the doctrine of the Church: 1. that the deposit of faith must be kept intact and 2. that it must be made intelligible to people of our times and express “its implicit potentialities.” Scalese thinks that Francis was “exclusively” concerned with the second point, however, and that this overemphasis “gives rise to the suspicion that an ‘update’ to the previous magisterium is being prepared.” 

There is already a “research group” having another look at Humanae vitae, Scalese observed. “Now it would seem that we want to proceed also with a revision of the Catechism.” 

He suggested that Pope Francis’s remarks about the death penalty are a “pretext” and that after changing what the Catechism says about that, the pontiff might make other changes requested by “a few groups (e.g. about homosexuality)." 

Scalese raised suspicion of the plan to publish a new edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church with commentary. “Is it really necessary to comment on a catechism?” he asked. “Is it not already clear enough? Or do you want ... a ‘reinterpretation’? Perhaps there is a need to ‘reread’ the Catechism in the light of Evangelii gaudium and Amoris laetitia?”

 
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Canada bans summer job grants to pro-life employers: Send a postcard to say NO here

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By LifeSiteNews staff

December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – After the Canadian government’s decision to force employers to support abortion and transgender “rights” in order to get summer job grants, LifeSiteNews has launched a petition and postcard campaign.

The campaign, hosted at LifePetitions, allows people of conscience to express their firm opposition to the Justin Trudeau government.

After the signing the petition, you will be giving the chance to automatically send a postcard to the Prime Minister’s office with a nominal cost to cover postage.

URGENT: Tell Justin Trudeau you oppose this attack on freedom of conscience. Sign the petition and send a postcard here!

The Liberal government will announce December 19 that employers must now sign an “attestation” that they agree with abortion and transgender "rights" before they can take advantage of the Canada Summer Jobs Program.

In order to receive federal Canada job grants, employers must attest that:

  • both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. 

The change is intended “to prevent Government of Canada funding from flowing to organizations whose mandates or projects may not respect individual human rights, the values underlying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and associated case law,” according to a government briefing package sent to MPs.

It will also “help prevent youth (as young as 15 years of age) from being exposed to employment within organizations that may promote positions that are contrary to the values enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and associated case law,” and “ensure that youth job opportunities funded by the Government of Canada take place in an environment that respects the rights of all Canadians.”

Conservative MP Brad Trost was first to publicly raise the alarm in a Twitter and Facebook video in which he denounces the Liberals for discrimination.

“In practical terms, this means you have to be with the Liberal Party position on abortion, gay marriage, transgendered rights, all sorts of legislation in the House of Commons, otherwise you will be an ineligible employer for this program,” Trost said.

“That’s wrong, that’s discrimination.” 

Canadians “are allowed to have different political beliefs than the government of the day and they shouldn’t have their funding be cut off because they disagree with the government,” he added.

“The second problem with this is it automatically excludes all faith-based organizations that are traditional on their values of human life and sexual morality. That includes millions and millions of Canadians,” Trost said.

The Liberal move has also been denounced by Campaign Life Coalition, which has launched a petition.

Jack Fonseca, senior political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition, excoriated the Trudeau Liberals for their blatant anti-Christian bias. 

“This is a jaw-dropping act of discrimination against faith-based employers and non-profits. Although the Trudeau Liberals have signaled many times they have special contempt for Christians, this new policy requires a massive negative reaction from all faith-based communities in Canada – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, etc,” he told LifeSiteNews. 

“More and more, Justin Trudeau is transforming the Liberal Party into a hate group against Christians. Just recently, the Liberals were scared off from his plan of eliminating the law that protected Church worship services from disruption. Now this. It’s abundantly clear the Trudeau Liberals hate Christians,” he added.

Non-profit groups, small businesses, and public sector employers can apply for funding through Canada Summer Jobs program to create jobs for students from 15 to 30 years of age.

Formerly, it was up to individual MPs to assess and approve funding applications from groups in their ridings.

But Trudeau Liberals already decreed last year no Liberal MP could approve Canada Summer Job funding for pro-life groups. Moreover, Liberal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Patty Hajdu said at the time through spokesman Matt Pascuzzo that she would change the program to make sure no pro-life group would be approved in the future.

“We have been unequivocal in our support for a woman’s fundamental right to choose,” Pascuzzo said then.

