Kristen Walker Hatten

5 male celebrities I support, and why

Kristen Walker Hatten
By Kristen Walker Hatten
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December 21, 2011, (LiveAction.org) - Recently I wrote about five male celebrities I boycott for their pro-abortion views. Today, I’ll tell you about five famous men whose careers I can feel good about supporting, because they believe in and profess the sanctity of life.

Keep in mind I may disagree with them on other issues. But because I believe abortion is the ultimate moral litmus test, if they recognize the evil of abortion, I know their moral compass is pointed in the right direction.


5. Mel Gibson

Let’s kick things off with controversy! I want to be clear: there are things about Mel Gibson I do not like. He has made racist comments, and pleaded “no contest” to a domestic abuse charge. But he has also been dragged through the mud in the press, and not always fairly. The validity of the famous taped conversation with his girlfriend has been questioned by forensic experts, and his wife of 26 years claims she never experienced abuse. He has said his “no contest” plea was a way of ending the legal matter before it did more harm to his family, and he has maintained that he never harmed his girlfriend.

Still, Gibson himself admits he is a flawed man, and that’s one of the reasons why I support him. Because despite being a troubled, broken human being with a failed marriage, a failing career, and an ongoing legal battle with the girlfriend who bore his child, Gibson has never wavered on the issue of life.

In a Barbara Walters interview in 1990, at the height of his fame, Gibson said:

One can’t decide for oneself who comes into this world and who doesn’t. That decision doesn’t belong to us.

Later, he vocally spoke out against life destroying embryonic stem cell research. He said this on a television commercial:

In 23 years embryonic stem cell research has not produced a single human cure. All it has yielded is tumors, rejection, and mutations. See bad science doesn’t attract venture capital. So why should the taxpayers be bled dry? This is Mel Gibson and I’m voting NO on Prop 71. Creating life simply to destroy it is wrong.

In 2010, cast and crew members of the film The Hangover II objected to Gibson’s involvement in the film, so the producers rescinded his offer. The same cast and crew did not object — at least not loudly enough to make a difference — to the involvement of Mike Tyson in the film’s prequel. Mel Gibson has used strong, offensive words and pleaded “no contest” to threatening his girlfriend. Mike Tyson was convicted of and served time in prison for rape. It’s obvious the problem wasn’t that Gibson did something wrong, but the political and religious flavor of his opinions and offenses. Apparently, according to the Hollywood elite, it is more morally offensive to call someone non-politically-correct names than to rape a woman.

I support Mel Gibson not because I agree with everything he’s ever done, but because on the most important issue there is — whether or not it should be legal to kill innocent human beings, namely unborn babies — he has it figured out. That lets me know there is a good heart inside him. Maybe flawed, but good. And it lets me know that there is hope for him. So I choose to support him and his career. Because of the voice he has provided for the voiceless, I think he deserves it.

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4. Jack Nicholson

Here’s another guy with whom I probably don’t agree on every issue. A living legend in the cinema, Nicholson’s politics are full of contradictions. He called Sean Penn “the greatest living American,” but he refused to criticize President Bush, saying, “I support every president.” He calls himself a “lifelong Irish Democrat” and once spoke fondly of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

Nicholson’s opinions on abortion were formed by personal experience. He was a grown man when he discovered the woman he thought was his sister was actually his mother, and the woman he knew as his mother was his grandmother. His mother became pregnant as a teenager and was encouraged to have an abortion, even back in 1937, but she chose life for her son. The revelation that his sister was his mom was understandably difficult for Nicholson, and had a profound affect on him. For one, it made him pro-life:

I’m very contra my constituency in terms of abortion because I’m positively against it. I don’t have the right to any other view. My only emotion is gratitude, literally, for my life.

This short statement is full of humility, wisdom, and courage. Note that he says, “I don’t have the right to any other view.” He has understood, thanks to the knowledge that his own life almost never happened, that life is a gift for which we should all feel gratitude. His willingness to vocally oppose abortion in the face of Hollywood and his own political party is inspiring and should be encouraged.

