Michael Hichborn, American Life League

Author of Soros-funded CCHD defense stands by report despite bevy of omissions and errors

Michael Hichborn, American Life League
By Michael Hichborn

June 24, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On June 11, the liberal organization Faith in Public Life published a report attacking the investigative work of the Reform CCHD Now coalition, which has worked for nearly three years now to promote a thoroughgoing top-down reform of the U.S. Bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development after discovering that dozens of its grantees promote activities contrary to Catholic teaching.

Shortly after Faith in Public Life (FIPL) released its report, LifeSiteNews revealed that FIPL’s CEO was on a panel of “pro-choice clergy” at a Planned Parenthood event that focused on how ‘pro-choice’ clergy could “make social change in support of reproductive justice in communities across the country.”  LifeSiteNews also pointed out that FIPL published numerous blog entries defending Planned Parenthood, including this one where FIPL states that it “compiled quotes from faith leaders opposing government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding.” It’s a little more than ironic that a pro-abortion, Soros-funded organization is crying foul over our investigative reporting that profiles pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, pro-birth control and Marxist organizations receiving money from the Catholic Church.

Even beyond the irony, however, the FIPL report is full of glaring errors and omissions that must be addressed.  But before publishing this response to FIPL’s report, I thought it would be important to contact John Gehring, the author of FIPL’s report, in order to give him a chance to address the errors I found in his document. So, I called Mr. Gehring and asked him if he would have time to answer some questions, and he asked me to submit them via email.  I did.  In fact, I sent him all of the information I provide below and asked him if he was aware of these facts when he wrote the report.  This is what he said in reply to my questions:

Michael,

Thanks for your questions. Since the report speaks for itself I prefer not getting into a back and forth on these detailed questions. Here is a statement that you can use.

John Gehring

“The goal of this report is to protect and strengthen the vital work of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development,” said John Gehring, Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life. “Self-appointed watchdog groups like the American Life League have sought to destroy the reputation of Catholics who serve our Church, demonize social justice leaders and create a climate of fear that hurts effective efforts to empower low-income communities. It is essential to preserve the distinctive Catholic identity of CCHD while also recognizing that if the Church only associates with people who agree with Catholic teaching on every issue, our ability to serve the common good in a diverse society is severely limited. As Pope Francis said in a recent homily, Catholics should be building bridges, not walls. The prominent Catholic leaders who endorsed this report are determined to help strengthen CCHD’s mission at a time when Pope Francis challenges us to confront the moral scandal of poverty and growing inequality.”

I wrote Mr. Gehring back immediately and said, “Just so I don’t misrepresent you, is it safe to say that in light of the facts I sent you, you still stand by your report as it is written?”  Mr. Gehring did not respond. 

What follows is a point by point correction of the errors in FIPL’s report, and in the spirit of intellectual honesty, we call upon FIPL to correct the record.

Land Stewardship Project

The report claims on page 4 that the Land Stewardship Project, a former CCHD grantee, lost its funding because of its membership in two coalitions: Take Action Minnesota and the Minnesota Council of Non-Profits.  FIPL contends that the CCHD denied funding to LSP because the two coalitions of which it is a member “did not endorse the Minnesota bishops’ efforts to fight same-sex marriage.” 

Simply put, this is untrue.  These two coalitions didn’t merely “not endorse” the bishops’ efforts to fight against same-sex “marriage,” but took positions in direct opposition to the Church.  For instance, on March 30, 2006, the Minnesota Council of Non-Profits "announced opposition to” the Minnesota State Legislature’s effort to ban same-sex “marriage.” Furthermore, Take Action Minnesota actually hired field canvassers to drum up support for same-sex “marriage.”

The information regarding Take Action Minnesota actually takes on a deeper meaning when page 13 of FIPL’s report attempts to build a story around the Land Stewardship Project’s “Associate Director/Director of Programs/Policy Program Director”, Mark Schultz.  Specifically, the report says:

Mark Schultz grew up a proud Catholic boy on the South Side of Chicago. His faith and family taught him lessons about justice and solidarity with the marginalized that he still carries today as the policy and organizing director of the Land Stewardship Project.  The Minneapolis-based organization, founded in 1982, trains new farmers, challenges large-scale factory farms that have poor records on labor rights, and advocates for more sustainable local agriculture. “My faith is the reason I’m an organizer,” Shultz said.

What the report leaves out is that Mark Schultz is not only a director of LSP; he is also the chairman of the board of Take Action Minnesota, and has been chairman of the board at least since April of 2011, a full month before Take Action Minnesota officially endorsed same-sex “marriage.” Furthermore, in February of 2011, Mark Schultz himself announced that Take Action Minnesota is, among other things, “gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and straight.”

