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Archbishop to Pelosi, critics: No, I won’t drop March for Marriage

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By Ben Johnson
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San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone speaks to the U.S. Bishops at their fall plenary assembly in Baltimore on Nov. 11, 2013.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has responded that, despite criticism from political leaders in his home state, he will attend the March for Marriage this week, because his position requires him to act as a defender of the Catholic faith.

In a letter released today, Cordileone wrote that he is required “as a bishop, to proclaim the truth—the whole truth—about the human person and God’s will for our flourishing ... especially the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife,” Cordileone wrote. “That is what I will be doing on June 19th.”

Political figures from Nancy Pelosi to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom had written to Cordileone, asking him not to take part in the second annual march in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

Pelosi, who supports marriage redefinition, called the march “venom masquerading as virtue.”

"We share our love of the Catholic faith and our city of San Francisco," she wrote to her archbishop. But she said some of the event's participants show “hate and disdain” for homosexuals.

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League accused Pelosi of selective outrage. “When gays go naked in the streets of San Francisco, and mock Catholicism in patently obscene ways, Pelosi is never offended. What offends her is her archbishop's public defense of the Church's teachings on marriage,” he said.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom signed a separate letter with numerous homosexual activists asking that he “reconsider [his] participation and join us in seeking to promote reconciliation rather than division and hatred.”

They criticized the National Organization for Marriage and added that “the Family Research Council, which is co-sponsoring the event, has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

Among those who signed Lee and Newsom's letter is Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, an openly dissenting Catholic group condemned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith when it was led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Other prominent signatories include Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun magazine and Harry Knox, a defrocked Methodist minister whom President Obama named to his Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2009. Knox now leads the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

Dr. Christine Mugridge, head of the Archdiocese of San Francisco's department of communications and outreach, told LifeSiteNews.com that the politicians had allowed ideology to blind them to an archbishop's mission. “They are forgetting the fact that he has an obligation to teach the faith,” she said. “In the public arena, they are not responsible for every speaker’s opinion at a public meeting.”

“It isn’t his personal opinion; it is the teaching of the Church,” she said.

Both letters quoted an off-the-cuff remark by Pope Francis, “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?" The statement has been used to confuse the faithful and public at large about the Church's stance on homosexuality – confusion Archbishop Cordileone aims to dispel. 

“The Holy Father is being misquoted repeatedly to defend acceptance of the gay lifestyle,” Dr. Mugridge told LifeSiteNews. “The Pope has said he is a son of the Church and that he does not defend the gay lifestyle and opposed lobbyists for that lifestyle.”

“His 'who am I to judge?' quote is now being used to condone the active homosexual lifestyle, which is in complete contradiction to our Catholic faith,” she said.

In his response letter released today, Cordileone, who chairs the USCCB's Subcommittee on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, cited words of Pope Francis that have attracted less media attention: “We must reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family with a father and mother.”

That view, he said, is not “anti-LGBT” but simply pro-marriage.

He noted much of his correspondents' criticism of NOM and FRC was “based on misinterpretation or is simply factually incorrect.”

“There is plenty of offensive rhetoric which flows in the opposite direction,” he noted – and not merely rhetoric. “Simply for taking a stand for marriage as it has been understood in every human society for millennia, people have lost their jobs, lost their livelihoods, and have suffered other types of retribution, including physical violence ... such as, most notably, the attempted gunning down of those who work in the offices of the Family Research Council.”

He implored his left-leaning political correspondents to get to know him and other defenders of marriage as people. “Please do not make judgments based on stereotypes, media images, and comments taken out of context,” he said. “Rather, get to know us first as fellow human beings.”

“I myself am willing to meet personally with any of you not only to dialogue, but simply so that we can get to know each other. It is the personal encounter that changes the vision of the other and softens the heart. In the end, love is the answer, and this can happen even between people with such deep disagreements. That may sound fanciful and far-fetched, but it is true, it is possible,” he continued. “I know it is possible, I know this from personal experience. When we come together seeking to understand the other with good will, miracles can happen.”

“When all is said and done, then, there is only one thing that I would ask of you more than anything else,” he said, “before you judge us, get to know us.”