3. Ben Stein

You may not recognize the name right away, but you’d know the voice. The familiar drone of “Bueller…. Bueller…” introduced him to Generation X, but before that he was a speechwriter for Nixon and Ford, Columbia honors graduate, and valedictorian of Yale Law School. Later he went on to have his own show on Comedy Central, “Win Ben Stein’s Money,” and to teach law, appear in films, and speak and write on various issues, including the sanctity of life. Here he is in 2009:

Every baby that is conceived has the right to be; that is a basic. And I will tell you something that I never felt before in my heart until this year: I feel strongly that the tide is turning in our favor… one of the best, most important ways to give your life meaning and to live a decent life is to value life when it’s old, when it’s infirm, when it’s a different skin color, when it’s a different race, when it’s a different sex, when it’s a different religion, whether it’s born or unborn – and if you value life when it’s unborn, you set a standard for valuing life and for giving dignity to life that will stick with you and the society forever.

In 2008, Stein was involved in a controversial documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, that accused members of the U.S. scientific and academic elite of blind allegiance to Darwinism and unscientific rejection of theories of Intelligent Design which have been put forward by respected scientists such as those at the Discovery Institute.

The documentary sought to show how a materialistic view of the world — in the philosophical sense — leads to treating human beings as expendable. Denying the innate worth of human life led to Nazi eugenics and concentration camps. According to Stein, only in recognizing the God-given worth of every human being, born and pre-born, can we guarantee each other liberty and be truly free.

Ben Stein is a remarkable and gifted man and an unapologetic warrior for life. I’m proud to support him however I can.

2. James Caviezel

Caviezel became the favorite actor of just about every Christian in the world in 2006 when he played Jesus of Nazareth in Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ. Like Gibson a Traditionalist Catholic, Caviezel told Catholic Digest he was challenged by a pro-choice colleague to act with the courage of his pro-life convictions and adopt a child with special needs. So in 2009, Caviezel and his wife adopted their second child, a five-year-old Chinese girl with a brain tumor. Caviezel said it didn’t change the colleague’s mind, but it did strengthen his own convictions that every life is precious.

I was listening to Johnny Mathis the other day and I said, “What an amazing voice.” I have yet to hear another person sound like Johnny Mathis… Look, I am for helping women. I just don’t see abortion as helping women. And I don’t love my career that much to say, “I’m going to remain silent on this.” I’m defending every single baby who has never been born. And every voice that would have been unique like Johnny Mathis’. How do we know that we didn’t kill the very child who could have created a particular type of medicine that saves other lives?

According to LifeSite News, he has “compared the injustice of abortion to the mistreatment of women in some Arab countries.” One of his recent films, The Stoning of Soraya M., is based on the true story of an Iranian woman stoned to death for adultery.

For living his convictions, in his art and his life, I proudly see every movie featuring James Caviezel, even if I don’t particularly want to see the movie.

1. Eduardo Verastegui

You may not have heard of him yet, but give him a break; he’s had to go it alone. This Mexican actor refused to accept roles that conflicted with his strong Christian, pro-life beliefs. He was told he would never work, so he decided to create his own work. Along with Alejandro Monteverde and others, he founded the production company Metanoia, and their first film, Bella, took the world by storm in 2006.

Winning the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival in 2007, Bella was a beautiful film with a pro-life message of subtlety and spirit that surprised the world with its success. With a budget of only $3 million, it made about $40 million worldwide and put Metanoia on the map.

In January of this year, Verastegui pledged to build the largest pro-life women’s clinic in the U.S. His organization, Mantle of Guadalupe, raises funds for a pro-life pregnancy resource center of the same name in east Los Angeles, just miles from ten abortion clinics. A devout Catholic, he also promised, “I will not use my talents except to elevate my Christian, pro-life and Hispanic values.”

This year, Verastegui launched a website, IAmViable.com, which celebrates the lives and unique abilities of people born disabled. His production company Metanoia is currently working on several important projects with uplifting messages that affirm the dignity of all human life.

It may be safe to say that even in the few short years of his career, no actor has done more to promote the cause of the unborn than Eduardo Verastegui and his Metanoia Films. I will make it a point to support their work.

We shouldn’t let the trends or prejudices of celebrity affect our lives. None of us should make any decisions based on what the Kardashians do. But every time we turn on the TV or go see a movie we choose to support the actors and artists who created it. What we spend money on makes a powerful statement. I make sure to further, in any way I can, the careers of these men, because I want them to keep working and keep speaking out for life.

Who do you choose to support, and why?

Reprinted with the generous permission of Live Action.

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Lisa Bourne

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Archbishop Chaput: Obama’s White House ‘may be the least friendly to religious concerns in our history’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

PHILADELPHIA, PA, April 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Philadelphia’s archbishop told a group of young men preparing for the Catholic priesthood that under the Obama administration hostility toward religion has reached an unprecedented level.

