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

‘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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