Kathleen Gilbert


Chen: U.S. officials pressured me to leave Embassy

Kathleen Gilbert
Kathleen Gilbert

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BEIJING, CHINA, May 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Chen Guangcheng’s bid for freedom took a dramatic turn Thursday when the human rights activist directly pleaded with President Obama to bring him and his family home on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s plane, after saying he was pressured to leave the U.S. Embassy by American officials this week.

“My fervent hope is that it would be possible for me and my family to leave for the U.S. on Hillary Clinton’s plane,” Chen told The Daily Beast‘s Melinda Liu, who said she spoke to Chen from his hospital bed in Beijing. Chen was being treated for broken bones in his foot after falling over a wall during his escape.

Clinton, who was present in Beijing on Wednesday and Thursday, said she had spoken with Chen and was pleased to facilitate his “stay and departure” in a way that “reflected his choices and our values.” Chen told Channel 4 that he had asked to see Clinton in person during his conversation with her.

Chen described how he was pressured by both American and Chinese officials to leave the Embassy to which the blind activist had barely managed to escape after 19 months of severe beatings, starvation, and imprisonment in his village home. He said Chinese officials had threatened his family.

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According to Liu, “Chen said he came under tremendous pressure from American officials—‘not those from the embassy but others’—to leave the diplomatic facility as quickly as possible.” He also said that it was a U.S. official who conveyed the threat of returning his wife to their home, still overrun by violent guards, if he did not comply.

Chen’s wife, whom he met at the hospital, told him she had been tied to a chair, beaten, and interrogated by Chinese guards following his escape.

“I had no information, I got no phone calls from friends, I was isolated,” said Chen, who was audibly distraught. “Then I heard about the threat that my wife would be sent back home to Shandong if I didn’t leave the embassy. So I left.”

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Wednesday claimed that it was untrue that the U.S. conveyed threats to Chen about his wife, but also said that “U.S. interlocutors did make clear that if Chen elected to stay in the embassy, Chinese officials had indicated to us that his family would be returned to Shandong, and they would lose their opportunity to negotiate for reunification.”

Bob Fu, president of ChinaAid and a top advocate for Chen in the U.S., said in The Daily Beast‘s report that he was frustrated that a conference call with U.S. officials apparently whitewashed Chen’s situation.

“They summarized the situation, and it sounded like a beautiful, happy scene,” which “totally contradicts” Chen’s actual situation, said Fu.

“They said they’d send some photos of Chen ‘joyfully’ leaving the embassy,” he said.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials insist that much of the conflict was due to miscommunication, including initial reports from U.S. officials of Chen telling Clinton “I want to kiss you” being corrected to his actual meaning, “I want to see you.”

U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke told reporters that Chen had insisted on leaving the embassy to see his wife, although he was ready to house Chen for “years,” according to The Washington Post. The Post also reports that U.S. officials spoke to Chen by phone twice on Thursday.

But Fu, who says he spoke to a crying Chen over the phone, confirmed reports that Chen feels the U.S. had pressured him to leave the embassy.

“He said he was under enormous pressure to leave the embassy. Some people almost made him feel he was being a huge burden to the U.S.,” he said.

Lu also reports that hospital staff refused to feed Chen, his wife and his two young children, only bringing food late at night after friends contacted American officials for help.

Chen had initially expressed his intention to stay in China, but now has repeatedly stated that his “biggest wish” is to flee with his family to the United States.

“Please try to contact the embassy to send someone over here. I need your help, I’m absolutely, absolutely ready to fly out on Hillary Clinton’s plane. Please tell the embassy what I’m saying, Meiyuan,” Chen pleaded to Lu, using her Chinese name.

“I don’t know why the Americans didn’t answer my phone calls.”

The Post characterized spiriting Chen out of China on Clinton’s plane as “extremely difficult and extraordinarily unusual” as Chen lacked a visa and because Clinton planned to stop in India and Bangladesh. Fu notes that getting Chen and his familiy out of China would require “a diplomat push” on the part of the Obama administration to obtain passports.

Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, a group deeply connected to Chen and his advocacy for forced-abortion victims in China, told LifeSiteNews.com that the situation had grown dire.

“Chen and his family are in danger,” Littlejohn told LSN in a brief e-mail. The human rights leader will be testifying before Congress this afternoon to plead on Chen’s behalf.

