Jean McCarthy

47 hours with a prince

Jean McCarthy
By Jean McCarthy
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July 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - “Your husband isn’t with you?” The doctor looked concerned.  Hannah Boland had decided to go alone for her follow-up appointment.

Only a short while before, a pregnancy had ended in a miscarriage. But this pregnancy was different. They were out of the danger zone. The baby was already twenty weeks gestation. Alison and Harry, Hannah’s two toddlers, aged three and two respectively, were going to have another sibling.

“I like having the husband or partner present in these sorts of situations. We detected a problem with your baby’s scan,” the doctor continued. “There seems to be a problem with his brain.”

An information sheet was pushed in front of Hannah. 

The baby’s brain had not developed, the doctor explained. The condition could not be altered. It was unlikely he would be born alive. If he survived birth, he would have a few, short, painful moments to live. 

“I was in total shock,” Hannah told LifeSiteNews, “This sort of thing happens to other people.” 

Hannah and her husband, Michael, both devout Christians, raise their family in a semi-rural area outside Sydney, Australia. Michael is the sole breadwinner, working as a mechanic who specializes in elevators.  Hannah is a stay-at-home mom, who was taking care of their two toddlers at the time of the diagnosis. 

This diagnosis put her faith to the test. 

The couple’s main struggle was how to cope with the uncertainties that lay ahead. But Hannah says the Bible gave them hope.  She clung to the passage, “He will not tempt you beyond your strength.”

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Abortion was never an option for the Bolands.  “With our first child, we went through those questions because they can do prenatal testing.”  Those tests were “a waste of time,” she said. “We knew that that was not something God would want us to do…Who are we to say that that person is not worthy to live?” 

Almost every doctor they met recommended an abortion. Hannah says one doctor said at a consultation, “Tell me why I am here?  I don’t even know why I am here. There is no hope for your baby.  No.  None.  There is a 99.9 per cent chance of your baby dying right after he is born.  It is likely that he will just gurgle a little and then die.  I won’t even be present at his birth; there is no point.”

The doctors also thought there was no point in giving the baby oxygen in the event that he lived after birth.  One doctor suggested simply letting the baby starve.

Prayers and tears were all the couple was left with.  They loved their son and wanted what was best for him.  They had to decide on their own what that would mean. 

In the end they decided to feed, love and serve him.  The one real struggle was resuscitation.  Was it in his best interest to bring him back? Their final decision: “We would not do anything intentionally to end Stephen’s life.”

The birth took three days.  When Stephen was born, “he stunned the theater staff with his loud, healthy cry.  It was a far cry from the gurgling, dying cry they had expected to see,” Hannah recounted in a book she later published about her son. 

Their son looked healthy and beautiful.  Tears rolled down Michael’s cheek and family members trickled in and out to meet and cuddle the new baby.  Stephen’s brother and sister were excited to meet him, but too young to fully process what was going on.  They only understood that he was very sick.

Hours later, Stephen began to fuss, a signal that it was feeding time.  The nurses inserted a feeding tube through Stephen’s nose.  It seemed to nourish and settle him. 

“He was feeding.  He was well.  I was going to be able to bring him home and take care of him!” Hannah wrote. 

However, the initial signs were misleading.  Stephen began spitting up his food and it became apparent that he was not assimilating any nutrition.  It was only a matter of time. 

Hannah recounts being tired and frazzled, not knowing how to handle a child that was slipping away.  Her husband showed her how.  He gently took his son and said, “Well, mate, you’re still here for a reason.  And as long as you are still here, I am going to serve you as best I can.” He cradled him and swabbed his dry lips. 

It was a time to be completely selfless, which Hannah admits was difficult especially after the long labor.  She is ashamed to recount, “Here was my son dying, suffering, and once again all I could think about was how it was hard on me.”

During short intervals Stephen stopped breathing, but would revive again and again.  After several hours of cradling Stephen, Michael turned to his wife. Their son was gone.  He slipped away in the arms of his father, close to his mother.  He had arrived at his final destination.  In some ways, their journey had only just begun. 

This month marks the one-year anniversary of Stephen’s birth.  Hannah has written an account of his life, 47 Hours with a Prince, and is training to be a Christian Counselor. 

“I want to help people in the way I have been helped,” she says, explaining that a Christian Counselor helped her though the many months of grieving that followed the death of Stephen.  She hopes to help those with emotional illness, noting, “the emotional side of us is just as prone to illness as any part of us.”

There are many messages she wants to give, and one is about acceptance. “We have to look at things through God’s eyes or you are going to make decisions that you are going to regret.”

As for the book, it has met with success in Hannah’s mind.  “I have non-Christian friends coming away saying they will give deep consideration to it.”

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for your support. 

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