Peter Baklinski

Peterborough pro-life group hasn’t missed Saturday protest in 25 years

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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PETERBOROUGH, Ontario, October 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Since its inception in 1980, Peterborough Pro-Life has never swerved from what it considers its primary duty: publicly witnessing to the dignity and sanctity of a baby’s human life inside its mother’s womb. Last Wednesday, LifeSiteNews sat down with Paul Morgan and Ali van der Vegt, who recounted what the group had accomplished in 31 years of existence.

“Peterborough Pro-Life (PPL) association was formed to fight abortion and to foster respect for the dignity and sanctity of every human life, from conception to natural death, but especially the pre-born baby,” said Morgan, former president of PPL.

“It is not that we are happy that our group has been around this long,” added 78-year-old Mrs. van der Vegt, a grandmother and a long-serving member of the group.  “We wish abortion had stopped long ago and that our group was no longer needed.”

In a newsletter dated February 1998, Morgan explained to those who had recently joined the PPL group what was expected of them.

“You joined because you believe that the killing of babies, yet-to-be-born, is wrong and should not be permitted under any circumstances,” he said. “Being Pro-Life means acting, not just believing, and that action has to be persistent and constant.”

“But if you DO ACT, if you GET INVOLVED, then and only then, can you say ‘I’m a Pro-Lifer.’”

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The group has a long history of pro-life political involvement and pro-life events.

The group organized a candle-lit vigil in 1986 attended by 2000 people to protest the opening of a new Health Centre to provide abortions.

“They told us at the time that the new centre was for women’s health, but we knew that ‘health’ was really about bringing more abortion,” said Mrs. van der Vegt.

Other PPL events included participating in Canada’s first Operation Rescue effort with Joan Andrews held in Toronto in October 1988. Some of PPL’s members were arrested by police and detained in prison. Morgan, one of the ones arrested, remembers clearly the events that unfolded that day.

“The philosophy of Operation Rescue was that if we blocked the entrance ways to the abortuary with bodies—just saturated it with bodies—then the pregnant mothers and doctors couldn’t get through. Towards the end of the day, the police came with their paddy wagons and 75 of us were arrested. The clinic remained closed for the day.”

To get the pro-life message out to their hometown community, the PPL sponsored information campaigns, including a 1994 campaign where 40,000 copies of a pro-life newspaper were distributed to Peterborough homes.

The PPL group is best known for its weekly Saturday morning silent prayer vigils at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre, where they witness to the life of the unborn child with signs that read: “Abortion Kills Babies.”

With their stalwart dedication to the pro-life cause, PPL has never missed a Saturday at the Peterborough hospital in the past 25 years, ever since the group received governmental recognition as a corporation in 1986.

“There were some days when we were so cold, you couldn’t talk to one another, your face was frozen,” said Morgan, “We have been there in ‘fair or foul’ weather.”

After so many years of hard work, the group experiences frustration that babies are still killed in their hometown.

“They are killing life in that hospital which is supposed to be for health, and it’s not for health,” said Mrs. van der Vegt.

“The local doctor does abortions on Thursdays, and two other doctors take turns and they come at the end of the month on Saturdays,” she added.

“There are anywhere between 300 to 500 babies killed each year at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre,” said Morgan, explaining how they once received help from their local conservative MP Dean Del Mastro in obtaining information about the number of abortions performed, information that the hospital was at first unwilling to hand over.

While PPL does not know how many babies they have saved by their public witnessing, they realize that the battle they are fighting has spiritual ramifications.

“It’s spiritual warfare,” said Mrs. van der Vegt.

“Sometimes we have to stop, take a deep breath and say, ‘Wow, we’ve done all this over the years, and obviously our timing is not commensurate with God’s timing.’ So, all we can do from here-on-in is do what we can—in other words—fight the battle,” said Morgan.

In fighting what appears, for the time being, to be a losing battle, the group finds consolation that from God’s perspective, it is the “fighting of the battle that counts…not the winning or the losing.”

“God says as much to us: ‘I want you to fight the battle, I don’t necessarily expect you to win. In my good time, things will all ‘drop into place’ and you will understand,’” said Morgan.

