Thaddeus Baklinski

Canadian bishops decry euthanasia ruling

Thaddeus Baklinski
Thaddeus Baklinski
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, June 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The head of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as the Archbishop of Vancouver, have issued statements decrying the recent decision by the B.C. Supreme Court that found Canada’s ban on assisted suicide unconstitutional.

Archbishop of Edmonton Richard W. Smith, president of the CCCB, said that he and his fellow bishops learned of the decision “with dismay.”

“The Catholic position on this question is clear,” Archbishop Smith stated. “Human life is a gift from God. Therefore, as taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2280, ‘We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.’”

“We stand before a fundamental option,” he continued. “Do we show concern for the sick, the elderly, the handicapped and vulnerable by encouraging them to commit suicide or through deliberating killing them by euthanasia? Or, instead, do we fashion a culture of life and love in which each person, at every moment and in all circumstances of their natural lifespan, is treasured as a gift?”

The archbishop said that the answer to this question “reveals the true nature of our society’s heart.”

Smith said that the CCCB will issue a more detailed reflection at a later date, once the lengthy 395-page ruling has been reviewed.

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In a separate statement Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver, J. Michael Miller, said the decision “sadly reflects a distorted view of equality rights that emphasizes autonomy over human dignity and the value of life.”

“True liberty means the freedom to live one’s life secure in the knowledge that those who care for us are dedicated to the service of life, not the taking of life,” said the archbishop.

In Friday’s ruling, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Lynn Smith stated that the assisted suicide and euthanasia ban violates the equality provision of Canada’s Charter because it prevents the disabled from getting the help they may need to kill themselves.

Smith’s decision puts the judiciary at odds with the Canada’s Parliament, which in 2010 overwhelmingly rejected Bill C-384, proposed by MP Francine Lalonde (La Pointe-de-l’Île, BQ), to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide by a vote of 228 to 59.

Last August, when the B.C. Supreme Court indicated it would fast-track the court challenge against Canada’s current law, Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson, stated that the issue was settled by Parliament and that the Conservative government would not reopen the subject.

“Parliament passed judgment on that,” Nicholson told media. “The question of euthanasia was rejected within Parliament, just within the last year.”

“We are in court on a regular basis arguing on the constitutionality of existing laws of this country, and we have indicated we have no plans to reintroduce this within Parliament,” he said.

Archbishop Miller said in the statement issued on June 16, “We have been down this road many times around the world, and all the safeguards initially put in place wind up either disregarded or eventually dispensed with. The result is euthanasia harms not only those whose lives are taken, but those responsible for taking them.”

“I strongly urge the government to appeal this extremely flawed and dangerous ruling,” the Archbishop concluded.

Archbishop of Edmonton Richard W. Smith, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a statement today in which he said the CCCB “learned with dismay of a ruling on assisted suicide by a judge of the British Columbia Supreme Court.”

“The Catholic position on this question is clear,” Archbishop Smith stated. “Human life is a gift from God. Therefore, as taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2280, “We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.”

The archbishop continued by posing a question which he believes “reveals the true nature of our society’s heart.”

“We stand before a fundamental option,” he said. “Do we show concern for the sick, the elderly, the handicapped and vulnerable by encouraging them to commit suicide or through deliberating killing them by euthanasia? Or, instead, do we fashion a culture of life and love in which each person, at every moment and in all circumstances of their natural lifespan, is treasured as a gift?”

The archbishop pointed out that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops will issue a more detailed reflection at a later date, once the lengthy 395-page ruling has been reviewed.

Although Justice Smith issued a stay on her ruling for one year to give the government an opportunity to consider its options, Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is calling on Canadians to urge Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to launch an immediate appeal to the B.C. Court of Appeals.

“Today’s court decision is fundamentally at odds with the will of Parliament as expressed just months ago and is fundamentally anti-democratic,” Schadenberg pointed out.

Dr. Will Johnston, chair of EPC-BC, added, “Today’s decision would point Canada towards the Oregon assisted suicide regime, which has become notorious for its erosion of medical standards and abuse of psychiatry to rubber-stamp suicide requests. The wish to avoid Oregon’s mistakes has been reflected in over 100 rejections of assisted suicide by legislatures in North America and by medical associations around the world.”

Contact Information for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson:
Phone: 613-995-1547
Email:  [email protected]

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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