Ben Johnson

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Blind Chinese forced abortion opponent Chen Guangcheng seriously ill: report

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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Updated at 6:26 p.m. EST to include statements from Bob Fu and Reggie Littlejohn, as well as add the video.

LINYI, CHINA, February 20, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The blind human rights activist who exposed China’s brutal one-child policy is facing a “very, very life-and-death situation,” Xiqiu “Bob” Fu of the human rights group ChinaAid told LifeSiteNews.com. Both Chen and his wife have grown seriously ill under intense government persecution, Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers told LifeSiteNews.

“The family situation is very worrisome,” Fu said, “and we are very outraged by the worsening treatment by the Chinese government. We demand an immediate explanation and the release of this family from the illegal detention.”

According to Littlejohn, eyewitnesses who saw Chen Guangcheng last month say, “He looked pale and moved unsteadily. Only a few steps out of the door he fainted and fell to the ground.” Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) also received “credible reports” that his wife, Yuan Weijing, appeared “skinny,” was “leaning against an interior wall,” and it seemed “it was difficult for her to move her waist.”

The regime has banned all contact between Chen’s mother, who is in her eighties and suffering from severe bronchitis, with family outside the compound. She had supplied the couple’s food.

The elderly mother was last seen “walking on a crutch. She has not left the home” since her other son’s death, Reggie Littlejohn told LifeSiteNews.com. “She used to go get the food,” Littlejohn added.

“It is hard to imagine how the family is surviving,” an eyewitness told CHRD.

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Chen was imprisoned for more than four years for revealing the Chinese government performed 130,000 forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations in his county alone in 2005 while carrying out its oppressive population control policies. In 2010, authorities converted an entire village in Shandong Province into a heavily monitored prison camp, where Chen has remained under house arrest since leaving prison.

Government surveillance and harassment have intensified since January 23, Chinese New Year, when Chen’s older brother died of stomach cancer, according to WRWF. Seven surveillance cameras watch the house at all times; 20 guards surround the home; and more than 200 additional personnel were dispatched to prevent the family from visiting his grave.

Littlejohn told LifeSiteNews that the Chinese government set up vans that his neighbors have to pass through, “like passing through security to get to their own homes.”

Guards have more completely isolated the couple’s six-year-old daughter, Chen Kesi, from society, as well, CHRD has discovered. She is escorted to school each day by four or five guards, who stand sentry at the schoolhouse door. Additional guards are stationed at stores along her route to keep villagers from communicating with her. 

“She was supposed to be at school but was not seen the first day of school,” Fu told LifeSiteNews.com. Littlejohn said the girl has since returned to school under heavy guard.

The government also barred the couple’s 11-year-old son, Chen Kerui – who is staying with his maternal grandparents – from visiting to celebrate Chinese New Year. The boy had previously cut himself in hopes his parents could visit him in the hospital. 

“The Chinese Communist Party’s continuing brutality towards a poor, blind, sick and innocent man is cowardly and depraved,” said Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers. “Chen Guangcheng is a hero, for China and for the world – a man of towering courage and valiant endurance. Women’s Rights Without Frontiers demands his unconditional release and immediate medical treatment.”

To date, all efforts to assist the couple have been suppressed by Beijing, despite an international backlash involving everyone from the U.S. State Department and Amnesty International to Batman star Christian Bale.

The State Department urged China to release Chen in 2006.

CHRD reported last February that Chen and his wife were “beaten senseless” and denied medical treatment after a disgruntled government worker smuggled out a videotape in which Chen described the elaborate surveillance he must now endure. Guards repeated the treatment last July, after a storm briefly allowed Chen to make phone calls without government surveillance. That beating lasted four hours.

Guangcheng’s case has the strong support of Congressman Christopher Smith, R-NJ, who attempted to meet the dissident late last year. Smith also passed an amendment last July supporting the lawyer and activist. 

Batman star Christian Bale drew international attention to the case when he was videotaped being roughed up as he attempted to visit Guangcheng last year.

Last week, CHRD reported that the Chinese government shut down a microblog supporting Guangcheng for the 40th time.

Since Guangcheng’s persecution has worsened, American leaders have stepped up their efforts to secure his release.

Five Republican Congressmen—Christopher Smith of New Jersey, Frank Wolf of Virginia, Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, John Carter of Texas, and Robert Aderholt of Alaska—wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to press for the “immediate and unconditional release” of Chen and five other prisoners of conscience: Gao Zhisheng, dissident Liu Xianbin, Guo Quan, Alimujiang Yimiti, and Yang Rongli.

The letter, dated February 10, says, “For years the international community has been promised that with China’s ascension to the World Trade Organization or with Beijing’s hosting of the Olympics, we would see tangible reforms and a growing space for dissent as is befitting a nation of growing prominence on the world stage. These promises have been empty, and now these words ring hollow.”

“Arguably, it has only emboldened the oppressors,” they wrote.