Alliance for Life Ontario and the Canadian Center for Bioethical Reform were among pro-life groups cut off from Canada Student Job funding in 2017.

Pro-family leaders have warned Christians will face increasing economic and political pressure to conform to the pro-abortion, pro-homosexual ideology, including the possibility of having to sign on to a declaration supporting human “rights,” such as abortion and homosexuality.

Fonseca echoed this.

“This is no minor tweak to a federal program. This is a ground-breaking first step on the inevitable path to raw totalitarianism and open persecution with the sanction of the state,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“Once the government implements this unconstitutional, anti-Christian policy, the next thing will be that the private sector will take it as permission to do the same thing,” Fonseca warned. “Perhaps first with supplier contracts. But eventually, private sector employees will be required to sign such a declaration which essentially, is a way of getting Christians to disavow their beliefs.”

URGENT: Tell Justin Trudeau you oppose this attack on freedom of conscience. Sign the petition!

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Fr. Frank Pavone

Opinion

Christmas should inspire us to fight even harder to save babies from abortion

Fr. Frank Pavone
By Fr. Frank Pavone

December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – God took on a body at Christmas, and became visible, so that love could become visible. It is the incarnation, a word coming from the Latin "in carne," which means, "in the flesh." Christmas is God in the flesh: no longer only an eternal Spirit who fills the universe, but our brother, whom we can hear, see, and touch. By having his own blood, he could shed it for us. By having his own body, he could offer it on the cross for us.

God becoming visible at Christmas is not only a blessing we receive; it is an obligation we accept. In receiving the one who took on a body precisely to sacrifice it for us, we accept the duty and privilege of sacrificing our own bodies, possessions, and lives in order to love one another, especially the oppressed, first among whom are the unborn.

Emmanuel or “God with Us” became incarnate to empower us to love him, and to love our neighbor. It is not in abstract concepts that we find the strength to sacrifice ourselves in life-giving action. It is, rather, in the contact with the humanity we serve. It is facing the injustice that oppresses human lives, and then making a human response to it that springs from the depths of our own humanity, grounded in the God who gave that humanity to us.

Christ demonstrates his sacrifice visibly so that we can imitate it. Hence Saint John writes, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers" (1 John 3:16). That includes our brothers and sisters still in the womb, the children who are deprived of legal protection of their very lives (and therefore of all their other rights as well).

That’s right. We are to lay down our lives for them! Again, this is no abstract, make-believe, or half-hearted commitment. This contact with the humanity of Christ at Christmas speaks to us of what we are to do now for the unborn. It is to come in contact with the human reality of their lives, and the human tragedy of their deaths, that is to impel us in our self-sacrificing love for them. This is discipleship, which admits of no cheap grace. A passionate adherence to Christ -- who took on a body at Christmas and has it to this day -- means a passionate imperative to rescue the needy and to save them, not just spiritually but physically.

It is a difficult calling to sacrifice for the unborn but it is a not new phenomenon. Others went before us to lead by example. Basil of Caesarea, for instance, fought intensely against abortion and infanticide in the 4th century Roman Empire.

So passionate was Basil in his concern for life that apparently, late one evening after Vespers, he and several deacons from the church actually went outside the city to dismantle the old Caesarean infanticide shrine with their bare hands. He knew that such direct action could very well have jeopardized his standing, but he was driven by an irrepressible spiritual imperative…Hearing of Basil’s solitary crusade, the Emperor Valentinian took the first step toward the full criminalization of child-killing in 374...' {Third Time Around: A history of the Pro-life Movement from the First Century to the Present, by George Grant, 1991, Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, pp.20-21)

Notice the reference to being "passionate," and to the "irrepressible spiritual imperative." It is that expressed above by Saint John. Because Christ came among us physically and gave his life on the cross, we can give our lives for one another. We can take risks to protect one another. Basil was stirred by a physical evil, inspired by a God who became physical in the Incarnation, and impelled to physical action.

In a 2013 mass, Pope Francis said, "We find Jesus’ wounds in carrying out works of mercy, giving to our body – the body – the soul too, but – I stress - the body of your wounded brother, because he is hungry, because he is thirsty, because he is naked, because he is humiliated, because he is a slave, because he's in jail because he is in the hospital...Those are the wounds of Jesus today. …We need to touch the wounds of Jesus, we must caress the wounds of Jesus, we need to bind the wounds of Jesus with tenderness, we have to kiss the wounds of Jesus, and this literally. Just think of what happened to St. Francis, when he embraced the leper? The same thing that happened to Thomas: his life changed."