You may read Archbishop Cordileone's full response here.

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For Hillary Clinton, abortion access trumps religious liberty

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- For Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, apparently abortion trumps religious liberty.

It may have gotten bipartisan support in the House of Representatives last night, but a spokesperson for the Democratic Party's leading presidential candidate says a resolution protecting religious liberty in the District of Columbia "overrule[s] the democratic process" and hurts women.

The vote, which saw three Democrats join the GOP majority and 13 Republicans stand with Democrats, was meant to protect pro-life and religious organizations in the District from the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA).

RHNDA was signed by the mayor of the District of Columbia, Muriel Bowser, in January, and makes it illegal for any employer, including religious and pro-life organizations, to use a person's belief or actions about abortion in employment considerations. It also requires employers to provide abortion coverage.

The resolution now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to fail due to the Senate being on recess. Under existing federal law, the measure has 30 legislative days to be disapproved by Congress and President Obama. If this does not happen, it becomes law.

The 30-day window ends on Saturday. President Obama promised a veto of the resolution on Thursday, even though RHNDA was opposed by former District mayor Vincent Gray. According to Gray, while he "applaud[s] the goals of this legislation," the former mayor believes RHNDA could violate the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal treatment under the law.

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The statement by the Clinton campaign left no doubt that she stood with Obama and a majority of Democratic legislators. Spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri told CNN, "Hillary Clinton has fought for women and families and their right to access the full range of reproductive health care without interference from politicians or employers."

"Hillary will fight to make it easier, not more difficult, for women and families to get ahead and ensure that women are not discriminated against for personal medical decisions."

The remarks come a week after Clinton took criticism for saying that "religious beliefs" critical of "reproductive rights" must "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,” she told the Women in the World Summit on April 23.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper," said Clinton in her speech. "Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will."

“Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed,” said the candidate.

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Social conservatives may be funding the destruction of marriage: corporate watchdog

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By Dustin Siggins

May 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- With over $55 million in annual revenue, the Human Rights Campaign may be America's most powerful LGBT activist group. And according to a conservative corporate watchdog, that's in part because social conservatives are funding it.

"Conservatives would be surprised to know that many of the dollars they spend every day are helping fund an agenda that seeks to destroy traditional marriage and undermine religious freedoms," said 2nd Vote National Outreach Director Robert Kuykendall. "Even when they purchase a beverage from a company like Coca-cola or Starbucks, their dollar is going to support HRC's liberal agenda to redefine marriage."

Less than 18 months old, 2nd Vote has graded hundreds of corporations on six issues -- corporate welfare, the environment, education, support for the Second Amendment, abortion, and as of two weeks ago, same-sex "marriage." Using their "scoring" system, 2nd Vote ranks corporations on their direct or indirect involvement with these hot-button public policy and cultural issues.

And according to them, some of America's favorite corporations are making the radical HRC agenda possible.

"HRC is the largest LGBT lobbying organization in the United States with reported revenues of over $55 million," Kuykendall told LifeSiteNews. "The redefinition of marriage and the undermining of religious freedom are major components of HRC’s policy agenda. To fund their policy goals, HRC has enlisted the help of many major corporations that we do business with every day to help fund. Over a third of the contributions received by HRC are listed as 'Corporate/Foundation Grants.'" 

Why should conservatives care about corporate donors to HRC? Kuykendall says the organization is both politically influential and publicly deceptive. "Last election cycle, HRC spent around a million dollars on electioneering activities and in support of liberal candidates willing to push their legislative agenda. HRC is responsible for spreading much of the misinformation regarding [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] laws and has also mischaracterized the protections provided by these laws."

"HRC organized a massive grassroots campaign in support of the legal battle to overturn state laws protecting marriage and influence the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges," said Kuykendall.

Marriage isn't the only issue on which conservatives may be at odds with HRC's corporate backers. "2nd Vote’s research into other issues such as life, the environment, and the 2nd Amendment shows that many of the companies supporting HRC have taken liberal stands on other issues as well,” he said. “For example, Apple, Citigroup, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola are Platinum Partners, the highest level of HRC’s National Corporate Partners, that have also funded the liberal Center for American Progress [CAP]."