“The current White House may be the least friendly to religious concerns in our history,” Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap, stated in an address at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood.

With religious liberty at the top of news headlines, the archbishop spoke to the seminarians March 17 in observance of the 50th anniversary of the close of Vatican II and its Declaration on Religious Liberty – Dignitatis Humanae. He talked about the decline of religious practice in the U.S. and the various ways religious liberties are being eroded in the country, forewarning of what’s to come with the nation on its current path.

“We’ll see more of the same in the future,” Archbishop Chaput said. “Pressure in favor of things like gay rights, contraception and abortion services, and against public religious witness.”

“We’ll see it in the courts and in so-called ‘anti-discrimination’ laws,” he continued. “We’ll see it in ‘anti-bullying’ policies that turn public schools into indoctrination centers on matters of human sexuality; centers that teach that there’s no permanent truth involved in words like ‘male’ and ‘female.’”

Archbishop Chaput detailed religious persecution across the globe currently and in the past, before delving into the present climate in America.

“We’ll see it in restrictions on public funding, revocation of tax exemptions and expanding government regulations,” the archbishop stated. “We too easily forget that every good service the government provides comes with a growth in its regulatory power. And that power can be used in ways nobody imagined in the past.”

Archbishop Chaput expressed how certain terms so prevalent in American culture today - justice, rights, freedom, and dignity - are used with conflicting meanings, rendering public discourse futile in addressing truth.

“Our most important debates come down to who can use the best words in the best way to get power,” he said. “Words like ‘justice’ have emotional throw-weight, so people use them as weapons.”

Reports of Archbishop Chaput’s remarks come as the state of Indiana and its governor face tremendous hostility for its recently adopted religious freedom law.

Republican Gov. Mike Pence has spent the last few days retreating after a national barrage of attacks on the law, which mirrors that of 19 other states and was shaped from 1993 federal legislation passed by a Democrat Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton.

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Opponents claim the law amounts to state-sponsored discrimination, despite the fact its purpose is to protect religious liberty against government overreach.

In speaking to the seminarians from his archdiocese, Archbishop Chaput said we are lying to ourselves if we think we can keep our freedoms without revering the biblical vision--the uniquely Jewish and Christian vision--of who and what man is.

“Human dignity has only one source. And only one guarantee,” he said. “We’re made in the image and likeness of God. And if there is no God, then human dignity is just elegant words.”

The archbishop stressed for the young men that the faithful must live out religious liberty by practicing faith in their lives and by defending it.

“We need to remember two simple facts,” Archbishop Chaput said. “In practice, no law and no constitution can protect religious freedom unless people actually believe and live their faith – not just at home or in church, but in their public lives.” 

“But it’s also true that no one can finally take our freedom unless we give it away,” he said.

The archbishop closed by cautioning against becoming a cynic, saying there’s too much beauty in the world to lose hope.

“In the end,” he said, “there’s too much evidence that God loves us, with a passion that is totally unreasonable and completely redemptive, to ever stop trusting in God’s purpose for the world, and for our lives.”

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Rachel Lu

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Dissent trumps Faith in new ‘Catholic’ LGBT film

Rachel Lu
By Rachel Lu

April 1, 2015 (CrisisMagazine.com) -- “Human beings procreate male-female, but human sexuality isn’t just about that. It’s about so much more, which is self-evident.”

So says Fr. Patrick Conroy, chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives, at the outset of a recently released short film promoting the normalization of LGBT lifestyles within the Catholic Church.

The film is entitled “Owning Our Faith,” which is richly ironic in ways that the director, Michael Tomae, surely did not intend. Except for Catholic writer Eve Tushnet (a complicated case, whose work has been discussed on Crisis in the past), all the featured participants clearly and openly dissent from Catholic teachings on sexuality. They are indeed interested in “owning” their faith. But the ownership they seek is of a distinctly proprietary nature.

There’s little point in trying to refute the film’s arguments as such, because there really are none. If the word “Catholic” were omitted from the audio track, almost nothing would suggest to a listener that the content of the film had anything to do with the Catholic tradition. There is no serious discussion of theology or doctrine. The quote from Fr. Conroy above is the closest it ever comes to “engaging” the Church’s teaching on sexual ethics. It’s clear throughout that the individuals featured are not interested in learning what their faith might have to teach them. As they see it, they are the teachers, appointed to remake the Church in their own image.