In short, FIPL’s report misrepresented the true nature of the problems with the two coalitions that the Land Stewardship Project was told to leave if it wished to continue receiving Catholic funds.  But more to the point, FIPL completely failed in its attempt to paint a picture that Reform CCHD Now’s investigative report accused LSP of guilt by association by deliberately omitting the fact that Land Stewardship Project’s second in command is also the top dog at Take Action Minnesota.  When all the facts are present, it is clear that the Land Stewardship Project is guilty by participation, not association.

Companeros

The report falsely claims on page 4 that Companeros lost its CCHD funding “because of its association with a statewide immigrant rights coalition that included a single gay and lesbian advocacy group.”  If this were the case, then FIPL’s claims of guilt by association would be correct, but this is not the case. 

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Here are the facts.  Companeros is a member of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC), in fact, one of its founding members, and Companeros’ program director, Nicole Mosher, is on CIRC’s board of directors. This means that the actions taken by CIRC directly represent Companeros.  The problem is that CIRC has worked in direct opposition to Catholic moral teaching, which places Companeros in violation of CCHD guidelines.  For instance, CIRC “was proud to actively support the 2011 civil unions bill” for homosexual couples, directly opposed the Defense of Marriage Act, participated in a “gay pride” parade, specifically stated an organizational goal to “build non-traditional Alliances with focus on LGBT, non-Latino immigrant/refugees and Welcoming Colorado supporters,” voiced support for transgenderism, and applauded the recognition of same-sex couples on customs forms.  Incidentally, Companeros itself participated in a CIRC event that had a whole section on the cross-promotion of homosexuality and immigrant issues.

FIPL’s claim that Companeros lost funding due to membership in a coalition that also has a homosexual advocacy group as a member is completely unfounded.  The simple fact is that Companeros is a member of and on the board of an organization that took positions and actions that are in direct opposition to Catholic moral teaching.  This is why Companeros lost its funding.

The Gamaliel Foundation

The FIPL report discusses the Reform CCHD Now coalition’s charge that the Gamaliel Foundation directly lied to the CCHD about its relationship with the Fair Immigration Reform Movement.  In its assessment, FIPL accurately illustrates the fact that Gamaliel was a member of FIRM and that FIRM took an official position in support of homosexuality. FIPL then presents Gamaliel’s claim that Gamaliel left FIRM in 2010 because of this official position and ends with the statement that American Life League alleges that Gamaliel lied about this.  What the report fails to mention, however, is why ALL and the Reform CCHD Now coalition charged Gamaliel with lying when it claimed to have left FIRM in 2010.

As is evidenced in the report published by the Reform CCHD Now coalition, Gamaliel housed several documents on its own website, identifying it as a member of FIRM and as being on FIRM’s executive committee for the year 2011, a full year after it allegedly “severed all ties with FIRM.” Furthermore, a set of FIRM’s own meeting minutes from a monthly conference call identifies Ana Garcia Ashley, Gamaliel’s executive director, as a participant on the call and lists Gamaliel as a nominee for FIRM’s executive committee for the year 2012. Gamaliel has never denied this evidence but attempted to hide it all, and refuses to discuss the discrepancy between its claims and the evidence we noted.

Since John Gehring actually cited Reform CCHD Now’s report on Gamaliel in his own report, I asked him specifically why he left out the rest of the information.  As shown above, he declined to comment on the omission.

WISDOM

On page 18 of FIPL’s report, they attempt to make the case that the Reform CCHD Now coalition “branded WISDOM as an anti-Catholic organization” simply because it is a member of a coalition that happened to show up at a rally “along with some pro-choice groups.”

Not only is this not what the Reform CCHD Now report says, but the entire scenario described in FIPL’s report is patently false.

Here are the facts.  As you can read in our report here, the problem starts with the fact that the Gamaliel affiliate group called WISDOM is a member of and on the board of directors of an organization called Citizen Action of Wisconsin.  Our report, on page 8, clearly identifies Citizen Action of Wisconsin as a participant in a rally that was “mad as Hell” because the state legislature had just voted on a bill that “curbed abortion rights and ended comprehensive sex education in schools.” The point of that citation was to illustrate that Citizen Action of Wisconsin was itself participating in pro-abortion and pro-birth control activities, and according to CCHD guidelines, this would mean that WISDOM cannot be a member if it wishes to receive CCHD funding.  However, it is interesting that FIPL failed to mention the more direct bit, where on page 9 of our report we provided a link from Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s own podcast from July 7, 2011 featuring a representative from Planned Parenthood and statements from Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s own executive director championing same-sex marriage.

