NewsMon Mar 10, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST
Canadian TV Station Yanks Ex-homosexual Ad for “Discrimination”
By John Jalsevac
SUDBURY, ON, March 10, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Canadian Television (CTV) has pulled an ad that claims it is possible to leave the homosexual lifestyle, sponsored by a Christian advocacy group, Life Productions, after the station received numerous complaints from pro-homosexual activists.
The 30-second spot is narrated by John Westcott, the founder of Exchange ministries, an organization that seeks to help practicing homosexuals who wish to leave the lifestyle. Westcott is himself a former homosexual, as is his wife Dena.
"You hear a lot about gay rights, gay marriage and the gay lifestyle being taught in our public schools for children," says Westcott in the ad, "but what many people don’t realize, and seldom hear, is that many homosexuals don’t want to be homosexual. What many who are struggling with homosexuality don’t realize, and seldom hear, is that they can change. I should know - for 13 years, I used to be one." Wescott then walks off the camera and an announcer says, "This message has been brought to you by Life Productions." (To see the ad, called "Exchanged Life", go to: http://www.lifeproductions.ca)
The ad ran for three days on a local CTV station in Sudbury Ontario, before it was pulled on March 3. Life Productions had intended to run the ad locally for an entire year.
Pro-Homosexual advocates, however, were enraged by the ad, calling it "hate" material, and deluged the television station and Life Productions with letters of complaint. A Facebook group against the ad was set up, entitled "Appalled with CTV Commercial - Homosexuality Cure??" (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=10517688297) Dr. Joel Dickinson, a faculty member at Laurentian University, led the charge, setting up and acting as an officer of the Facebook group, and corresponding with CTV personnel. LifeSiteNews.com attempted to interview Dr. Dickinson, but she responded that she was unable to fit the interview into her schedule.
At the time of the writing of this article, the facebook group had 1,172 members.
On March 6, Dickenson received a letter from CTV’s Vice-President of Public Affairs, Sarah Crawford. Crawford apologized to Dickenson on behalf of CTV, saying that the fact that the ad was ever aired was a result of "human error."
"I assure you," said Crawford, "that had CTV known the content of the ad, it would not have gone to air." Crawford told Dickenson that the ad had been screened by Telecaster Services, the voluntary, self-governing, commercial, infomercial and public service announcement (PSA) clearance committee that is required to review all ads in Canada prior to airing. Telecaster had approved the ad, although it had "flagged" it and given it a "mature" rating, thereby ensuring that it could not be aired prior to 9:00pm.
Crawford said that CTV failed to notice the "flag" on the ad, and did not review its content. "As a result, CTV Sudbury scheduled the ad without knowing that it contained problematic material that is inappropriate and unacceptable for our stations. The ad went to air, and consequently we received some complaints. Station personnel then reviewed the ad, deemed it inappropriate for telecast and immediately pulled it off the air."
Other than a general statement that CTV does not promote discrimination and is in favor of diversity, Crawford did not explicitly state what the "problematic" or "discriminatory" part of the ad was, nor what required that it be rated "mature."
"It is our corporate policy not to air advocacy ads of this nature," concluded Crawford. "Moreover, CTV television stations do not condone, promote or engage in discrimination against anyone based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability. We have a proud history of promoting diversity and building bridges of understanding between cultures both within our company and the communities in which we operate."
Scott Henderson, CTV’s vice-president of communications, also responded to complaints about the ad, saying, "We did try to act as quickly as possible on this. It was something that was taken very seriously at the highest levels of CTV. It’s completely against all of our own codes."
LifeSiteNews.com spoke to the director of Life Productions, Jason Johns, about the ad. He expressed his disappointment that the ad was pulled, especially on charges of "discrimination" or "hate".
"The commercial doesn’t promote hate. It doesn’t promote discrimination. It promotes knowledge, and information," Johns told LifeSiteNews. "And in no way did we attack the pro-gay advocates. What we were doing was reaching out to, and educating people that there is a community of people who practice homosexuality that are not interested in practicing homosexuality, in that they want help."
The idea that homosexuality is an inborn condition is one of the central doctrines of the pro-homosexual movement. However, there has been no scientific evidence to support this theory, and, Johns pointed out, the fact that there are hosts of men and women, such as John Westcott and his wife, claiming to be former homosexuals offers concrete evidence that homosexuality can, indeed, be treated.
Johns argued that it is ironic that CTV cited "discrimination" as the reason that the ad was pulled, since in pulling the ad CTV in fact discriminated both against Life Productions, and against those homosexuals who wish to leave the lifestyle, by revoking their freedom of speech.
"What about these people who want help, who the commercial was actually for?" he said. "I’m concerned about our freedom of speech as well. But we’re not necessarily in the same position that these people who want help, and who are really hurting, and who are struggling with this, and who are reaching out for help. If our freedom of speech is jeopardized, if it’s taken away, then who can advocate for these people? According to the pro-gay activists, no one is allowed to advocate for them. And I think that that’s where the real dictatorship and discrimination comes in."
Johns also said that it is ironic that his group is being accused of hatred. "They accuse us of hating, they accuse us of being haters, and discrimination. That’s just not true. We retain the e-mails that they do send us, because that’s evidence of where the real hatred and where the real discrimination exists," he said. Johns said that Life Productions has received so much hate mail of such a violent nature from homosexual activists that he is unwilling to disclose the physical location of the organization, since he and others involved in the group are concerned for the safety of their families.
Johns expressed his belief that the violent antipathy towards the idea that homosexuality may be an alterable condition on the part of homosexuals generates a hostile environment for those in the homosexual community who may desire to leave the lifestyle. "There’s a lot of fear and a lot of intimidation imposed by the pro-gay community, that I would think that anyone who claims to be homosexual and wants to get help, I think that in that sort of environment they would not feel comfortable voicing their opinion or their concern because of the response that they would get."
Life Productions’ ad, said Johns, was intended simply to encourage those who are dissatisfied with the homosexual lifestyle to seek the help that they desire. Life Productions itself does not perform counseling for homosexuality, but refers homosexuals who desire to be treated to other organizations that perform such counseling.
An opposing Facebook group, demanding that CTV agree to put the ads back on the air, has been setup here:
To e-mail Life Productions:
To visit their website:
To contact CTV:
CTV Sudbury (CICI)
699 Frood Road
* CTV.ca News Team: [email protected]
* CTV News/Newsnet: [email protected]
* Ask Us segment on CTV News: [email protected]
* CTV Medical Report: [email protected]
* Canada AM: [email protected]
* Success Story: [email protected]
* Science: [email protected]
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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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