John Westen

400,000 March for Life in DC with great joy

John Westen
John Westen
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** See also the LifeSiteNews feature March for Life Photos pages** .

WASHINGTON, DC, January 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Following the rally at the National Mall Monday, the 38th annual March for Life commenced, with an estimated 400,000 marchers making their way to the Supreme Court.  The massive crowd, noticeably larger than last year’s record crowd and composed of a majority of youth under age 25, seemed more jubilant than ever in their celebration of life.

Competing chants from one group to another could be heard throughout. “We love babies yes we do, we love babies how about you,” was echoed from side to side along the route.  There was one group in particular, however, who most would concede were the chant champions.  With yellow hats, yellow sweat shirts and yellow balloons reading “LIFE,” 162 youth from St. John Cantius parish in Chicago, Illinois, filled one of the steps of the Senate office building at the top of the hill leading toward the Supreme Court. 

Fr. Jim Isaacson, a priest from the parish, told LifeSiteNews the secret of the group’s success as chant champions ... practice.  Prior even to the 14-hour bus ride to Washington, the group practiced and even composed their own chants.  Adding to their power was that a full third of the group is involved in choirs.  Jumping, chanting, singing, and dancing, this troupe enlivened the hundreds of thousands of passers-by with voices, which Fr. Isaacson admitted may find themselves somewhat strained at next Sunday’s Mass.

Another group of 21 youth traveled from Springfield, Illinois on a 19-hour bus ride, which Stephanie Kayton told LSN was “absolutely worth it.”

The Archdiocese of Omaha was represented by some 350 youth, 325 of whom traveled by bus for 24 hours straight.  Ann-Marie Bowen of Nebraskans United for Life flew down with another 25.  Fr. Cook, the pro-life director for the Archdiocese told LSN that after the march the youth were headed for meetings with their local Congressmen.

Ohio Right to Life boasted of “tens of thousands” of Ohioans at the DC March for Life.  Nearly one tenth of the Ohio delegation consists of students and friends at Franciscan University of Steubenville.  The state pro-life group also noted that “Ohio’s own, John Boehner, United States Speaker of the House, recently stated he would prioritize legislation that would permanently prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion across federal programs.”

Front Royal, Virginia’s Christendom College was out again in full force at the march. Junior Christine Nussio was impressed by the number of pro-lifers who attended.

“I am blown away by the numbers-and some of them come from very far away to spend one day showing the nation where they stand on issues of life,” she said.

The numbers also amazed Sophomore Jacinta Ferri. “It seemed like a larger crowd than last year-it was really exciting,” she said.

A native of Canada, Ferri said that before coming to Christendom, she attended the March for Life in Ottawa where the crowd is not as large. “Being in the larger crowd gets you more pumped-up for the cause,” she said. “It’s really reassuring to see so many people.”

Long after most marchers had dispersed, a group of young people remained across the street from the Supreme Court, heads bowed in solemn prayer.  Their sign “ByznTeens for Life” signified that they were Byzantine Catholics known for their intense and lengthy prayers.  Rachel Pawluszka, 16, one of the ByzanTeens, told LifeSiteNews that the best thing about the March for her was meeting so many others, even those of different religious backgrounds, who all share the love and reverence for life.

Nellie Gray, the leader of the March for Life noted from the stage before the departure of the March that she could not even see the end of the marchers stretched out before her.  At the Rose Dinner after the march Gray noted that it was the largest march in her memory.

See related articles:
* 5 Cardinals, 39 Bishops, 10,000 faithful pack basilica for Vigil for Life Mass
* Coming and going: filling the U.S. national basilica and Metro with pro-life youth
* ‘World’s largest’ student pro-life conference equips, energizes young pro-life vanguard
* Nearly 50% of top colleges’ health plans cover abortion: Students for Life
* Obama pledges abortion support on 38th Roe v. Wade anniversary
* GOP House Leader at March for Life: permanent ban on taxpayer funding of abortion top priority
* Post-abortive mothers share stories of grief, redemption on Supreme Court steps
* Pro-life texting campaign launched at Life Marches
* March for Life Photos - How many were in the march?
* Rep. Michele Bachmann: Life is ‘not a sidebar issue’
* Some March for Life fun facts and a few thoughts on media blackouts
* $600,000 awarded to pro-life heroes at ‘perfect’ Life Prizes ceremony
* Back from Washington

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

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By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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

Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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