Let us touch the sufferings of the baby who is in danger of abortion, and be changed into fearless warriors for them.

Priests for Life is the world's largest Catholic organization focused exclusively on ending abortion. For more reflections on the connections between the Advent-Christmas season and our pro-life commitment, download the ebook at ChristmasForTheUnborn.com.

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U.S. leaders sound alarm over Canada’s new pro-abortion loyalty oath for businesses

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By Doug Mainwaring

December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – While the eyes of freedom-loving Americans are focused on the Masterpiece Cakeshop case now before the United States Supreme Court, a serious threat to religious liberty has suddenly erupted in our neighbor to the north.

The Liberal government of Justin Trudeau has just announced it will demand – in writing – fealty to transgender and abortion “rights” from employers before they will be allowed to receive summer job grants for students.  

Both the job and the organization’s core mandate must be in line with the Canadian government’s mandated ideological beliefs in order to participate in the program.  

URGENT: Tell Justin Trudeau you oppose this attack on freedom of conscience. Sign the petition here!

“This is a jaw-dropping act of discrimination against faith-based employers and nonprofits,” said Jack Fonseca, senior political strategist for Campaign Life Coalition, excoriating the Trudeau Liberals for their blatant anti-Christian bias.  “More and more, Justin Trudeau is transforming the Liberal Party into a hate group against Christians.”

Canada is quickly becoming a cautionary tale for Americans as the principle of religious liberty is tangibly suppressed, being traded for a form of government totalitarianism made possible by sixty years of sexual revolution.  

Americans Take Notice, Express Deep Concern

Some Americans have taken notice and are expressing concern about the heavy handed, discriminatory policy.

“Canada is marching straight down the path toward a new form of authoritarianism we are seeing pop up in Western countries in recent years – one that commands obedience to State ideologies in the area of human sexuality,” said Travis Weber, Director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council.  “This recent action is but another step down that path. I hope this is a wake-up call for those in the United States who think we will never get there. While our First Amendment for now guards against many of these dangers, there are always those trying to chip away at it, and we must be ever watchful for similar encroachments on freedom here at home.”

Weber drew a connection between what is now happening in Canada and the United States.

“In the Masterpiece case, currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, the State of Colorado and the ACLU are making the same coercive arguments against small business owner and baker Jack Phillips – that he must be excluded from the marketplace unless he agrees to paint a message of approval on a same-sex wedding cake against his conscience. Indeed, at oral arguments in that case held earlier this month, the justices pointed out the severe religious freedom implications for Christian legal service providers and schools (among others), should the arguments of the State and ACLU be accepted.”

“This shows the pettiness of the sexual revolutionaries,” said Jennifer Roback Morse, Founder of the Ruth Institute.  “It also shows how this is a totalitarian movement that demands 100% thought control.”

“What they are basically trying to build is so irrational and so unsustainable that they cannot tolerate the slightest bit of dissent,” added Morse.

URGENT: Tell Justin Trudeau you oppose this attack on freedom of conscience. Sign the petition here!

“Justin Trudeau shows us the intolerant anti-clerical that hides behind the mask of liberal tolerance,” said F.H. Buckley, Professor at George Mason University’s Scalia School of Law, Senior Editor at The American Spectator, and author of the new book, The Republic of Virtue.  “His father said that the state had no business in the bedroom of the nation. Fifty years later, his son begs to disagree. The state will punish a Canadian business that doesn’t share the liberal line about what happens in the bedrooms of the nation.”

“So let me get this straight. If an organization believes that a child has a right to life, a right to their mother and father, and a right to be raised according to their biological sex and not surgically or chemically castrated through transgender ‘treatment,’ they are ineligible for government support?” asked Katy Faust, founder of Them before Us.  “This policy reveals more than just the animus that the Trudeau government holds toward faith-based organizations, it reveals what his government thinks about the very students who are applying for this summer program.  Namely, that these student’s lives only have value if they are ‘wanted,’ that their mother and father are optional and replaceable, and that a young woman's ‘bodily autonomy” ends the moment a grown man steps into the locker room shower with her.  This policy isn’t just anti-religion, it’s anti-child.”