Thus we see Fr. Conroy lamenting that gay and lesbian Catholics cannot be “fully participating in the sacramental life of our Church.” In case anyone is unclear as to what he means (because of course, experiences of same-sex attraction do not exclude anyone from full participation in the Church’s sacramental life), this is juxtaposed against “married couple” Matt and Rick Vidal discussing why they choose to remain “faithful Catholics,” despite criticism from their LGBT friends. “We are the Church,” declares Rick, “and if we leave it, if we abandon the Church, then it’s never going to change, so we have to continue living here, being an example, and encouraging other people to be that example, because that’s what’s going to change the Church.”

Is there anything these men like about Catholicism as it is? Any reason not to seek out one of the (numerous) other communities and churches that would be happy to affirm them in whatever sexual lifestyle they might choose? They don’t say, and neither do any of the other featured speakers. Here and elsewhere, we are left with the distinct impression that most of them remain in Catholic communities primarily as a favor to the rest of us, so that we can benefit from their gifts and unique insight. A review of the film at National Catholic Reporter stated that, “Not every viewer will agree with every opinion expressed in ‘Owning Our Faith,’ but only the most rigid of believers would question the love these Catholics have for their church.” At the risk of joining the ranks of the rigid, I do indeed feel moved to ask: what do these Catholics love about their church? They don’t tell us. We only hear about what needs to change.

It’s difficult to argue with a film that isn’t working on the level of rational argument. Nevertheless, it’s worth responding to the general thrust and ethos of the film with three important points.

The first relates to the claim, made on the film’s website and in other promotional materials, that productions of this sort are created as part of an effort to “promote open dialogue” about same-sex attraction and related issues. This is exactly the opposite of their intent, and it’s important to be clear on this point. Propagandistic videos of this sort are intended to bypass, or even to shut down, any real or serious discussion of the moral dimensions of same-sex attraction.

In a dialogue, morally relevant issues are stated clearly so that they can be analyzed and considered. What we have here is a long string of emotional appeals. “My gender transition was immensely spiritual to me,” says Mateo Williamson, who self-identifies as a transgendered man. “Sexuality is how we express our inner soul, our inner energy,” enthuses Mike Roper who self-identifies as gay. In a particularly shameful piece of emotional blackmail, grandmother Nana Fotsch urges parents of same-sex attracted Catholics to accept their children’s declared sexual identity and related lifestyle choices or “you’re going to lose them.” (Don’t all of Christianity’s hard teachings have the potential to alienate us from loved ones? Shall we just jettison the whole Catechism right now? Our Lord has some rather stern words about those who prioritize family relationships above the truths of the Gospel.)

Though there’s nothing Catholic about its message, Owning Our Faith pursues a strategy that is entirely consonant with a larger (and thus far, remarkably successful) progressive project. Don’t try to win the argument about sexuality and marriage. Play for sympathy. Appeal to emotion. People today are so thoroughly confused about sex and marriage that they have few defenses against an onslaught of politically loaded sentimentalism. And you can’t lose an argument that you never have.

This leads us to the second important point. Uncomfortable as it may sometimes be, loving people just doesn’t entail approving everything they do. Neither should we accept anyone “exactly as he is,” because of course all of us are sinful, fallen and in need of transformation by grace.

This is not a message that these “owners of faith” want to hear. Katie Chiarantona, one of the film’s representative “straight” contributors, sums up the film’s prevailing view even more neatly by declaring that she cares enormously about the place of homosexuals in the Church because she has many LGBT friends and, “it is unconscionable and unthinkable for me to support an institution that doesn’t celebrate them and encourage them to live fully as who they are.”

Who among us can really say with any confidence that we know who our friends (or we ourselves) really are? This is a dangerous conceit. None of us here below have yet realized our perfected state. Most of us, I expect, still have a significant way to go. But progression towards supernatural fulfillment is not possible if we begin by issuing ultimatums to God about the conditions under which we will accept divine grace.

Such an effort brings to mind the parable of the wedding banquet, in which a king invites all and sundry (including the poor and commoners) to his son’s wedding, but ends up evicting one guest owing to a lack of appropriate wedding attire. Quite obviously, the king in the story is not a philistine when it comes to standing on ceremony; he’s just ushered the local riff-raff into the most formal of state affairs. Nevertheless, the guest who refuses to dress properly is forcibly removed. Clearly there is a lesson about the importance of accepting grace on God’s terms, and not our own. All of us are welcome at the Lord’s table, but we may not simply come as we are. Being Christian means looking for faith to change us, not the other way around.

