Kirsten Andersen

AFL-CIO amends its constitution, pledges to organize for transgendered workers

Kirsten Andersen
Kirsten Andersen

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 10, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – Homosexual activists celebrated a victory Monday after the nation’s largest labor union amended its constitution to affirm its commitment to organizing for so-called “transgender” workers.

In an amendment titled “Welcoming All Workers to Our Movement,” the AFL-CIO added “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the organization’s constitutional objectives and principles. They now state that AFL-CIO’s mission is “To encourage all workers without regard to race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression to share equally in the full benefits of union organization.”

The AFL-CIO’s move echoed those taken by a number of smaller unions which have already promised to advocate for the interests of transgendered workers.  Homosexual activists applaud the trend.

National Center for Transgender Equality executive director Mara Keisling told BuzzFeed she found the AFL-CIO’s amendment “very exciting,” and added, “Labor has really been stepping up, and the AFL-CIO has been stepping up.”

“The labor movement has long been a leader on full inclusion in the workplace,” said Human Rights Campaign Vice President Fred Sainz, in a statement.  “This important addition to the governing document of the largest federation of labor unions is a historic and important step forward to ensuring that every American has an equal shot at employment and equal benefits.”

Many activists hope the amendment will lead to stronger union demands for things like insurance coverage for sex-change operations and hormone therapies, and access to bathrooms and changing facilities that match workers’ preferred, not biological sex.

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A featured post on the AFL-CIO website says, “Transgender patients have unique health care needs, including psychotherapy, hormones and surgeries. While many insurance policies cover trans health care needs, others have ‘transgender exclusions’ and won’t cover anything related to gender transition.”

Andy Bowen, a biological man living full-time as a woman, is a member of the AFL-CIO’s “Pride at Work” homosexual activism group.  He recently told the union, “It’s time to improve health care access for transgender people, and unions, which negotiate their members’ medical benefits, play an important role in this work.”

A separate resolution pledging the organization’s commitment to fighting for coverage for sex-change procedures in all of its contract negotiations was also introduced at this week’s meeting, but failed to move forward “due to technicalities,” according to Donna Cartright, a spokesman for the D.C.-Baltimore chapter of Pride At Work. 

That resolution stated:

“BE IT RESOLVED, that the AFL-CIO removes any and all discriminatory health care exclusions directed toward transgender employees and the employee’s dependents from its health care policy and require tenants in its Washington, DC, headquarters to do the same.

BE IT RESOLVED, that the AFL-CIO advocates for trans-gender inclusive health care for its members and members’ dependents during bargaining negotiations with employers.”

Cartright said the resolution, which has already been adopted by the SEIU, was expected to be reintroduced at a later date.

But Stan Greer, Senior Researcher at the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, told LifeSiteNews that inclusion of transgender advocacy in contract negotiations may present a moral dilemma for dues-paying rank-and-file union members who oppose the lifestyle, especially if their opposition stems from sincerely held religious beliefs. 

Greer said that while most union members, even deeply religious ones, would agree that no one should be barred from joining a union because of their lifestyle choices, neither should union members be forced to pay for advocacy that goes against their religious beliefs. 

Because most union contracts require union membership as a condition of employment, workers who object to transgender advocacy on religious grounds could soon be forced to choose between their morals and their jobs.

The AFL-CIO’s “willingness to embrace the dubious concepts of ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ are bound to offend many unionized workers,” said Greer.  “The implication … is that a person, regardless of the biological facts, is whichever sex he or she says, and the law should respect this subjective judgment.”

Greer pointed out that there is still significant disagreement in the medical community about whether elective surgeries and hormone therapies to create the appearance of a different sex are truly sound medicine.  

He referenced a quote by Dr. Paul McHugh, the former chairman of the psychiatry department at Johns Hopkins University, who responded to ‘gender identity’ theorists by saying, “It is not obvious how [a] patient’s feeling that he is a woman trapped in a man’s body differs from the feeling of a patient with anorexia nervosa that she is obese despite her emaciated, cachectic state.  We don’t do liposuction on anorexics.  Why amputate the genitals of these poor men?  Surely, the fault is in the mind, not the member.”

Said Greer, “AFL-CIO bosses from Richard Trumka on down are free to disagree with Dr. McHugh and the vast majority of unionized workers and other Americans who agree with Dr. McHugh’s perspective … [and] Trumka and company should be free to push for public policies that follow their own view that biological sex and social gender should be disconnected.  But the individual worker who disagrees with this idiosyncratic perspective should be free to get and hold a job without being forced to join or pay dues to an AFL-CIO-affiliated union, or any other union.”

Added Greer, “The increasingly radical and, frankly, bizarre stances taken by Big Labor in recent years underscore the importance of legal protections for the individual right to work.”

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Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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