The president received another letter the following Monday asking for the release of the same six leaders. It was signed by religious leaders Dr. Richard Land, president of The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

Last Friday, Pastor Eddie Romero of Los Angeles was arrested for staging a one-man protest outside a hotel where Chinese vice president Xi Jinping was staying. Hudson Institute senior fellow Michael Horowitz held a similar vigil before the White House.

“This is I think the greatness of the American people and the American heart and spirit,” Bob Fu told LifeSiteNews.com, praising “the bold and respectful actions from Mr. Horowitz and Pastor Romero, who submitted themselves to arrest in order to break the silence and raise awareness for those prisoners of conscience, including Mr. Chen Guancheng and his family.”

Littlejohn said thousands more Americans have signed a petition she drew up to free Chen Guangcheng. It currently has “more than 8,000 signatures, but we’d like to have 80,000 signatures,” she told LifeSiteNews. She plans to present the petition to the Chinese embassy and to send a copy to the president of China.

“We still want to point out that President Obama so far has not spoken out publicly,” Bob Fu told LifeSiteNews.com, “and we sincerely urge him to break the silence and speak up for those persecuted for their faith and their courageous human rights defending actions.”

“We should urge President Obama to speak up publicly for Mr. Chen and his wife’s worsening situation,” Fu said. 

Contact information:
Chinese Embassy in the USA
3505 International Place, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 495-2266  
Fax: (202) 495-2138
Email: [email protected]

White House Switchboard
202-456-1414
or e-mail at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments


Chinese Embassy in Canada
515 St. Patrick Street, Ottawa, Ont. K1N 5H3
Tel: 613-7893434
Fax: 613-7891911
E-mail: [email protected]

Chinese Embassy in Ireland
40 AILESBURY ROAD, DUBLIN 4, IRELAND
Tel: 00353-1-2691707
FAX:00353-1-2839938
E-mail: [email protected]

Chinese Embassy in the UK
49 Portland Place , London W1B 1JL
Tel:020-72994074
Fax:020-76362981
Email: [email protected]

 

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John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

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Pope Francis eases forgiveness of abortion for Jubilee Year of Mercy

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By John-Henry Westen

ROME, September 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- In an announcement today, Pope Francis said that he is enacting an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy from December 8, 2015 through November 2016. As part of the Jubilee, the pope has allowed priests to forgive the sin of abortion, which St. John Paul II taught in Evangelium Vitae (paragraph 58) is “murder.”

The statement marks the most extensive remarks on abortion that Pope Francis has made during his pontificate. Rather than downplaying the seriousness of abortion, as some media contend, in the statement the pope encourages the millions of women who have aborted their children to go to confession and seek God’s forgiveness.

In the Catechism, the Church calls abortion a “criminal” practice, and imposes the penalty of excommunication on those who do it -- essentially, removing those who commit abortions from the Church. In the past, typically re-entry into the Church for those who have separated themselves from it by excommunication can only be undertaken by a bishop. However in much of North America priests have already been given standing permission by their bishops to forgive abortion.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput explained in an email sent to LifeSiteNews today, “For many years now, parish priests have been given permission to absolve the sin of abortion here in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.” The Philadelphia archbishop, who will play host to Pope Francis during the pontiff’s visit later this month added, “But the practice has not been common in various other regions of the world.”

“This action in no way diminishes the moral gravity of abortion,” concluded Chaput. “What it does do is make access to sacramental forgiveness easier for anyone who seeks it with a truly penitent heart.”

The pope declared that all priests may forgive the sin of abortion for “those who have procured it and who with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.'"

The pope says in his letter that abortion is a “tragedy” wherein “extreme harm” takes place, and calls it “profoundly unjust.”  He admits however, as does the pro-life movement, that it is an “agonizing and painful decision” and many women “believe that they have no other option.”

In order to be forgiven by God of such a serious offence, the pope says the one who has procured the abortion must be made aware of the “gravity of the sin committed” and be truly repentant. They must come, says Francis, with a “contrite heart, seek forgiveness for” the abortion and hoping for “reconciliation with the Father.”

The full statement from the Pope on the matter of abortion follows:

One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life. A widespread and insensitive mentality has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life. The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails. Many others, on the other hand, although experiencing this moment as a defeat, believe they they have no other option. I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father. For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured itand who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfil this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.

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TLC stars Kody Brown and his four "wives"
Fr. Mark Hodges

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Surprise, surprise: New suit says gay ‘marriage’ ruling laid ground for legal polygamy

Fr. Mark Hodges
By Fr. Mark Hodges

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, September 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – When "The Pill" was made available to the public in 1964, Christians warned it could lead to promiscuity and disassociation of sex with marriage and children.  They were ridiculed as religious fanatics.

When abortion was made legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy in 1973, Christians warned that it would not save women's lives, but would instead lead to devaluing all human life, especially children's lives. They were dismissed as moral-legislating hate-mongers.

When euthanasia was legalized in Oregon and other states, Christians warned that the non-terminally ill and eventually the mentally handicapped, or simply the unwanted, would be killed in the name of mercy. They were mocked as right-wing crazies.

