Cameron renews ‘gay marriage’ pledge as party spirals down the drain
LONDON, July 26, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The UK’s Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister is “killing” his own party, and therefore the coalition government, through his “obsession” with gay “marriage” according to political columnist Andrew Pierce of the Daily Mail. Despite the plummeting fortunes of the Conservative Party, and the increasing disaffection of its base, David Cameron announced at a Downing Street reception for homosexualist lobbyists on Tuesday that he remains “absolutely determined” to see the country’s definition of marriage abolished by 2015.
“The promise I can make you is that this coalition government is committed to both changing the law and also working to help change the culture and the Conservative party absolutely backs that. This is something ... I personally feel very passionately about,” Cameron said.
The comments came in spite of recent assurances to MPs and Cabinet members that Conservative MPs would be allowed a free vote in Parliament should legislation make it that far. Cameron is also reported to have told his party that he would not attempt to force the shaky coalition government to go along, and would be campaigning only privately.
The Prime Minister’s plan to force the re-definition of marriage “at any cost” is costing the party plenty according to Pierce. Huge numbers of voters and even senior MPs are abandoning the party as Cameron continues his “updating” project.
Pierce wrote that the numbers do not lie, and Cameron’s whole campaign to “modernise” the party has led it to the brink of political extinction. He quotes figures released by the party showing the number of Conservative members “has fallen below 130,000, a drop of around 60 per cent since he took over in 2005.”
“The bitter and ineluctable truth is that, far from increasing numbers, Mr. Cameron has presided over the sharpest decline in membership in the Conservative party’s history,” writes Pierce.
The “gay marriage” push, he said, has been “the single biggest factor” in the party’s decline, but it has also only been the last straw for angry party supporters. “U-turns over a referendum on Europe, its failure to reform the loathed Human Rights Act and the Tories’ infuriating tendency to give ever more ground to [far-left coalition partners] the wretched Lib Dems have contributed to the decline.”
And there can be no doubt that it is specifically “gay marriage” that is killing the party’s chances with voters. Pierce quotes ComRes polls showing that the issue could cost the party as many as 1.1 million votes and 30 parliamentary seats, with many long-time Tory supporters saying they would either switch to the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) or not vote at all. Fifty-six per cent said that it is the plan to re-define marriage that has driven them away from the party.
Party members who through the Blair years watched in horror the near annihilation of the traditional family in Britain are also “enraged” that the Prime Minister has, in another “sop to the Lib Dems,” reneged on campaign promises to increase tax breaks for married couples.
At a “tense” meeting last month Cameron was warned by 20 of the party’s most senior members that the party’s “membership will plunge below the psychologically crucial 100,000 mark if there were no change of heart on same-sex marriage,” Pierce wrote.
A party source told the Daily Mail, “The Prime Minister was told bluntly that gay marriage was causing membership to hemorrhage. Cameron was unmoved and said the members were out of step with the country.
“He doesn’t seem to care that it’s the party members who canvass on doorsteps across the country in all weathers. They lick envelopes, hold fundraisers and at elections drive our older supporters to polling stations. These people are our mainstay and they are abandoning us. Our party is dying on its feet.”
In spite of these warnings, Cameron used the same uncompromising language at his friendly reception on Tuesday, as he has since the party’s last convention. Praising the government of Tony Blair’s New Labour Party for bringing in civil partnerships for homosexuals, he said that “gay marriage” will be a continuation of that tradition.
“I make that point not only as someone who believes in equality but as someone who believes passionately in marriage,” told his audience. If marriage was “good enough” for heterosexual couples, it should be extended to homosexuals, he said.
“I think marriage is a great institution – I think it helps people to commit, it helps people to say that they’re going to care and love for another person. It helps people to put aside their selfish interests and think of the union that they’re forming.
“Its something I feel passionately about and I think if it’s good enough for straight people like me, its good enough for everybody and that’s why we should have gay marriage and we will.”
