John Westen

A plea to U.S. Bishops: Please love enough to speak of the dangers of homosexuality

John Westen
John Westen

June 29, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As the same-sex ‘marriage’ debate plays out in the United States, with New York having recently fallen, I can’t help but think that it all feels strangely familiar.  Back in 2003 and 2004 Canada went through these same debates. 

The methods used by homosexual activists in Canada were actually exported to the United States (first to Massachusetts) and have been similarly successful.  However, I cringe to see that the same unsuccessful approach to combating this agenda taken by religious leaders in Canada is being taken by U.S. leaders, with similar results.

To be sure, the efforts of the newly formed U.S. Bishops Conference office for the ‘promotion and defense of marriage’ are commendable. However, they are off target.  The slick and beautiful videos they have produced for the promotion of marriage and family life are truly great.  Thirty years ago they would have made a massive impact in fighting divorce and the contraceptive mentality. 

Today, however, what we need to realize is that in the same-sex ‘marriage’ battle, the fight is not really about marriage.  As it was in Canada, in the debates leading up to the passage of our same-sex ‘marriage’ legislation in 2005, the issue is about societal approval for homosexual acts.

Homosexual activists argue the need for ‘marriage,’ but most have no interest in the constraints that such a formalized union would entail in terms of exclusive partnership.  However, the leaders among the activists have convinced the movement that they must attain marriage as a societal stamp of approval to homosexual behavior. 

For practicing homosexuals, as with all those engaged in aberrant sexual behavior, the conscience speaks uncomfortably.  Many activists in the sexual sphere seek societal approval, since they falsely believe that it will quell the voice of the conscience.  They are not looking for mere tolerance, but outright approval and even to quash all dissent, with coercion if necessary. 

In nations like my own, where speaking out against homosexuality has led to fines and penalties, there is also a growing movement advocating that pro-homosexual education be taught in schools and that parents be prevented from exempting their children from such classes.

The only way to truly win this debate is to raise the long-ignored subject of homosexuality itself: to teach the truth that homosexual acts are perilous to the body, and especially to the soul. To fail to do this would be to fail to address the heart of the matter.

In most people’s minds, arguments about the goodness of (heterosexual) marriage and raising children can be accepted right along with homosexual ‘marriage.’  Arguments that gay “marriage” will be a detriment to society, or that we should not alter traditional definitions, are tangential.  The core issue is the Church’s loving concern for those individuals who are putting their bodies and souls in danger with illicit and dangerous sexual practices, and society’s encouraging such behavior with the title of ‘marriage’.

That was what struck me when I read the New York Times coverage of the passage of the same-sex ‘marriage’ legislation pushed so hard by Catholic Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York. “The Catholic Church, arguably the only institution with the authority and reach to derail same-sex marriage, seemed to shrink from the fight,” it said.

The only answer that will move society away from the acceptance of homosexuality and thus same-sex ‘marriage’ is – caritas in veritate – or love in truth. And it is up to the Church to fearlessly preach this difficult, but beautiful message. It is not love to allow your children to rampantly misbehave without correcting them.  Speaking as a father of seven children, I will admit that it is often easier to turn the other way and purposely fail to notice misbehavior.  But out of love parents must correct and discipline their children, lest they come to harm. 

So too the Church, and especially Her shepherds – the fathers of souls - must feed the flock, must teach the truths however difficult and politically incorrect.  That is true love.

The Vatican has specifically warned against silence on the hard truths of homosexuality.  The man who is now our Pope, while he headed up the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a public document directed to the Bishops of the Catholic Church, stating that silence about the Church’s teachings regarding the spiritual harm of homosexual acts stems from a false charity which is ‘neither caring nor pastoral.’

Therefore I beg you, good priests and bishops and religious leaders of all Christian denominations, to speak out with conviction and love the truths of Christ, especially in these hard areas of human sexuality.  You will be criticized for it, but you must trust that God will see to it that the truth is well received. 

Love demands it and the future of Christianity depends on it.  How can I say the future of Christianity depends on it, since we know that Christ will be with His Church till the end of time? Because in this battle of homosexuality, a time of persecution of the Church is near at hand, and indeed, in many parts has already arrived.

This is not my estimation, but that of the Pope Benedict XVI.  In an address given only 18 days prior to his election to the pontificate, and one day prior to the death of Pope John Paul II, then Cardinal Josef Ratzinger 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.”

Yes, the time may be coming shortly when we are forbidden to state the basic truths of the Church.  Will we then have the courage to proclaim Christ’s truth with the possibility of losing our freedom, or perhaps even shedding our blood? If we choose silence now because of cultural pressures, the loss of human respect and political calculations, how can we imagine that when the penalties are increased to include imprisonment, and possibly even torment and death, we will dare to speak the truth of Christ?

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Lisa Bourne

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

Lisa Bourne
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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