FIPL claims it was honestly attempting to defend an injustice done through a false accusation. If this was true, it wouldn’t need to seriously contort the claims made in our CCHD grantee reports, nor would it need to leave out the strongest pieces of evidence. FIPL should be happy to know, however, that honesty is not among the things we are accusing it of.

Conclusion

The distortions and untruths in Faith in Public Life’s “report” make it clear that they are not interested in justice, the poor, or honesty in reporting.  The mere fact that the report’s author refuses to address the glaring inaccuracies shows that he is more interested in furthering an agenda than the truth.  But in addition to the irony that an organization so friendly with Planned Parenthood is rushing to the defense of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the homosexuality lobby group Human Rights Campaign endorsed FIPL’s report, just a few days after it was published.  HRC emphatically claimed that it is unjust “that a network of conservative Catholic organizations would choose to withhold funds from local groups working with the poor because they support marriage equality and the LGBT community.”

All of this leads to two conclusions:

  1. The Reform CCHD Now campaign is having a definitive impact on the lobbying efforts of pro-abortion and pro-homosexual organizations.  There would be no reason for the obvious effort of writing this slick 28-page report and obtaining its long list of endorsers, otherwise. 

  2. FIPL and HRC both make the arguments that in order to help the poor, it is essential for CCHD grantees to join coalitions that support abortion and homosexuality, proving what the Reform CCHD Now coalition has been saying all along: CCHD grantees are indeed members of pro-abortion and pro-homosexual coalitions, and such membership is necessary to advance abortion and homosexuality in American society. 

Michael Hichborn is Director of Defend the Faith, a project of American Life League.

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Dynel Lane stands accused of numerous crimes, but murdering a baby is not one of them.
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Colorado Democrats vote to allow more deaths like baby cut from her mother’s womb

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By Ben Johnson

DENVER, CO, May 5, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Constituents and readers around the world were horrified when police reported that Dynel Lane cut a baby out of a pregnant woman's womb, nearly killing the mother and causing the baby to die. But Colorado Democrats voted down a bill that would have classified the crime as a homicide for fear the law could someday be used to challenge abortion-on-demand.

The state House's State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee voted down the Offenses Against Unborn Children Act (SB 268) by a party line vote of 6-5 on Monday.

The proposal would have allowed prosecutors to charge anyone who kills an unborn child with murder but, like bills in 38 other states, it specifically exempts abortion.

“It is a travesty that not a single Democrat voted in favor of this legislation, which would bring justice for babies like Aurora who die in violent homicides,” Colorado Citizens for Life said in a public statement. “At the very least, Colorado Citizens for Life would hope that lawmakers could put aside their partisan differences to pass this common sense piece of legislation.”

State legislators felt a need to plug legal loopholes after Lane allegedly lured Michelle Wilkins to her Longmont home with a phony Craigslist ad for baby clothes on March 18. Police say that Lane spoke with Wilkins for an hour before attacking her in the basement, smothering her with a pillow until she passed out, then using a knife to surgically remove the unborn child.

Lane, who had previous medical training, left Wilkins to bleed on a basement bed, officials say.

Wilkins revived and called 911, and emergency personnel rushed her to a local hospital.

Her unborn child, who was 34 weeks along and who had already been given the name Aurora, did not survive. Lane's husband said he saw the child “gasp” before dying.

Yet cautious prosecutors did not charge Lane with murder, because they feared they could not prove the girl had been “born alive.”

S.B. 268, introduced by Polly Lawrence of Littleton, would have made such a crime a homicide.

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Democrats rejected the bill, saying it could be used to prosecute abortionists.

Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado said that “the bill did not explicitly protect access to abortion, putting Colorado physicians in danger of prosecution if they provide care to pregnant women facing complications in their pregnancy or for providing safe abortion services.” The abortion lobbying group also claimed the bill may have “opened the door to prosecutions of women whose pregnancies face complications and tragically end in miscarriage.”

The bill states, “For purposes of a prosecution of a homicide or assault offense, the bill does not apply to an act committed by the mother of her unborn child,” or to “a medical procedure performed by...[any] licensed medical professional at the request of a mother.” It also refuses to prosecute anyone who prescribes or administers any “medication,” such as RU-486 or the morning after pill.

“This has nothing to do with abortion,” Lawrence said, according to local media. “This is about justice for two victims of violent crimes.”