Some religious observers were also alarmed by the Prime Minister’s comments about the opposition to the plans by churches, wondering if they constituted a veiled threat. Comparing their opposition to that of the Tory party before his recent reforms, he said the Church should not be “locking out” homosexuals from its ministries.
The Church, he said, has “got itself on the wrong side of this argument.”
“It locked people out who were naturally conservative from supporting it and so I think I can make that point to the Church, gently,” he said.
Churches, he said, should not “be locking out people who are gay, or are bisexual or are transgender from being full members of that Church, because many people with deeply held Christian views, are also gay”.
“And just as the Conservative Party, as an institution, made a mistake in locking people out so I think the Churches can be in danger of doing the same thing,” he added.
In the face of such comments, and others by government officials, religious leaders continue to be sceptical about assurances that, should the change be made, they would not be forced to cooperate. Last month, the Catholic bishops’ conference of England and Wales said “gay marriage” would likely lead to legal action against ministers who refuse to participate.
John Smeaton, head of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the country’s leading political pro-life and pro-family group, wrote that the attempt to re-define marriage is biting Cameron because it is “beyond his remit as a political leader.”
Cameron’s “understanding of marriage and religion is woefully simplistic and ignorant. His mantra of ‘equality’ totally ignores the nature, history and role of marriage, which is the union of one man and one woman ordered towards the procreation of children.”
Smeaton promised that the Cameron Conservatives would pay a heavy political price: “SPUC and its colleagues in many pro-family, Christian and Muslim groups, representing countless thousands of supporters and activists up and down the country, will ensure that same-sex marriage becomes a big general election issue, especially in marginal constituencies.”
Planned Parenthood closes Iowa abortion facility because of low business
DUBUQUE, Iowa, May 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood closed an Iowa abortion facility on Friday, noting low business that left the facility unsustainable from a financial standpoint.
Although Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced in January that it planned to close the Dubuque, Iowa, office, pro-life sidewalk counselors were overjoyed on Friday to read the sign in the window that read: “Our office is closed, effective April 28, 2016.”
The office did not perform surgical abortions but did provide medication abortions to the community of about 58,000.
“Rejoice with us for the lives of unborn children saved!” Iowa Right to Life said in a statement after the closure.
As with numerous other closures, Planned Parenthood, which styles itself a provider of “care no matter what,” emphasized it was closing its doors to preserve its bottom line.
“After assessing the shifting health care landscape, changing demographics, and the challenges of operating in areas with low patient volumes, we made the tough decision to close the Dubuque Health Center,” the group said in an announcement. “This change allows us to expand hours and see more patients in Cedar Rapids, where there is unmet demand due to lack of clinician hours.”
“While we regret making this change, we know it is a necessary step in order to continue our mission to provide, promote and protect reproductive and sexual health through health services, education and advocacy. Patients have been notified, and if they wish, they can receive a broader array of services at our health center in Cedar Rapids, where we have expanded hours to accommodate more patient,” Planned Parenthood said.
American Life League’s vice president, Jim Sedlak, remembers speaking to the county right to life group nine years ago.
“I told them at the time that they needed to protest outside Planned Parenthood at least once a week,” he said. “They told me they would do better than that. Over the last eight years, these dedicated pro-lifers were outside Planned Parenthood every hour it was open. And now...it’s closed for good.”
That aligns with advice that David Bereit, the founder of 40 Days for Life, once told young people who wanted to know how to end abortion.
Be loving and compassionate, he said.
“Your peaceful, loving presence out there flies in the face of all the stereotypes they want to throw onto us,” he added. “When you show them love instead of condemnation, when you show them peace and joy instead of anger and judgment, that will begin to break down the walls.”
Iowa Right to Life credited just such tactics with closing an office in Red Oak that performed webcam abortions. “Planned Parenthood shut down in Red Oak in large part because of the constant, prayerful presence outside their clinic,” the group said.
