Peter Baklinski

An unlikely story

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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The unlikely story of how the boy who ‘wanted to become a teacher’ came to work for LifeSiteNews

COMBERMERE, Ontario, 19 December, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – “You will come to thank us one day for doing this to you,” my boss said reassuringly, trying to ease the blow from what he had just told me.

Yup, the words of my boss practically slammed me to the ground. In not offering me a contract for the next year, not only was I becoming officially unemployed, but I was actually being told that I would come to “thank” him for it one day.

“Yeah right,” I thought at the time. “I’m going to ‘thank you’ for taking away my ability to provide for my wife and four children, one of whom was born just yesterday? I’m going to ‘thank you’ for practically dashing to the ground my dreams of being a teacher? I’m going to ‘thank-you’ for literally throwing me and my family on the street with no prospect of work?”

I had just finished my first year of teaching at a small private school. It had always been my dream to be a teacher. Having just finished a year of studies in Australia where I was working towards a PhD degree I thought that a teaching job at a small school would be a perfect opportunity to get my ‘feet wet’ in the lifelong teaching career that I eagerly anticipated.

Boy, did I get a little more than my feet wet. But let me back up and tell you a little more of my story.

The truth will set you free

I had wanted to be a teacher since the day I became convinced that truth existed and that people would do better in life if they lived by it. That was in 1996 when I was 16. It was Euclidian geometry that did it for me.

I remember having worked through one of Euclid’s demonstrations on the blackboard and my teacher exclaiming enthusiastically: “Gaze upon this truth, let it soak into your soul. You may not find anything else in life that you know with such certainty.”

Yup, I was sold. If this was what truth was all about, then “lead me to the water,” I thought at the time. If I had been an atheist at the time, I’m sure I’d have started worshiping Mathematics as god, just like the Pythagoreans.

My newly ignited passion for truth led me to Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) in California. TAC is a small liberal arts college where students actually read and discuss the original works of the movers and shakers of western civilization, from Aristotle to Einstein. Students discussed these works in class around a big solid oak table (how awesome is that!). I encountered truths known through science, math, philosophy, and theology. I delighted in the Copernican proofs for the heliocentric nature of our solar system as much as I delighted in Aquinas’ five proofs for the existence of God.

I was intrigued by how the great thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas understood marriage and the family. I even wrote my senior thesis against an idea proposed by Plato in his work The Republic where he organizes his ideal state so that women were to be held in common by all men, men and women were to live openly together, and children were to be raised by the State, not by parents.

Around this time my future spouse Erin and I began to see that secular society was waging a serious war against marriage and family and everything that stemmed from them. We wondered how society had arrived at the point of treating unborn children as expendable commodities that could simply be discarded through abortion.

We married in 2004 (the year we graduated from TAC) and went on to study theology at the International Theological Institute in Austria. The only place I saw all this education leading was to a teaching position at some college or university or working with a diocese in the marriage and family department.

Blind faith

Now, flash forward to my boss telling me on that fateful day that I would be ‘thankful’ he had let me go. Well, I went…quietly and without making a scene. I prayed that God would give me the kind of faith that I needed to walk wherever he wanted me and my family to go. But I felt somewhat abandoned by God.

A wise holy woman told me around this time: “Pete, have a little more faith in God…He has a good plan for you up his sleeve. You just gotta trust him.” Well, I decided to take her words to heart and let ‘God take the wheel’.

Not soon after losing my job, I learned that LifeSiteNews was looking for a full time Canadian journalist. “It’s too bad I’m not a journalist,” I thought. “I’ve written a mountain of papers for school, but journalism is something I know nothing about.” I had been a LifeSiteNews addict for years but I didn’t think I had what it took to do the job.

But someone at LifeSiteNews thought otherwise. This person saw something in me that I did not see in myself and convinced me to apply for the position. I remember being somewhat incredulous about anything panning out. As part of the application process, I was asked to write a few news reports. A little training went a long way and my editors liked what they read. I got the job.

It was exciting to cover breaking reports from the worldwide pro-life front. I began to see how these reports were making a difference. But very often there were ugly things happening in the culture that nobody was giving an opinion about from a pro-life, pro-traditional family perspective. My new boss gave me permission to write editorials to get the missing perspective out there. So, I wrote a number of opinion pieces. One was about nuns on the pill. Another was about the growing number of acronyms that express ‘sexual liberation’ (LGBTTIQQ2SMAPAVMZ). One was about the real war on women. Another was about the connection between the pro-life movement and the fight for traditional marriage.

It’s kinda like teaching

It dawned on me recently that while I had lost my classroom and my students, I had gained a newsroom and a readership. Students who struggled to complete assignments were replaced by readers who eagerly demanded straight facts and the truth without compromise. I realized in a moment of epiphany that my desire to teach was strangely being fulfilled through my work at LifeSiteNews — albeit in a way that I never would have ever conceived. And furthermore, I realized that I absolutely loved doing it.

The other day I was thinking about my former boss who told me that I would ‘thank’ him for letting me go. Darn it all, if he wasn’t right after all. It sure took me a long time to admit it though.

So, to my former boss I say: “Thank you for closing a door in my face so that I would see the real door that God wanted me to walk through. I bear no grudges.” I also thank the holy woman who encouraged me to walk by faith, not by sight, through those dark times. I am sure that if it wasn’t for her, I would’ve looked in all the wrong places for the way forward. I’m also grateful to my wife Erin who never doubted that God had something good in store for our family, as long as we allowed ourselves to become like ‘lilies of the field’. “You were right darling, God had a plan.”

And a big thanks to my bosses at LifeSiteNews for gathering together what I believe is a most inspiring team of people who have dedicated their lives to shining the light of truth in the darkest recesses of our culture. I have been blessed and honored to be part of this amazing pro-life venture.

There you have it folks, the unlikely story of how the boy who dreamed of being a teacher came to work for the most unique news reporting endeavor in the world.

And let me tell you, he wouldn’t change it for anything.

And dear reader, please help LifeSiteNews reach its Christmas fundraising goal. We have such a long way to go to meet our needs. Your donation today puts much needed gasoline in one of the best media-engines of truth out there.

So please, stop whatever you’re doing right now and give the LifeSiteNews media-engine-of-truth a little gasoline donation. Believe me, any help you can give, whether it’s $5,$20, $1,000, or $10,000 dollars, helps keep this work going. I invite you right now, through your support, to join with me and the LSN team in bringing truth back to the media. It is only together that we can make a difference. Yup, I’m talking to YOU.

Join with us now!

Merry Christmas dear readers,

Peter Baklinski
Journalist
LifeSiteNews.com

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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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