For now, Colorado remains an outlier in the national abortion debate. But Aurora Wilkins' story – and Dynel Lane's alleged ghastly crime – have inspired people across the country to speak out.

"Imagine the love and the bond that Michelle Wilkins had for young Aurora after seven months together, the handful of sonograms that showed the young life, the heartbeats that reinforced those images and the kicking that showed someone raring to come out,” wrote Bob Confer, vice president of a New York plastics business, in the Niagara Falls Gazette. “Aurora was just as real in the womb and her family’s hearts as she would be if she were resting in a bassinet.”

“So many people are afraid to admit what those with respect for life know to be true: It doesn’t matter if someone is seven months or seven weeks pregnant, there is a life in there," he said.

"Life is important no matter the stage. It’s time we treated it like that and punished those who take it,” Confer added.

“Why should we be robbed of the Aurora Wilkinses of the world while those who take them from us can roam free?"

The vote roll call was:

No:
Rep. Su Ryden (D) 303-866-2942 [email protected]
Rep. Joe Salazar (D) 303-866-2918, [email protected]
Rep. Mike Foote (D) 303-866-2920, [email protected]
Rep. Susan Lontine (D) 303-866-2966, [email protected]
Rep. Dianne Primavera (D) 303-866-4667, [email protected]
Rep. Max Tyler (D) 303-866-2951, [email protected]

Yes:
Rep. Steve Humphrey (R) 303-866-2943, [email protected]
Rep. Patrick Neville (R) 303-866-2948, [email protected]
Rep. Jack Tate (R) 303-866-5510, [email protected]
Rep. Dan Thurlow (R) 303-866-3068, [email protected]
Rep. Yeulin Willett (R) 303-866-2583, [email protected]

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UK Green Party is ‘open’ to legalizing polygamy

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

May 5, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- The leader of the UK Green Party, Natalie Bennett, said she is “open” to considering legalizing "marriages" between three or more people.

She made the comment in response to a question posed by a reader of the homosexualist news service Pink News, who asked, "As someone living with his two boyfriends in a stable long-term relationship, I would like to know what your stance is on polyamory rights. Is there room for Green support on group civil partnerships or marriages?"

The radically pro-homosexualist Green leader replied that while her party had no specific policy on the subject, she was "open to further conversation and consultation" about polygamy.

"At present, we do not have a policy on civil partnerships involving more than two people," she said.

"We are, uniquely in this country, a party whose policies are developed and voted for by our members. We have led the way on many issues related to the liberalization of legal status in adult consenting relationships, and we are open to further conversation and consultation."

Speaking later at the launch of the Green Party's "LGBTIQ manifesto" in London's Soho district, Bennett said, “What I said was, we’d listen to the evidence on any issue, we believe in evidence-based policy-making. I have no personal view on this at all. This is the first time the question has been put to me so what I’m prepared to do is always listen to evidence.”

Bennett added, “LGBTIQ rights have come a long way since the millennium but there’s still an awful long way to go, as our manifesto sets out. Homophobia, transphobia and biphobia are still too common and too many people fear their impact in the workplace, in their schools and on the streets.”

Critics of “marriage equality” for homosexuals have long warned that the redefinition of marriage to include couples of the same sex will eventually extend that redefinition to polygamous relationships.

Michael Cook, editor of MercatorNet, said that while "activists for same-sex marriage have always insisted, that it will not lead to polygamy or polyamory, 'never, ever, ever,'" their denials are a crucial aspect of the homosexualist agenda because "if they were to concede that same-sex marriage would ultimately lead to polygamy and more imaginative forms of marriage, they would prove that there is a slippery slope. So they are forced into vehement denials."

“It’s like this,” explained Stanley Kurtz in a 2006 National Review article. “The way to abolish marriage, without seeming to abolish it, is to redefine the institution out of existence. If everything can be marriage, pretty soon nothing will be marriage. Legalize gay marriage, followed by multi-partner marriage, and pretty soon the whole idea of marriage will be meaningless.”

In Canada, defense lawyers in the 2010 trial of Winston Blackmore and James Oler of Bountiful, British Columbia, in fact used the country’s same-sex “marriage” law as justification for polygamy.

Blackmore was charged with marrying 20 women, though he openly claimed to have had 26 wives and more than 108 children. Oler was charged with marrying two women.

Blackmore's lawyer Blair Suffredine said his client had "a very strong case" in light of Canada’s legalization of homosexual "marriage."

"If [homosexuals] can marry, what is the reason that public policy says one person can’t marry more than one person?" Suffredine said at the time.