Upon hearing of the latest abortion facility shuttering, the Dubuque County Right to Life said that Planned Parenthood isn't the only group that will move its base of operations. “We will probably put our efforts in Cedar Rapids and will continue to spread the pro-life message,” said Executive Director Marian Bourek.
Ted Cruz confronted by mom who supports aborting disabled babies…just like hers
MARION, Indiana, May 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Senator Ted Cruz was met on the campaign trail by a mother who strongly opposed a state pro-life law that would have protected children with birth conditions – like her own.
Andrea DeBruler, a 41-year-old nurse, confronted the presidential hopeful in the city of Marion as Cruz campaigned with Gov. Mike Pence.
DeBruler first asked Cruz, then Pence, about House Bill 1337, which bans abortions performed due to the child's race, sex, or disability, such as Down syndome.
DeBruler held up a picture of her daughter, Jania, who was born with cerebral palsy. “This was a choice,” she said.
She asked Sen. Cruz if he supported the bill, which made Indiana the second state in the nation to ban abortion for Down syndrome, after North Dakota.
“I'm not Governor Pence,” he replied. “But I'll tell you this: I believe in protecting human life.”
Pence, who endorsed Cruz in today's make-or-break Indiana primary, listened to her objections.
“I'm not here as a Republican, I'm not here as a Democrat. I'm here as a woman, a woman with choices, choices that you guys should not make,” DeBruler said.
After hearing that she felt many families lacked sufficient resources to care for children, especially in an area like Marion, Gov. Pence offered to connect her with social services.
“God bless her,” he said, looking at Jania's picture, “and God bless you.”
Though it may be unusual to encounter a woman arguing for the right to abort her own child, the governor handled it calmly. Pence had specifically reflected on “precious moments” he spent with “families of children with disabilities, especially those raising children with Down syndrome” when he signed the bill into law in March.
"We are truly thankful for the passage of this historic legislation by the Indiana House and applaud the new civil rights protections this bill creates for unborn children, as well as the new provisions this bill establishes for the humane final disposition of aborted babies," Indiana Right to Life President Mike Fichter said at the time.
DeBruler told the UK media outlet The Independent that H.B. 1337 “means you can no longer have an abortion based on deformity. I’m against this law, because I think it should be a woman’s choice” to abort for any reason.
Congressional Democrats made similar statements during hearings last month for Rep. Trent Franks' federal Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), with Congressman John Conyers saying the bill is “patently unconstitutional,” because a woman has the right to abort a child before viability for any reason.
Both leading contenders for the Democratic nomination expressed their displeasure with the law, which protects unborn children from racial or sexual discrimination, as well as discrimination on the basis of an inborn trait like mental capacity.
When Gov. Pence signed the law, Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted:
The decision to have an abortion is for a woman to make, not the Governor of Indiana. https://t.co/1VOroXS2br— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 24, 2016
Hillary Clinton later said, “I commend the women of this state, young and old, for standing up against this governor and this legislature.”
DeBruler told The Independent, despite her comment about not being a Democrat or a Republican, she is in fact a Democrat and will vote for Hillary Clinton in today's primary.
The moral challenge to Cardinal Wuerl in pending Notre Dame outrage
May 3, 2016 (CatholicCulture) -- In 2009, when the University of Notre Dame invited President Barack Obama to deliver a commencement address, dozens of American bishops lodged loud public protests. Yet this year, as Notre Dame prepares to confer an even greater honor on Vice President Joe Biden (together with former House Speaker John Boehner), the silence from the hierarchy is deafening.
Back in 2009, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston said that Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama was “very disappointing,”, while then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan termed it a “big mistake.” The late Bishop John D’Arcy, then leader of the Indiana diocese in which the university is located, spoke of “the terrible breach which has taken place between Notre Dame and the Church.” For the first time in his 25 years of service to the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, Bishop D’Arcy declined to attend the Notre Dame commencement exercises; instead he addressed a protest rally organized by pro-life students, faculty, alumni, and staff.