In public, Chinese officials had given assurances that the self-taught lawyer would be treated humanely and would be allowed to attend a university. Yet signs of Chinese enmity towards Chen are visible: a Channel 4 video report included footage of a Chinese man publicly holding an ostensibly pro-Chen sign before it was ripped out of his hands and the man whisked away by persons in uniform.

He Peirong, the young Chinese woman who spearheaded Chen’s escape into the U.S. Embassy late last month, vanished hours after news broke of the event. Friends still fear she is in the hands of the Communist Party, which has been known to torture or kill dissidents without trial.

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BREAKING: Planned Parenthood shooting suspect surrenders, is in custody: police

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By John Jalsevac

Nov. 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Five hours after a single male shooter reportedly opened fire at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, chatter on police radio is indicating that the suspect has now been "detained."

"We have our suspect and he says he is alone," said police on the police radio channel. 

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers also confirmed via Twitter shortly after 7:00 pm EST that the suspect was in custody.

The news comes almost exactly an hour after the start of a 6:00 pm. press conference in which Lt. Catherine Buckley had confirmed that a single shooter was still at large, and had exchanged gunfire with police moments before.

According to Lt. Buckley, four, and possibly five police officers have been shot since the first 911 call was received at 11:38 am local time today. An unknown number of civilians have also been shot.

Although initial reports had suggested that the shooting began outside the Planned Parenthood, possibly outside a nearby bank, Lt. Buckley said that in fact the incident began at the Planned Parenthood itself.

She said that the suspect had also brought unknown "items" with him to the Planned Parenthood. 

Pro-life groups have started responding to the news, urging caution in jumping to conclusions about the motivations of the shooter, while also condemning the use of violence in promoting the pro-life cause. 

"Information is very sketchy about the currently active shooting situation in Colorado Springs," said Pavone. "The Planned Parenthood was the address given in the initial call to the police, but we still do not know what connection, if any, the shooting has to do with Planned Parenthood or abortion.

"As leaders in the pro-life movement, we call for calm and pray for a peaceful resolution of this situation."

Troy Newman of Operation Rescue and Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, also issued statements.

"Operation Rescue unequivocally deplores and denounces all violence at abortion clinics and has a long history of working through peaceful channels to advocate on behalf of women and their babies," said Newman. "We express deep concern for everyone involved and are praying for the safety of those at the Planned Parenthood office and for law enforcement personnel. We pray this tragic situation can be quickly resolved without further injury to anyone."

"Although we don't know the reasons for the shooting near the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs today, the pro-life movement is praying for the safety of all involved and as a movement we have always unequivocally condemned all forms of violence at abortion clinics. We must continually as a nation stand against violence on all levels," said Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, based in Washington, D.C.


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Rubio says SCOTUS didn’t ‘settle’ marriage issue: ‘God’s rules always win’

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Surging GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, says that "God's law" trumps the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision imposing same-sex “marriage” nationwide.

The senator also told Christian Broadcast Network's David Brody that the Supreme Court's redefinition of marriage is not "settled," but instead "current law."

“No law is settled,” said Rubio. “Roe v. Wade is current law, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to aspire to fix it, because we think it’s wrong.”

“If you live in a society where the government creates an avenue and a way for you to peacefully change the law, then you’re called to participate in that process to try to change it,” he explained, and "the proper place for that to be defined is at the state level, where marriage has always been regulated — not by the Supreme Court and not by the federal government.”

However, when laws conflict with religious beliefs, "God's rules always win," said Rubio.

“In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin — violate God’s law and sin — if we’re ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that,” Rubio expounded. “We cannot abide by that because government is compelling us to sin.”

“I continue to believe that marriage law should be between one man and one woman," said the senator, who earlier in the fall was backed by billionaire GOP donor and same-sex "marriage" supporter Paul Singer.

Singer, who also backs looser immigration laws and a strong U.S.-Israel alliance, has long pushed for the GOP to change its position on marriage in part due to the sexual orientation of his son.

Despite Singer's support, Rubio's marriage stance has largely been consistent. He told Brody earlier in the year that "there isn't such a right" to same-sex "marriage."

"You have to have a ridiculous reading of the U.S. Constitution to reach the conclusion that people have a right to marry someone of the same sex."

Rubio also said religious liberty should be defended against LGBT activists he says "want to stigmatize, they want to ostracize anyone who disagrees with them as haters."

"I believe, as do a significant percentage of Americans, that the institution of marriage, an institution that existed before government, that existed before laws, that institution should remain in our laws recognized as the union of one man and one woman," he said.

Rubio also hired social conservative leader Eric Teetsel as his director of faith outreach this month.

