Hilary White

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Children’s referendum grants the State power to seize children to serve new ideology: experts

Hilary White
Hilary White
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DUBLIN, October 25, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – According to opponents, Ireland’s upcoming Children’s Rights Referendum is nothing more than a ploy by a power-mad State to grant itself the right to snatch children from parents and seize control over the most fundamental unit of society. Polls indicate the Irish public is about to pass the measure.

Critics have called the proposed amendment to the Constitution “a beachhead by the state into what has traditionally been the preserve of the rights of parents in the upbringing of their children”. The amendment’s wording allows state agents to remove children from the family and place them in care if they believe it is in the child’s “best interests”. It allows children to be adopted out to other families without parents’ consent. Richard Green of the Christian Solidarity party said the State has already “failed dismally” to protect children already in their care.

Government and the amendment’s supporters have said that the amendment will “give a voice” to children. But those who oppose the amendment, who began organizing later than its proponents, have warned that a yes vote will force the country’s families into an unenviable position: play along with the prevailing ideology or lose your children to the mercies of state social services. Such a threat is only too familiar to homeschooling families in Germany and Sweden.

The group Parents for Children has said, “This referendum will remove the most important right that children can have: the right to parental protection and advocacy.”

“Instead there will be the State and the child, and the parent is removed. The State will be the final arbiter of the child’s rights, will decide what a child’s rights are.”

Polls show 74 percent of respondents saying they would vote yes, with just 4 percent saying they would vote no.

Maria Mhic Mheanmain, spokesman for Parents for Children, told LifeSiteNews.com that it is “untenable” that so many are supporting the amendment “while at that same time only 10 percent understand the issues involved”, something she called “highly irresponsible”.

The current provisions of the Irish Constitution already recognise the same personal rights for children as for other citizens under article 40. It recognises that children, being immature, are unable to protect themselves, and therefore stands upon the duty of parents to uphold and protect their children’s rights.

Its current provisions already obliges the State to intervene in those cases where parents fail in their duties. “When the State fails in its obligations no one will be in a position to vindicate a child’s rights,” Mhic Mheanmain said.

The amendment’s supporters claim that current constitutional protections for the family exclude the “voice of children.” Mhic Mheanmain responded that, in a 2006 by Supreme Court case, Justice Adrian Hardiman described the claim as “breathtakingly inaccurate”.

Hardiman said the Constitution does not prefer parents over children, but preferred parents over the State.

“If this is passed,” Mhic Mheanm added, “that balance will be removed and the State will be preferred to parents when it comes to deciding children’s matters. So the child still won’t have a voice, the only difference is who will be the child’s voice!”

Still, the No campaign is already well behind in the race and, with support for the Yes side coming now from the Church, have an even steeper hill to climb.

Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin has said he believes that the proposed wording tries to address the rights and obligations of all involved “in a balanced way”. Martin said he believes that a “reasonably good job” has been done protecting the family, with state intervention permitted only in exceptional circumstances.

Father John I. Fleming Ph.D., Adjunct Professor of Bioethics, Southern Cross Bioethics Institute, Adelaide, South Australia Corresponding Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, wrote a legal analysis of the amendment’s wording. Fr. Fleming wrote that the new wording will add nothing to the rights of children already enshrined in the Constitution.

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The current wording, he wrote, gives “explicit recognition of the family as the fundamental group unit of society which preceded the formation of the state.” The ability of the state to intervene in the family is “carefully circumscribed” and starts by protecting the “natural and imprescriptable” [inalienable] rights of the child, including the “natural right of the child to be brought up by his or her own parents in the context of their family life”.

The new wording, however, “represents a dramatic ideological shift” away from these fundamental principles. This shift, he said, is “away from the prior rights of the family, of parents, to bring up their children as they see fit”. These principles are replaced by the notion of the State protecting the “best interests” of the child, which term remains undefined, without reference to the family. The only point of supervision for the State is the courts, “where an unelected group of individuals will be encouraged to move well beyond the black letter requirements of the law to impose their own personal preferences.”

These will, Fleming said, be supplemented by the opinions of “a plethora of ‘experts’”.

“The reality is that we will be left with state bureaucrats, politicians, and judges “balancing” the different opinions in some kind of utilitarian calculus, a calculus which has been aptly described as a ‘smokescreen for arbitrary preferences and desires” on the part of those who will have the power to judge and enforce’,” Fr. Fleming wrote.

Others have objected to the use of public funds to promote a particular outcome. It is estimated that as much as €1.1 million is being spent by the allegedly neutral government with media and internet materials having been prepared and disseminated since September. Mark McCrystal, an engineer from Dublin said that the materials are clearly supporting the Yes campaign, and this constitutes a breach of a 1995 judgment by the Supreme Court. McCrystal has launched proceedings over the matter against the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, the Government of Ireland, and the Attorney General. He has said he has no objection to the State arguing for a Yes vote but that the government should not be using public funds to support a particular outcome.

The Yes campaign is officially made up of an array of groups and individuals, and has the broad support of the country’s left-leaning mainstream media. Behind it are the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC), the Children’s Rights Alliance and other organisations including Campaign for Children. Former Supreme Court Judge Catherine McGuinness is chairwoman of Campaign for Children, while board members include journalist Olivia O’Leary and former senator Joe O’Toole. It also has support from all major political parties, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Labour and Sinn Féin.

Funding from non-government sources has also been generous, totaling, as of September 20th, €1.5 million from two philanthropic groups: Atlantic Philanthropies, founded by US billionaire Chuck Feeney, and the One Foundation, co-founded by RyanAir heir Declan Ryan and Deirdre Mortell, according to the Irish Times.

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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