When sodomy laws in Texas and elsewhere were stricken from the books in 2003, Christians warned that societal approval of that harmful practice would lead to an increase in disease and further perversion. They were ignored and vilified.

When DADT (Don't Ask Don't Tell) rules for the military were reversed, Christians warned that the epidemic of rapes in the armed services would increase, not decrease, and that combat readiness would continue to diminish. They were called bigots, their words "hate speech."

And so on. Recent history is rife with examples of conservatives warning against societal degradation being vilified as "slippery slope" straw man creators, who want only to legislate morality.

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That's how those who warned that the Supreme Court's same-sex "marriage" decision would lead to legalization of any and all kinds of "marriage," such as a man and several wives or vice versa.

And, as in every case cited above, what Christian conservatives warned is exactly what has now happened.

In a U.S. 10th Circuit court filing, reality TV polygamist Kody Brown and his wives point to the U.S. Supreme Court's historic ruling on same-sex marriage to buttress their pro-polygamy case.

Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth, summarized to LifeSiteNews, "The left's chaotic cultural agenda knows no boundaries. Once 'marriage' could be redefined to accommodate sexual perversion, it would be impossible to stop other perversions from being recognized." 

The American Family Association's Ed Vitagliano told LifeSiteNews, "It has been clear for decades that sexual radicals in America have been targeting the God-ordained institution of marriage for destruction. Toss in a handful of U.S. Supreme Court rulings, beginning in 2003 (Lawrence v. Texas), and ending with this summer's debacle (Obergefell v. Hodges), and we are on the verge of seeing the secularists succeed." 

The AFA executive vice president concluded to LifeSiteNews, "We have no doubt that the polygamists will be next to step into the federal courts."

Indeed. Brown and his four wives, Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn, have asked the court to uphold a judge's ruling striking down part of Utah's law against polygamy. To prove their case, they cite precedents involving same-sex marriage (United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges), and a case that struck down a ban on sodomy (Lawrence v. Texas).

"From the rejection of morality legislation in Lawrence, to the expansion of the protections of liberty interests in Obergefell, it is clear that states can no longer use criminal codes to ... punish those who choose to live in consensual but unpopular unions," Brown's filing states. "This case is about the criminalization of consensual relations."

LaBarbera told LifeSiteNews that the move to legalize polygamy is no surprise. "Once the argument for homosexual so-called 'marriage' became 'Love Is Love,' it was only a matter of time before multiple-partner activists would start defending the 'right' to have THEIR [perversion of] 'love' legitimized by state-recognized 'marriage.'"

The Browns, who appear on the television show "Sister Wives," sued the state of Utah over its ban on polygamy, which Brown calls "plural relationships." They argue that the law violates their right to freely practice their religion and their right to equal protection under the law.

Specifically, Brown is challenging the state's assertion that polygamy is harmful to societies that condone it.

Brown argues that the state should not have "the right to impose criminal morality codes on citizens, compelling them to live their lives in accordance with the religious or social values of the majority of citizens."

LaBarbera concluded, "Social conservatives and Christians must work to overturn Obergefell, just like homosexual activists worked to overturn the Supreme Court's Bowers v. Hardwick decision in 1986 that allowed anti-sodomy laws. Otherwise, we are guaranteed to lose more and more freedoms as 'gay' power grows, using legalized 'marriage' as leverage."

Arguments in the Brown polygamy case could take place before the 10th Circuit Court in Denver before the end of the year.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, MD, on March 6, 2014. Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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Sen. McConnell: GOP won’t push Obama on Planned Parenthood defunding

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Planned Parenthood won't lose its funding for at least 18 months, says America's top senator.

Speaking on WYMT TV, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, said, "The president’s made it very clear he’s not going to sign any bill that includes defunding of Planned Parenthood, so that’s another issue that awaits a new president, hopefully with a different point of view about Planned Parenthood."

“We just don’t have the votes to get the outcome that we’d like,” he said. “Again, the president has the pen to sign it. If he doesn’t sign it, it doesn’t happen. But, yeah, we voted on that already in the Senate, we’ll vote on it again, but I would remind all of your viewers the way you make a law in this country, the Congress has to pass it and the president has to sign it.”

McConnell's comments came despite pressure from Senators and Representatives alike, as well as pro-life groups, who want Republicans to make defunding a priority.

"If the president of the United States and Harry Reid think it's more important that Planned Parenthood get your tax dollars than to pay our troops, then they are shutting down the government,” Freedom Caucus leader Jim Jordan, R-OH, told CNN last week.

Jordan and others have pushed GOP leaders to attach defunding efforts to must-pass pieces of legislation, such as a highway bill earlier this summer and the upcoming Continuing Resolution to keep the federal government running. GOP leaders have generally opposed this strategy, which has created a schism within the party.

Conversely, Democrats have been largely united. Leaders and rank-and-file members in both parties have generally supported taxpayer funding of the abortion giant, despite the possibility of illegal abortions being done to illegally harvest fetal organs and other body parts.

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