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"Bank of America, Google, Goldman Sachs, Starbucks, PepsiCo, and Morgan Stanley are also HRC Corporate Partners that have funded CAP. Furthermore, all of these companies signed the amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn state marriage laws."

In Indiana, the state's religious liberty law was modified because of corporate pressure led by Tim Cook, Apple's gay CEO. Kuykendall says conservatives should not give up, though he acknowledges that "for too long, conservatives have let liberals and groups like HRC bully companies into not just going along with their agenda, but actively funding and promoting it."

"However, conservatives have also proven their ability to mobilize and use their dollars in support of traditional values as we’ve seen through the fundraising campaigns for the pizza parlor and wedding cake makers who have been attacked by liberals for their beliefs. Conservatives need to turn the tables on the left, and groups like HRC, and motivate companies to stop funding the liberal agenda through the power of their shopping habits."

Only nine companies have ranks of "five" or "four" on 2nd Vote's ranking system, indicating a pro-marriage perspective. They are outnumbered more than 10 to 1 by organizations that support redefining marriage.

Concerned citizens can download the app on 2nd Vote's website. The full list of corporation scores can be found here.

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First graders exposed to book about transgender boy—without parental notification

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By Fr. Mark Hodges

KITTERY POINT, ME, May 1, 2015, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Parents at one Maine school are upset that children as young as six were exposed to a book promoting transgender issues, in the name of "acceptance."

Parents were not only not consulted, they were never even notified of their children's exposure to transgenderism.

Horace Mitchell Primary School read the book I Am Jazz to first-grade students. The book is about a boy who identifies as a girl from the age of two, "with a boy's body and a girl's brain." He eventually finds a doctor who tells his parents, "Jazz is transgender."

Parents began to inquire about what was being taught at Horace Mitchell Primary after children came home with questions about their own sex and wondering if they, too, might be transgender.

One mother, upset that teachers would broach the subject of transgenderism with her little boy, said the primary school ignored her complaint. "I feel like my thoughts, feelings and beliefs were completely ignored...My right as a parent to allow or not allow this discussion with my child was taken from me," she told Hannity.com.

"When I spoke with the principal he was very cold about it," the mother continued. "It's amazing how thoughtless the school has been with this whole thing."

Only after Sean Hannity made national inquiries did Horace Mitchell Primary School suggest that teachers should have told parents ahead of time.

Allyn Hutton, the superintendent of the local district, said she supported reading the book but admitted that parents should have been given advance warning about the subject matter. "We have a practice of – if a topic is considered sensitive – parents should be informed. In this situation, that didn't happen," she said. "We understand that toleration is tolerating people of all opinions."

Horace Mitchell Primary School sent an e-mail, after the fact, to concerned parents, including a link to a blog post of the school's guidance counselor, explaining their motivation was "cultivating respect."

"Some may think primary school students are too young to worry about addressing issues surrounding gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students. Not so, experts say,” the school's guidance counselor wrote. “It’s never too early to begin teaching children about respecting differences."

Homosexual activists say they support the teaching of transgenderism to first-graders, with or without parental notification. "The staff of Mitchell School is...shedding a light on [LGBTQ] issues,” said a column in Gay Star News.

The LGBT puublication goes even further, advocating homosexual propaganda be commonplace in elementary schools across the country. "LGBTQ issues should never be classified as a 'sensitive subject,' [because] there is nothing sensitive about the way we are born. Blonde hair, brown hair, gay, straight or somewhere in-between."

Brian Camenker of MassResistance commented on the infiltration of homosexual propaganda in children's schools. "We deal with parents and teachers a lot, and the idea that teachers would do this is unconscionable. It's like the people that promote this stuff are evil. It's demonic. You can't imagine adults that would do this to other people's children, and do it with such anger, and such vitrol.”

Camenker emphasized that this is “not an isolated incident with just one, rogue teacher. This happens because the whole administrative hierarchy buys into it.”

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“The new generation of educators is very, very frightening,” he said.

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