Patrick Craine

Canadian conservative leaders react to Obama re-election

Patrick Craine
Patrick Craine

WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 9th, 2012 ( – President Obama’s re-election on Tuesday night has sparked a flood of reaction on what it portends for the future of America’s pro-life and conservative movements. But the election will also have a significant impact internationally, not least on America’s closest ally and cultural counterpart – Canada.

Richard Bastien, editor of Canadian Observer magazine and an associate fellow at the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, says he believes the re-election of the United States’ most pro-abortion and anti-family president “will help consolidate the secularist and statist agenda of our federal and provincial political parties.”

“Religious freedom being under attack, particularly in Quebec’s and Ontario’s educational systems, there is a real risk that the implicit endorsement of the HHS mandate will bolster the efforts of Canadian politicians seeking to limit religious influence on school curricula,” he said.

The election, he added, “will most likely result in an escalation of the culture war being waged in Canada between a culture of death and a culture of life.” “Obama’s support for unfettered access to abortion will significantly weaken the prospects of regulating the provision of abortion services in Canada,” he suggested.

Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women, said she finds it unlikely that America could push Canada further to the left on life and family issues, but also noted that another four years of Obama will likely bolster the left-wing movement in Canada.

“The Americans will be catching up to us. It’ll just make it all the more politically challenging because both countries will be on the same wavelength,” she said. “It may make left-wing views more socially acceptable.”

Obama is “the antithesis of anything anyone would want from the Christian perspective,” she said. “He’s going to do an enormous damage, not just the economy but socially. He doesn’t care anymore because it’s his last term. He was bad enough in his first term, but now he’ll have a free hand.”

Peter Stockland, director of media services for Cardus and publisher of Convivium magazine, said, on the other hand, that the election would have made little difference one way or the other.

“In the immortal words of Rhett Butler, frankly I don’t give a damn whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is the president,” he said. “The deep cultural work that has to be done to reinvigorate the culture of life and renew social architecture in North America isn’t something that will be won by an election campaign costing six billion dollars.”

“If anything, Obama’s election should be a positive occasion for everyone involved in renewing social architecture and reviving the culture of life to examine their strategies, tactics and commitment for the years ahead,” he added. “But that might - might - have been only slightly less the case had ‘Moderate Mitt’ been elected. We’re in this deep and long. Stuffed suits in a chair don’t matter a damn.”

Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, noted that Obama is so popular in Canada that he would have probably won 90% of the vote were he running here. “We’ve got the young people in Canada thinking that Obama is some sort of an answer,” he said.

The election result was “discouraging,” he said, because Obama is “one of the most pro-abortion if not the worst pro-abortion president the US has ever had. I think he is a very real danger to the democratic rights of ordinary people, especially pro-life and pro-family people.”

Hughes said, however, that “in the end it won’t be a setback,” because having Obama in office will “toughen up” and “smarten up” the pro-life movement.

Brad Trost, Conservative MP for Saskatoon-Humboldt, said he expects “very little effect” in Canada because it was basically a “status quo” election with Obama maintaining the presidency, the Democrats control of the Senate, and the Republicans control of the House. But he did note that a big concern for social conservatives in the years ahead will be Obama’s appointments to the Supreme Court.

According to Joseph Ben-Ami, president of the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, the election is “a wake up call for conservatives, especially social conservatives.”

He emphasized the real challenge of mobilizing the conservative base because it appears to be shrinking, or at least not keeping pace with the growth of those who are unengaged on issues important to conservatives.

“How do we connect with this constituency, and how do we counter the immense appeal to them of a progressive agenda that offers the promise of an easy, pain-free and stress-free life?” he asked. “We conservatives have to stop talking to ourselves and start marketing our vision to those whose support we need if we are to succeed electorally,” he added. “As I often say to my friends in government up here, to win the argument, you first have to make it, sensibly and effectively.”

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Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

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By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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