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This leads to the final point. While there is some space for discussing the appropriate pastoral response to deep-seated same-sex attraction, the Church’s broader position on same-sex attraction is perfectly clear. It is intrinsically disordered, and homoerotic relationships are immoral. There is no reason to think that this teaching can, should, or ever will change. Quite the contrary, once one understands the Catholic position on sexuality, it becomes clear that it cannot possibly be tweaked in such a way as to allow disgruntled LGBT activists the affirmation they seek.

Fr. Conroy’s position, as stated in the opening quote, is a straw man. Of course no reasonable person supposes that sexuality is “only about” procreation, if by that we mean that sex should be viewed in a coldly clinical light as a utilitarian means to achieving pregnancy. Clearly, erotic love involves far more than that, and how could it not, given the magnitude of what procreation really is? To even begin to do justice to that tremendous good (the begetting of immortal souls and perpetuation of the human race) erotic love must be a noteworthy thing indeed.

However, the Church has consistently maintained that erotic love, at least among mere humans, must be ordered towards procreation. Every effort to slice and dice the relevant pieces of the conjugal package into more-palatable portions (by sanctioning sex without marriage or marriage without permanence or erotic relationships of multiple sorts that are intrinsically closed to life) has been rejected by the Church, and for good reason. Embracing the life-giving nature of sex is the key that enables Catholics to articulate a noble, elevated and meaningful portrait of erotic love, which makes sex into something more than a tangled mash-up of bodies and emotions.

The conversation that dissenting LGBT Catholics (and their “straight allies”) want to have is already over. On some level they know this, which is why they seek sympathy instead of engagement. But there is some good news. For those who really do love their Church, full participation in its sacramental life is always available. They need do only what all Catholics are expected to do: stop trying to fix our faith, and pray instead for it to fix us.

Reprinted with permission from CrisisMagazine.

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During his political days, Andy and his wife Angela with George and Laura Bush
Andy Parrish

On the fast track to political stardom, recent LSN hire gets more than he bargained for…

Andy Parrish
By Andy Parrish
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Andy Parrish

I’ve been a Chief of Staff to Rep. Michele Bachmann, I’ve managed multiple Congressional, Senatorial and Ballot Initiatives, some would say I’ve even ‘made’ members of Congress.

I’ve been a Senior Political Advisor to a Presidential candidate and I’ve sat across from President George W. Bush and advised him on political matters.  

I did most of that by the time I was thirty-three. I was on the fast track and no one was going to stop me.

Well, Jesus had other plans for me.

Even though I was on the fast track to the top it came at a significant price. I was putting me first and my family second.  

That’s not what Angela had signed up for when we got married and it’s certainly not right for my children. Nor is it the way God designed marriage.

After suffering a few defeats, I made the decision I didn’t want to be in politics anymore. But it was all I knew how to do so I started my own business and Angela kept encouraging me to seek out contracts in areas that I was most passionate about.

I was looking for contracts and stumbled upon an opportunity at LifeSiteNews.com that I never would have expected. I’ve been passionate about the life issue since I was three years old. My first memory in life was outside of a Planned Parenthood abortuary.

Providentially, a few weeks later I was on board. I thought it would be a simple job, you know one of those that you didn’t have to invest much into.  

I was wrong.  Dead wrong.  

It only took a few days for me to realize that this isn’t a job at all: this is a mission.

What amazed me most is these people just don’t talk the talk. Every one of them walks the walk, and they all put their faith and families above anything else.

Since starting work at LifeSite, I have followed the example of my co-workers and I’ve learned to show my family how much I love them by putting them first again.  

At LSN we start everyday and most every meeting with either a devotion or prayer (of course it’s voluntary).  We pray for you the readers of LSN, we pray for our supporters, we pray for each other and we pray for the success of LSN.

I’ve also found that LSN isn’t about any one person, it’s about a mission and it is larger then anyone who works here. We all trust that Jesus will continue to make LSN successful and will continue to be a blessing to our families and to you.  

LSN has given me so much.  They’ve given me my priorities back, they’ve given me more than I can ever give them and I am just one story.

I ask that you continue to pray and support the mission of LSN. We are changing hearts and minds with the truth and we are changing lives. As we end our Spring campaign, I hope you will consider clicking one of the donate buttons on our site to help us reach our goal.

 

Andy Parrish, Public Relations and Media Specialist for LifeSiteNews

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