The charges in that trial were stayed when the BC Supreme Court was asked to examine the constitutionality of polygamy.

In 2011 the Court ruled that the law against polygamy was constitutional, which allowed a newly appointed BC Special Prosecutor, Peter Wilson, to continue to investigate potential criminal activity of Bountiful residents.

Gwen Landolt of Real Women of Canada, commenting on the federal government's 2014 Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Practices bill, which would strengthen the Criminal Code provisions against polygamy, told LifeSiteNews that “polygamy is harmful to women because it allows them to be abused, treating them as chattels at the discretion of a few men. They are not treated as equals and their children do not get proper parenting.”

While Green’s Natalie Bennett is "open" to considering polygamy, with its inherent possibility of a huge number of children begotten by just a few people, a longstanding member of the Green Party and one of the British government’s past advisors on environmental policies is on record for saying that if Britain is to be made "sustainable," its 60 million-plus population must be cut in half, by instituting China's model of population control.

Jonathon Porritt, a patron of the Optimum Population Trust (OPT), said that in order to reduce "pressure" on the world’s ecosystems, Britain must halve its population to 30 million inhabitants.

"Each person in Britain has far more impact on the environment than those in developing countries so cutting our population is one way to reduce that impact," Porritt told the 2009 OPT annual conference.

However, a number of media wags responded to the suggestion of mass population reduction, blithely saying that if Porritt was so enthusiastic, he was welcome to be the first volunteer.

Don Surber, a columnist for the Charleston Daily Mail, wrote, "He can go first." "This Jonathan Porritt is stuck in 19th century thinking. He said the Britons are worse on the world than people in developing countries. It is a combination of Malthusian logic and white man’s burden that I find amusing," Surber said.

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Nigerian bishop: Hillary must think she’s a ‘god’ if she wants us to abandon our pro-life values

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

May 5, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- An African Catholic bishop has said he thinks Hillary Clinton believes she is a god, someone who doesn’t value others’ morals, and he hopes Americans will wake up to what sort of people are running to be their president.

“I believe there are three groups of people in this world,” said Bishop Emmanuel Badejo. “Those who believe in God, those who do not believe in God, and those who think they are gods.”

“Hillary Clinton I think is one of those who thinks she is a god,” he said. “And I’m not obliged to believe that.”

In an April 29 interview with the Catholic website Aleteia, the Nigerian bishop was asked about Clinton’s recent statements at the Women in the World Summit, where she said, “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” to give women access to “reproductive health care and safe childbirth.”

In addition to Clinton’s disregard for other people’s principles, Bishop Badejo remarked that she was pandering.

“My personal opinion of Hillary Clinton is: She is seeking election in America so you can expect that, like most politicians, she will say just about anything to pander to the thoughts of whatever audience she is speaking to,” he said. “So I really think that Hillary Clinton is just speaking for votes, rather than speaking for reason.”

Clinton can’t be bothered with God, he said.

“From the way she spoke, people like herself very clearly don’t want to hear anything about God,” the bishop said. “Even if they say they believe in God, they really don’t.”

Her language makes her approach evident, said Bishop Badejo, and he thinks she’s become too wrapped up in technology, losing sight of the fact that people have their own values, including African people. 

“We talk about the dignity of life, the sanctity of life, etc. Is she saying they ought to be changed?” he asked. “Well, I don’t know what she is talking about. What are human beings going to change to?”

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Bishop Badejo has in the past criticized the cultural imperialism exhibited by some groups by way of foisting population control efforts and the homosexual agenda on African nations, and said that life is sacred for the African people.

In his most recent Aleteia interview he said God created the people of Africa this way in his infinite wisdom, “which I think might be a little bit more than Hillary Clinton’s.”

God did this to add to the beauty of his creation, he said, and those who push for such things to be imposed across the board don’t know the meaning of beauty, “which is found in variety, in color,” he said.

Those who don’t get this shouldn’t get to make the rules for others, the bishop said.

“If these values are not precious to Hillary Clinton,” said Bishop Badejo, “I think she has no right at all to call for a change in religious values and religious beliefs.”

He remarked how Clinton’s agenda of not respecting people’s values was evident despite her choice of language. 

“She also called them ‘structural biases.’ Again, that is a misuse of language,” he said. “‘Biases,’ to many people, are the things that make them who they are.” 

“So that’s as much importance as I attach to Hillary Clinton’s statement about cultural beliefs,” Bishop Badejo concluded. “It is my desire that the American people open their ears and their eyes and know exactly what kind of people are running to be the next President of the United States.”

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