These prelates and others explained their dismay by referring to the statement “Catholics in Political Life,” released in 2004 by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. In that document, the bishops reflected on the need to maintain a consistent public witness in defense of human life, and therefore to distance themselves from public officials who support legal abortion. The statement set forth a clear policy that Catholic institutions should not give public honors to “pro-choice” politicians:
The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.
By giving President Obama an honorary degree and offering him an opportunity to speak at graduation, Notre Dame clearly violated that policy. University officials could offer only garbled partial defenses, claiming that they were honoring Obama not because he supports unrestricted abortion, but because he is President of the United States.
This year the university cannot offer even that lame defense of the decision to award the Laetare Medal to Vice President Biden. Unlike Obama, Biden is a Catholic, and by granting him this award the university is explicitly saying that the Vice President has “illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.” In other words, Notre Dame is honoring Vice President Biden as a Catholic political leader despite his unwavering support for abortion and same-sex marriage.
Give credit to Bishop Kevin Rhoades, the current leader of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, for raising a lonely voice of protest. “I believe it is wrong for Notre Dame to honor any ‘pro-choice’ public official with the Laetare Medal, even if he/she has other positive accomplishments in public service,” Bishop Rhoades said. But if any other bishops have joined him in that rebuke to Notre Dame, I must have missed their public announcements.
Some observers, of liberal political sympathies, have argued that it is wrong to honor John Boehner, too, because the former Speaker disagreed with the US bishops’ stand on immigration. This is a tired old argument, conflating disagreement with the bishops on a prudential political decision with defiance of Church teaching on a fundamental moral principle. But it is noteworthy that Notre Dame officials saw fit to make a joint award, no doubt in a cynical effort to dodge political criticism by choosing one honoree from each side of the political spectrum.
“We live in a toxic political environment where poisonous invective and partisan gamesmanship pass for political leadership,” said Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, in announcing the Laetare Award recipients. (Notice the pre-emptive suggestion that those who criticize the school’s choices may be engaged in “poisonous invective.”) He went on to make a tortured argument that although Notre Dame is honoring two politicians, it is not honoring them for what they have done in their political careers:
In recognizing both men, Notre Dame is not endorsing the policy positions of either, but celebrating two lives dedicated to keeping our democratic institutions working for the common good through dialogue focused on the issues and responsible compromise.
By now we all know the familiar dodges. The politician claims to oppose abortion personally, but to feel a delicate reticence about imposing his views on others. He says that we must be willing to compromise (even on life-and-death decisions). He insists that he is not “pro-abortion” but “pro-choice.”
That last bubble of rhetoric was unceremoniously burst by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC, when he celebrated Mass at Georgetown after Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richard had delivered a lecture there. “The word ‘choice’ is a smokescreen,” he said, “behind which those killing unborn children take refuge. Every chance you get, blow that smoke away!”
Now Cardinal Wuerl himself has a chance to “blow that smoke away.” As things stand, he is scheduled to celebrate Mass at the Notre Dame commencement, and to receive an honorary degree. He could pull out; he could absent himself from the ceremonies, to ensure that he does not become part of an event that pays homage to a “pro-choice” Catholic politician.
And there is a precedent. Back in 2009, the Harvard legal scholar (and former US ambassador to the Holy See) Mary Ann Glendon was chosen to receive the Laetare Award. But when she learned that President Obama would be speaking, she announced her decision to decline the award. Clearly annoyed that her presence might be used to quiet the critics of the honor for Obama, Ambassador Glendon wrote that she did not want to be used as a counterweight, nor did she see the Notre Dame commencement as an appropriate venue for a genteel debate about legal abortion:
A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision—in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops—to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.
Could Cardinal Wuerl do this year what Ambassador Glendon did in 2009? Even at this late date, his withdrawal would send a powerful message of support for the right to life: an unmistakable rebuke to politicians who hide behind the smokescreen that the cardinal himself identified. To be sure, if he did withdraw, the cardinal would be caught in an avalanche of public criticism; he would suffer for his public witness. But there is a reason why cardinals wear red.
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