As these veterans for the Pro-Life cause begin to show signs of weariness from their long struggle with the culture of death, they are glad and heartened to see young people starting to take up the pro-life banner and continue the fight for the right-to-life of pre-born babies.

“I have hope in the young people. Everywhere you go, there are young people taking over [the pro-life movement]. They are really enthusiastic about it and well educated,” said van der Vegt.

Morgan agrees. “Our greatest hope on the horizon is young people.”

“We’ve done our bit, we’ve done what we can and we’re getting to the point now where nobody really listens to us: we’re the old fogeys, the old brigade. But the young people coming in—and all the youngsters that we got coming to the [Ottawa] March for Life—these will make the changes; they will ‘get it done’ because they are the ones who have the power.”

To become a member of Peterborough Pro-Life or to send a word of congratulations, please contact:

Ali van der Vegt
Ph: (705) 745-3820
E-mail: [email protected]

Join the Peterborough Pro-Life Silent Prayer Vigil every Saturday, 10AM to 11AM.
Peterborough Regional Health Centre
1 Hospital Dr, Peterborough, ON

 

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David Bereit of 40 Days for Life, on the right.
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

All one fight: Why the leader of 40 Days for Life says he may become active in the fight for marriage

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Just eight years ago, 40 Days for Life was founded as a pro-life Christian ministry. This year, it reached 252 cities in 19 countries.

Now, says founder and National Director David Bereit, he's discerning whether to expand his personal activism to marriage.

"The various moral issues we confront in our culture today are all intrinsically connected," Bereit told LifeSiteNews at Saturday's March for Marriage. “When you look at the various factors that lead to the breakdown of nations and civilizations, they are moral factors," Bereit said. "It's the devaluing of human life, it's the abandonment of religious belief and practice, it's immorality -- the increase thereof – and it's the breakdown of the family."

"They're all tied into this moving away from God, and America was founded as a nation with Christian principles and ideals that used to say 'In God We Trust.' And the further we've turned away from that, the more we have fallen,” he said. "I believe that with man, turning the tide in our culture is not possible, but with God, all things are possible."

Bereit stressed that his attendance at the March for Marriage, as well as his ongoing process of discernment, was representative only of his own circumstances -- not those of 40 Days for Life, which remains an abortion-focused ministry.

Bereit did not shy away from questions that are often raised about what President Barack Obama called America's “tragic” history.

"America was built on Judeo-Christians principles,“ he said. “There are still fallen people that make up our churches and our communities."

"The question is, will people of faith and conscience turn back to God and do their very best to align themselves with the principles that formed our nation and made our nation such a great place in history?"

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

The third annual March for Marriage, which was organized by the National Organization for Marriage and exclusively livestreamed by LifeSiteNews, drew thousands of people, mostly minorities, just three days before what is being billed as the definitive U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the issue of same-sex "marriage."  

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‘Persecution plain and simple’:  Franklin Graham fundraises for Oregon bakers after GoFundMe shuts them down

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By Ben Johnson

BOONE, NC, April 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – First, they were fined $135,000 for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual “marriage” ceremony. Then, a rival business owner convinced GoFundMe.com to stop Christian bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein from raising money to pay the fine on the grounds that, since their religious beliefs violate state law, they are common criminals.

Now, one of the nation's most well-known Christian ministers and philanthropists is coming to their aid.

An administrative law judge fined the Oregon bakers, proprietors of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, $135,000 to pay for the emotional suffering of Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer – a lesbian couple who say they feel the Kleins “mentally raped” them.

The Kleins have since closed their Portland-area business and lost substantial income. After hearing of the fine on Friday, Melissa said the amount would financially crush them.

The family opened a GoFundMe page and, within hours, they collected more than $109,000.

Then Lisa Watson, the co-owner of Cupcake Jones in Portland, began lobbying the website to banish the couple's appeal.

“The amount of money they have raised in a matter of a few hours by thousands of anonymous cowards is disgusting,” Watson wrote on Facebook. She added that the website's “terms of service address hate speech, bigotry, criminal activity, and sexism among other things in their campaign.”

GoFundMe then suspended the Kleins' fundraising.

