Ben Johnson

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New Homeland Security lumps anti-abortion groups in with terrorists

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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WASHINGTON, D,C, July 5, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) –  Two years after incensing pro-life conservatives and believers in limited government, the Department of Homeland Security has funded another report fingering anti-abortion groups, “fundamentalists,” and those “suspicious of centralized federal authority” as potential sources of terrorism.

The report, which seeks to analyze the regions of the U.S. most susceptible to terrorist attack, attributes the greatest share of violence over the last 40 years to “single issue” organizations, mentioning “anti-abortion” groups as the first of only four examples: “anti-abortion, anti-Catholic, anti-nuclear, anti-Castro.”

Brian Clowes, Director of Research for Human Life International was incensed with the report. “They are cherry picking,” he told LifeSiteNews.  “They put in the anti-nukes as a sop when they’re really after the pro-lifers,” Clowes added. “What’s amazing is that unions are not mentioned at all in the report, when they’ve likely been responsible for more terrorist acts than all the listed single issue group examples combined.”

“Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970 to 2008,” written by Gary LaFree and Bianca Bersani, concluded that single issue groups had perpetrated more atrocities over a longer period of time than “extreme left-wing,” “extreme right-wing,” “religious,” or “ethno-nationalist” terrorists.

“The most recent decade has been dominated by single issue attacks,” they wrote.

Aside from two references to “anti-abortion” protesters, other potential malefactors include conservatives, fundamentalists, marxists, and nationalist groups.

Possible terrorists aligned with the “extreme right-wing” are described as “nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation), anti-global, suspicious of centralized federal authority, reverent of individual liberty, and believe in conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty.”

Its account of religious terrorists – a category broad enough to include Gary North with Osama bin Laden – warns against those who “seek to smite the purported enemies of God and other evildoers, impose strict religious tenets or laws on society (fundamentalists),” or “forcibly insert religion into the political sphere (e.g., those who seek to politicize religion, such as Christian Reconstructionists and Islamists).” 

Beneath the seal of the DHS, the report states it was compiled to “aid the intelligence and law enforcement communities in identifying potential terrorist threats and support policymakers in developing prevention efforts.”

LeFree and Bersani drafted the paper for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland, which received an initial $12 million grant from DHS to carry out research on terrorism.

The researchers claim to have found zero religiously motivated terrorist attacks during the 1990s, a tally that appears to overlook the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, conducted by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed’s nephew.

Their assessment, published in late January, continues the Obama administration’s trend of downplaying Islamic extremism while emphasizing an alleged conservative, Christian, pro-life, and pro-marriage “terrorist threat.”

An April 2009 DHS report entitled “Rightwing [sic.] Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” identified “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration” and opposition to same-sex “marriage” as “the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.” The DHS later pulled the report.

Yet DHS and FBI agents subsequently attended a terrorism training seminar on alleged pro-life terrorism, hosted by Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, and the Feminist Majority Foundation. After equating free speech with violence, organizers distributed a resource guide listing three pages of purportedly extremist websites such as Priests for Life, the American Center for Law and Justice, and the Christian Broadcasting Network.

The same ideological assumptions extended to the previous Democratic administration. The Clinton-era Violence Against Abortion Providers Conspiracy (VAAPCON) program, which ran from 1994-96, compiled a vast database of information on pro-life activists as diverse as the late John Cardinal O’Connor of New York, Concerned Women for America, and Feminists for Life, assuming the right to life movement concealed a secret plan to murder abortionists. No such plot was uncovered.

Constitutional expert John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute has voiced concern the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) “would allow the military to show up at your door if you’re a ‘potential terrorist,’ and put you in military detention.”

The START study claims that during 40-year window it examined, single issue groups struck the greatest number of locations, 185 counties. Religious terrorism was “much less prevalent,” affecting only 26 counties.

LaFree concluded that “language diversity,” associated with polyglot regions, “evidences a strong and significant positive relationship with terrorist attacks and ordinary crime.” Comparing the variables for politically based terror with crime, they conclude “our research…does suggest that ethnic heterogeneity is significantly associated with the counties where terrorists attack.” Conversely, “residentially stable counties and those with a higher proportion of non-Hispanic white residents are less likely to experience both terrorist attacks and ordinary crime.”

The analysts hope to do further research into which foreign languages terrorists might tend to speak.

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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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