RELATED

Canada demands pro-abortion, pro-LGBT loyalty oath for businesses

A quick list of Justin Trudeau’s tyrannical acts against life, family, and Christians

Canada won’t fund student summer jobs unless employers support abortion

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I’m Catholic. Here’s what I learned from a Christian street preacher

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By Dorothy Cummings McLean

EDINBURGH, Scotland, December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – On a wet Saturday this past January, my husband Mark and I were running errands in Edinburgh’s Old Town. As we were walking up the Royal Mile, we heard loud shouting outside Saint Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh’s so-called High Kirk (Church).

Standing on a stool before the ramp to the West Door was a 30-something Scotsman in black jeans and a black jacket, his hood pulled up against the sleet. He was testifying that salvation comes only from Jesus Christ, who died for our sins. 

The preacher was interrupted by a heckler in a leather hat standing on the cathedral’s ramp and jeered at by a knot of people in rain gear standing on the far side of the Heart of Midlothian.

"Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life," shouted the preacher. "No-one comes to the Father except through Me."

Despite the sleet, we stopped and listened. Not only were we offended by the anti-Christian scoffers, we admired the preacher’s counter-cultural guts.  

“Mohammed is dead,” he yelled. “He cannot save you. Buddha is dead. He cannot save you. Jesus Christ is alive, and only Jesus Christ can save you!”

"I wonder how long he will be allowed to say such things," muttered Mark.  

Eventually, the heckler disappeared and the jeerers lost interest. Mark and I crossed the street towards the cathedral and stood at a reserved distance, right at the Heart of Midlothian. We continued to listen, trying to telegraph solidarity: Yes, this speaker is worthy of attention. Yes, shouting the Gospel in the street is a good thing. Yes, we believe in God, in our Lord Jesus Christ. 

And, you know, it was wonderful to hear the beloved verses shouted into the Royal Mile: "God so loved the world that He send His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not die, but will have everlasting Life!"  

"Are you ... with him?" asked the fifty-something Scot who suddenly popped up beside us.

"No," said Mark cheerfully. "We're Catholics, actually."

The man looked confused for a moment but relaxed and explained his interest. He was in Edinburgh to research the Covenanters (17th century political Presbyterians), and when he heard the preaching, he was amazed and delighted because it was just like in the Edinburgh of seventeenth century: “He’s even wearing black!” 

Thus the historian chatted with Mark, and they laughed with shared historians’ delight. I hoped the preacher didn't think they were laughing at him as I listened with interest to his confession that he had been a drinker and a womanizer. I also watched the tourists ignoring his Christian preaching as they streamed into the Christian church to gaze at its relatively dull interior. 

Finally, we decided that we had shown enough solidarity. Rain was glistening on Mark’s hair, and the preacher had come to the end of his sermon and started again.

"Amen!" shouted Mark to our separated brother. “God bless you!"

"God bless you!" I chimed in.

"God bless you!" shouted the preacher.

I waved; he waved: ecumenism in action.

“We have made enough of a spectacle of ourselves for the day,” Mark cheerfully murmured.  

"Obviously we are in a civilizational crisis," I joked. "Edinburgh Catholics applauding the Protestant preacher outside Saint Giles’?! But who was it who said, If we don't hang together, we will surely all hang separately?"

"Hmm," said Mark. "I don't remember."

"I think it's from the American Revolution," I said, and I was right, for the speaker was Benjamin Franklin, only he actually said, "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."

And although I do not anticipate actual hangings for British Christians in the near future, I am concerned that the rather shadowy and subjective definition of “harassment” in the “hate crime” guidelines used by police in Britain to arrest Christian street preachers will be used against us all. For the moment the police confine their arrests to Christians who preach Christ on the street. That’s bad enough, but how long before they begin to arrest Christians who preach Christ indoors, in churches, schools, and newspapers, on television, online and over radio?  

Editor's note: A version of this article was first printed in the Toronto Catholic Register in January. It is used here by permission of the author. 

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Canada demands pro-abortion, pro-LGBT loyalty oath for businesses

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By Jonathon van Maren

December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The tolerance of Justin Trudeau and his progressive government has struck again, just in time for Christmas—and this time, it comes in the form of a demand that any organization seeking to apply for funding from the Canada Summer Jobs Program first give an “attestation” that they support an entire laundry list of far-left causes, including abortion, transgenderism, and the redefinition of marriage. This new ideological purity test will automatically exclude millions of Canadian Christians, Jews, Sikhs, and Muslims—essentially, anyone who differs from the government position on any “progressive” cause.