However, things have not been entirely smooth for Rubio on marriage. Social conservatives were concerned when the executive director of the LGBT-focused Log Cabin Republicans told Reuters in the spring that the Catholic senator is "not as adamantly opposed to all things LGBT as some of his statements suggest."

The LGBT activist group had meetings with Rubio's office "going back some time," though the senator himself never attended those meetings. Rubio has publicly said that he would attend the homosexual "wedding" of a gay loved one, and also that he believed "that sexual preference is something that people are born with," as opposed to being a choice.

Additionally, days after the Supreme Court redefined marriage, Rubio said that he disagreed with the decision but that "we live in a republic and must abide by the law."

"I believe that marriage, as the key to strong family life, is the most important institution in our society and should be between one man and one woman," he said. "People who disagree with the traditional definition of marriage have the right to change their state laws. That is the right of our people, not the right of the unelected judges or justices of the Supreme Court. This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years.

Rubio also said at the time that "it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood…"

“I firmly believe the question of same sex marriage is a question of the definition of an institution, not the dignity of a human being. Every American has the right to pursue happiness as they see fit. Not every American has to agree on every issue, but all of us do have to share our country. A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court’s decision today. In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other.”

The Florida senator said in July that he opposed a constitutional marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution to leave marriage up to the states because that would involve the federal government in state marriage policies.

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Former The View star Sherri Shepherd and then-husband Lamar Sally in 2010 s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
Steve Weatherbe

Court orders Sherri Shepherd to pay child support for surrogate son she abandoned

Steve Weatherbe
By Steve Weatherbe

November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Sherri Shepherd, a Hollywood celebrity who co-hosted the popular talk show The View for seven years, has lost a maternity suit launched by her ex-husband Lamar Sally, forcing her to pay him alimony and child support for their one-year surrogate son LJ. The decision follows an unseemly fight which pro-life blogger Cassy Fiano says has exposed how surrogacy results in “commodifying” the unborn.

Shepherd, a co-host of the View from 2007 to 2014, met Sally, a screenwriter, in 2010 and they married a year later. Because her eggs were not viable, they arranged a surrogate mother in Pennsylvania to bear them a baby conceived in vitro using Sally’s sperm and a donated egg.

But the marriage soured in mid-term about the time Shepherd lost her job with The View. According to one tabloid explanation, she was worried he would contribute little to parenting responsibilities.  Sally filed for separation in 2014, Shepherd filed for divorce a few days, then Sally sued for sole custody, then alimony and child support.

Earlier this year she told PEOPLE she had gone along with the surrogacy to prevent the breakup of the marriage and had not really wanted the child.

Shepherd, an avowed Christian who once denied evolution on The View and a successful comic actor on Broadway, TV, and in film since the mid-90s, didn’t want anything to do with LJ, as Lamar named the boy, who after all carried none of her genes. She refused to be at bedside for the birth, and refused to let her name be put on the birth certificate and to shoulder any responsibility for LJ’s support.

But in April the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, and now the state’s Superior Court, ruled that Shepherd’s name must go on the birth certificate and she must pay Sally alimony and child support.

“The ultimate outcome is that this baby has two parents and the parents are Lamar Sally and Sherri Shepherd,” Shepherd’s lawyer Tiffany Palmer said.

As for the father, Sally told PEOPLE, “I'm glad it's finally over. I'm glad the judges saw through all the lies that she put out there, and the negative media attention. If she won't be there for L.J. emotionally, I'll be parent enough for the both of us.”

But Shepherd said, “I am appealing the ruling that happened,” though in the meantime, Sally will “get his settlement every month. There’s nothing I can do.”

Commented Fiano in Live Action News, “What’s so sickening about this case is that this little boy, whose life was created in a test tube, was treated as nothing more than a commodity…Saying that you don’t want a baby but will engineer one to get something you want is horrific.” As for trying to get out from child support payments now that the marriage had failed, that was “despicable.”

Fiano went on to characterize the Shepherd-Sally affair as a “notable example” of commodification of children, and “by no means an anomaly.” She cited a British report than over the past five years 123 babies conceived in vitro were callously aborted when they turned out to have Down Syndrome.

“When we’re not ready for babies, we have an abortion,” she added. “But then when we decide we are ready we manufacture them in a laboratory and destroy any extras. Children exist when we want them to exist, to fill the holes in us that we want them to fill, instead of being independent lives with their own inherent value and dignity.”

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