“While a different campaign was recently permitted for a pizzeria in Indiana, no laws were violated and the campaign remained live,” GoFundMe said in a statement. “However, the subjects of the 'Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa' campaign have been formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law concerning discriminatory acts. Accordingly, the campaign has been disabled.”

The day after the announcement Watson, who operates her business with husband Peter Shanky, posted a photo of her 2015 Equality Advocate Award “for outstanding leadership to advanced lived equality for all LGBTQ Oregonians.”

The Kleins hope the website will reconsider. “We have told GoFundMe that the money is simply going to be used to help our family, and there is no legitimate breach of their terms and conditions,” the Kleins wrote on Facebook.

That's when the Reverend Franklin Graham and his ministry Samaritan's Purse stepped in, allowing those who wish to alleviate the couple's suffering to donate on its website.

"The fund was created to help persecuted Christians in the U.S., including Aaron and Melissa Klein,” an employee at Samaritan's Purse told LifeSiteNews today. “It was only activated over the weekend and the organization has not yet announced any numbers. Currently, Samaritan's Purse is focused on the earthquake in Nepal and providing relief supplies to people impacted by the disaster.”

Graham praised the Kleins' steadfastness in the face of legal challenges. “They have taken a stand for the Word of God, and they should not have to stand alone,” the ministry's founder and president Franklin Graham said. “I believe that Christians across our nation will rally around Aaron and Melissa and their five children. Please pray for Aaron and Melissa, and pray for our nation. When our judges are punishing Christians for practicing what they believe, that’s persecution, plain and simple.”

“God bless Reverend Franklin Graham,” AFR Talk radio host Bryan Fischer said today. 

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

The Kleins will still receive the money raised by GoFundMe, in addition to any supplemental funds raised by Graham's international charitable ministry.

Conservative author Dan Calabrese wrote that “Melissa's Sweet Cakes will not have to go into bankruptcy and the family won't personally be ruined. And what a disappointment that must be to the gay mafia, whose agenda is to intimidate all gay marriage opponents into not just silence but compliance, for fear of just such” an outcome.

Christians have risen to the challenge before. Memories Pizza raised more than $840,000 after the Indiana pizzeria was harassed into closing its doors for saying it would cater a same-sex “wedding.”

Calabrese warns that these victories may lead to more intense anti-Christian persecution.

“When put in an untenable position like this, Christians and others who support their right to operate their business as they see fit will come to their aid. So the gay mafia will take it up a notch, attempting to intimidate the fundraising organizations from cooperating with the effort,” he said.

If that fails, “Maybe they can persuade friendly Democrat lawmakers (or terrified Republicans) to legislate them out of business.”

Readers can donate to the Klein family here.

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John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

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Opposition to same-sex ‘marriage’ – a deeper love

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By John-Henry Westen

April 27, 2015 (CNSNews.com) -- Same-sex “marriage” – the legal recognition of same-sex relationships – is one of the most contentious issues in America. Laws, constitutional interpretation, and the future of religious liberty may well rest on what nine justices decide two months from now.

Many observers seem to believe that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of redefining marriage. And while many on all sides of the debate, especially those who are undecided, believe this will bring cultural peace, evidence around the world points in the exact opposite direction.

Rather than settle animosity and ease cultural tensions, the advent of same-sex “marriage” will lead to the repression of religious freedom and determination to root out dissent to the gay rights doctrine. At LifeSiteNews, we have watched this play out for nearly two decades in 17 countries around the world – and America is next.

A prime example is Canada. Same-sex “marriage” passed in 2005. Similar to European countries which have done so, there has been a relentless pursuit of the minds of children against the wishes of their parents. Schools, both public and private, were first mandated by law to have gay-straight alliance clubs under the auspices of anti-bullying. Then, sex-education, teaching the normalcy of homosexual sex, was given to children without parents being permitted to opt their children out of the classes.

We have arrived at this state of affairs because of the silence of Christian pulpits on sexual matters, and the concomitant shouting from every secular pulpit, screen and book. Even the current discussion around same-sex “marriage” in the United States reveals a grave reluctance to speak about the heart of the issue – homosexual sex. Rather, arguments are made about the goodness of natural marriage, about its benefit to children, and its unchangeable character.