URGENT: Tell Justin Trudeau you oppose this attack on freedom of conscience. Sign the petition and send a postcard here!

Earlier this year, the Trudeau government responded to a campaign by pro-choice bloggers and the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada by announcing that pro-life groups (including, for full disclosure, the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, where I serve as communications director) would no longer be eligible for funding under the Canada Summer Jobs Program. The program was intended to create jobs for students, and any business or non-profit could hire students between the ages of 15 and 30. But any organization that dissents from Canada’s abortion regime—which permits the procedure throughout all nine months of pregnancy—were no longer eligible due to their pro-life beliefs.

Trudeau and his government of social justice warriors have evidently decided that their initial decision didn’t go far enough, and have now expanded this ridiculous ideological purity test to include the demand for a de facto loyalty oath to a progressive manifesto. The Canada Summer Jobs Program used to simply be a government initiative to give students a short-term paying job—now, it’s simply a funnel for the Liberals to award cash to their friends and others who subscribe to their very specific set of ideological beliefs. The government laid out their position quite clearly:

In order to receive federal Canada job grants, employers must attest that:

  • both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.

It’s worth noting that most charity work in Canada is done by religious groups and churches. From homeless shelters to food banks, religious Canadians of all stripes do much to make the lives of their less fortunate neighbors better. Unfortunately for them, they will now be denied access to this government program—because the same religious beliefs that spur on their essential work also renders them ineligible. Aside from the United Church of Canada—which is far too busy selling off its abandoned churches to hire students, anyway—very few faith-based non-profits will be able to hire students through this program.

Justin Trudeau has created a two-tiered system—if you believe in abortion-on-demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy, if you believe in the brand-new gender ideologies currently sweeping through our institutions—basically, if you believe that fundamental tenets of nearly every major faith tradition are false, hateful, and discriminatory—then you are eligible for government funding. But if you’re not willing to attest to the government that you believe precisely the same things that they do on every issue, you’re out of luck.

URGENT: Tell Justin Trudeau you oppose this attack on freedom of conscience. Sign the petition and send a postcard here!

It’s truly repulsive that Canada’s Liberal government would inform millions of Canadians that if their beliefs differ from the current dogmas of the state, that they are not permitted to access the same opportunities offered to others. The intolerance of Liberal tolerance is truly a sight to behold: If you’re Muslim, or Sikh, or Jewish, or Christian—your organization is welcome to apply to the Canada Summer Jobs Program. But first, you simply have to provide a statement declaring that you hold all of the same positions as Justin Trudeau.

Sunny ways, my friends. Sunny ways. 

RELATED: Canada won’t fund student summer jobs unless employers support abortion

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A quick list of Justin Trudeau’s tyrannical acts against life, family, and Christians

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By Patrick Craine

December 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Justin Trudeau’s government is sparking outrage among people of faith and conscience yet again this week after telling Members of Parliament that they will force employers to support abortion and transgenderism in order to get student summer job funding.

This news is only Trudeau’s latest attack on people of faith. The prime minister who so admires China for its “basic dictatorship” began his mandate with a mission to transform Canadian society into his libertine, anti-life image, and he has pursued this agenda with utter resolve.

URGENT: Tell Justin Trudeau you oppose this attack on freedom of conscience. Sign the petition and send a postcard here!

Here is a quick list, in chronological order, of some of the Trudeau government’s most anti-life, anti-family, and anti-freedom actions while in office.

March 2016

June 2016

October 2016

February 2017

March 2017

April 2017

June 2017

July 2017

August 2017

  • Trudeau uses his international role as Canadian Prime Minister to promote abortion in Ireland as the country considers overturning its pro-life amendment.

September 2017

  • Trudeau’s Liberal Party walks out on a Status of Women Committee meeting because a pro-life woman was nominated to chair the committee.

October 2017

  • The Trudeau government forgets to mention Jews on a plaque dedicating the National Holocaust Memorial. Instead they used the plaque to promote their general talking points against “hate, intolerance, and discrimination.”

November 2017

December 2017

URGENT: Tell Justin Trudeau you oppose this attack on freedom of conscience. Sign the petition and send a postcard here!

 
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