Stephanie Gray

A March for the victims — that excludes the victims?

Stephanie Gray
By Stephanie Gray

Note: Stephanie Gray is a co-founder and the executive director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

November 30, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Imagine having a march against drinking and driving and telling survivors of such accidents they weren’t welcome because their disfigured bodies were too disturbing?  Or imagine having a march to ensure equal rights for Blacks, but telling African-Americans they may not participate?  On the contrary, in each case we’d place such victims front and centre.

It’s bewildering, then, that some pro-lifers argue—as several have to me recently—that pro-life gatherings, such as marches, should exclude images of the aborted pre-born.

Historically, marches were effective for campaigns like the Civil Rights Movement because the very people being victimized participated.  By their presence they were able to convey their humanity and equality to others. Often at these events they were attacked by racists, and media would capture photos and convey their inhumane treatment.

What makes pro-life marches different is that the very people being victimized, the pre-born, cannot participate.  Due to their age, the pre-born aren’t capable of holding placards conveying that they are human, the way civil rights activists held signs that said “I am a man.”  Pro-lifers, then, must stand in their stead.  We must tell their stories.  When we gather, we must show the public who we’re gathering for and what we’re gathering against—pictures do that.

Are the images disturbing?  Yes.  But it’s not the aborted children’s fault that their deaths were so gruesome.

Would born children encounter these images?  Likely.  But isn’t it more important that a march against killing save the lives of pre-born children rather than spare the feelings of born children?  And sometimes those bad feelings are exactly what one needs to feel in order to act.

Consider Hannah Taylor.  When she was five years old, she saw a disturbing reality: a homeless man eating out of a garbage can.  People did not complain that young Hannah was victimized by seeing such an injustice. On the contrary, they are inspired by her conviction to help the homeless through her Lady Bug Foundation—something she started when she was eight years old.

Something similar happened to young pro-life activist Lila Rose: “I first saw an image of an abortion when I was nine-years-old in an old book in my home. Being nine-years-old and looking at this ten-week-old child, I remember thinking, ‘How could anyone do this to a baby?’” Because of seeing the victim and the victimization she began to speak out against abortion.

And yet, some pro-lifers claim if pictures of the victims are present, they won’t attend a march.  Their lack of participation in a march is then blamed on the images, with some concluding the pictures are divisive because their presence drives people away.

But any effective social reform movement realizes it does not conform its campaign to the participants, or the public, but rather challenges the participants and the public to conform their lives to truth and justice.  It’s not a movement’s fault that some people refuse to be in the presence of victims.  The movement which stands for truth and justice must not be blamed for the cowardice of those who facilitate the cover up.

Lovers of truth unite.  Lovers of comfort divide.  Things eventually get uncomfortable, and if the idea of comfort reigns supreme, lovers of comfort will leave when comfort does as well.  But the pro-life message isn’t about making born people comfortable.  It’s about enabling pre-born people to keep living. 

As J.C. Ryle once said, “Never let us be guilty of sacrificing any portion of truth on the altar of peace.”  For when we do, it’s not real peace anyways—it’s a perversion of peace.

Pictures prevent society from having perverted peace about abortion, and force a debate into the open so there can be peace in the womb.  Pictures are also the evidence to convict people in a way slogans alone do not.  When we tell the culture to “Defend Life,” but do not give evidence for how the pre-born are lives worthy of defense, the public easily ignores the message.  When we tell the culture “Abortion Kills Children,” but do not give evidence of that reality, the public easily ignores the message. 

And the problem with the public ignoring the message is it’s not we who pay the price.  It’s the babies. 

For over forty years, more than 3 million pre-born children have been legally killed in Canada.  Shouldn’t our expression reflect this tragedy?  If we don’t tell the stories of the aborted pre-born, who will?

Consider how the pro-life movement incorporates the stories of post-abortive women.  It doesn’t merely state, “Abortion Hurts Women,” but rather it proves it with the testimonies of women who have been physically, emotionally, and spiritually wounded by abortion.  Would we ever censor the stories of post-abortive women?  Then why would we censor the stories of post-abortive children?  For if those who have participated in the victimization may have their stories told, all the more should we make room for the ones who are the primary victims.

How do we expect Canadians to include the pre-born as members of our society, if pro-lifers exclude them from our own marches?  How can we expect universities to make room for graphic images, if our own pro-life campaigns will not?  How can we expect society to put lives over feelings, if we ourselves put feelings over lives? 

So imagine a march, where amidst the slogans about life there is signage showing the wonder, dignity, and beauty of the pre-born child.  Imagine a march, where amidst the slogans about killing there is signage showing the dismemberment, decapitation, and disembowelment that is abortion.  Imagine a march, where amidst the slogans about women, there are those courageous souls who share their testimonies of pain and redemption.  That is a message which is holistic.  That is an approach which is evidence-based.  That is a march which will rock the culture.

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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