From reporting on the subject every day for so many years, we knew that the struggle for same-sex “marriage” has very little to do with marriage. In fact, until just recently, gay activists didn’t even want to be “married” to each other. Most had no interest in the constraints that such a formalized union would entail in terms of exclusive partnership.

However, the leaders among the activists convinced the movement that they must attain marriage as a societal stamp of approval to homosexual behavior. And, frankly, they have largely succeeded.

Today, in many of the nations where same-sex “marriage” is law, opposition to it is seen as akin to racism. It is seen falsely as an animosity against someone for who they are—an unwillingness to recognize the human dignity of a class of persons due to an immutable characteristic.

However, that false perception is due to a purposeful agenda to conflate animosity against homosexual sex acts with animosity against persons who experience same-sex attraction. The ancient Christian teaching to “love the sinner and hate the sin” is an impermissible distinction in the minds of some. It is, however, the key to understanding the majority of the opposition to same-sex “marriage.”

The plain truth of the matter is that opposition to same-sex “marriage” is rooted not in hatred and bigotry, but just the opposite – in love. Like parents who do not allow children to behave dangerously without lovingly correcting them, opponents of same-sex relationships are hoping to save people with same-sex attractions from severe physical, psychological, and spiritual harm.

Just as, out of love and concern for their children’s welfare, parents must correct and discipline, despite the protests they may get in return, any true believer in marriage, natural law and science must lovingly correct their fellow man.

In other nations, the perception that opposition to same-sex “marriage” is based upon bigotry has led to laws that violate religious liberty, parental rights and freedom of speech. This is why those who oppose same-sex “marriage” must present their reasoning as based on love and concern for the welfare of those in homosexual relationships, in addition to concerns for children and society itself. And there is ample evidence on which to base that concern in the numerous studies showing the grave harm of homosexual sex to both body and psyche.

When I’ve spoken of these findings at conferences around the world, some have questioned if the researchers who showed these harms weren’t themselves biased by anti-gay sentiment. And so I’ve taken to carrying with me on my phone the quotes of the late Canadian gay activist Gens Hellquist, whose testimony proves the harms of gay sex better than any study ever could.

Speaking a year after the passage of same-sex “marriage” into law, Hellquist was seeking more healthcare dollars for the LGBT community. "We have one of the poorest health statuses in this country,” he said. “Health issues affecting queer Canadians include lower life expectancy than the average Canadian, suicide, higher rates of substance abuse, depression, inadequate access to care and HIV/AIDS."

"There are all kinds of health issues that are endemic to our community,” he added. “We have higher rates of anal cancer in the gay male community, lesbians have higher rates of breast cancer.”

He concluded: “Now that we can get married everyone assumes that we don't have any issues any more. A lot of the deaths that occur in our community are hidden, we don't see them. Those of us who are working on the front lines see them and I'm tired of watching my community die."

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Pastors and preachers must take up this call to speak the truth in love, for without this approach, the public will be led to believe that those opposed to same-sex “marriage” are indeed haters needing to be stopped with the force of law. Love is the most powerful force in any argument, and gay “marriage” pushers have used it very effectively. As Hilary Clinton tweeted as she fought religious freedom laws in Indiana: “We shouldn't discriminate against ppl bc of who they love #LGBT”

The truth is that those who oppose same-sex “marriage” are showing a deeper love, as any parent does when instilling difficult discipline. We have enough love and concern for those with same-sex attraction to warn them not to engage in behaviors proven to be very harmful. We won’t encourage people to enter into such harmful behaviors by redefining marriage to encourage it, nor will we allow our children to be indoctrinated into regarding it as a healthy and safe alternative lifestyle.

We have failed so far to get this message of love out to the public. I will not be surprised if the Supreme Court approves of same-sex “marriage” – and I will be even less surprised to see a subsequent  crackdown on religious freedom, as already seen in states like California and Colorado.

Pope Benedict XVI predicted it a decade ago. Observing the international trends, the then-Cardinal said “very soon it will not be possible to state that homosexuality, as the Catholic Church teaches, is an objective disorder in the structuring of human existence.”

Reprinted with permission from CNS News

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